By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – At their regular meeting Monday night, April 19, School Board members approved a credit recovery program that replaces traditional summer school.
The purpose of the program is to help students recover credit for courses they did not compete during the regular school year, according to Dr. Glen Kitchens, Principal of Water Valley High School.
“It allows students and the school district to cover just what is needed as opposed to repeating a whole course in the summer,” he explained.
Student Services Coordinator Grace Dickerson, who is also Teacher Support Team Coordinator, presented a PowerPoint presentation to the Board outlining specifics of the program.
Afterward, the Board voted on four separate motions:
• One, a modified extended year for the 2009-2010 school year which will operate on the credit recovery plan as presented to the board;
• Two, a request for credit recovery for the future starting with the 2010-2011 school year providing funds are available;
• Three, that a Water Valley High School student who fails a subject area tested subject, but then passes the state subject area test would receive credit for that failed course at the minimum mastery level of 65;
• Four, to allow for the submission of a school improvement grant (SIG) that would help the system implement the credit recovery program. The grant would be between $96,000 and $114,000 for three years in a row.
This summer the program would run 10 days for three hours a day beginning Wed., June 2, and end Tues., June 15. The traditional summer school program runs for 20 days.
The courses that were selected for this summer were based on the failure rate in the junior high school, according to Dickerson. There are 38 seventh-grade and 21 eighth-grade students with F’s in three major subject areas: 7th grade math, pre-algebra, and language arts.
According to the Mississippi Department of Education’s Web site, a credit recovery program can be an effective way of helping students get back on track toward graduation and encourage students to stay in school.
In other actions at the April 19 meeting, the School Board:
• Heard a financial report from District Business Manager Randy Goodwin. There was a $678,687.79 ending cash balance for March in the District Maintenance Fund, Goodwin said. The ending cash balance anticipated as of June 31 for the 2009-2010 fiscal year is $331,491.74;
• Paid claims;
• Accepted an anonymous donation for the Davidson Elementary School of $2,919.00. “They step up. That’s something we can be proud of,” said Casey Washington.
“This community has always been great,” commented Superintendent Sammy Higdon.
“(They) always step up,” added Board President Lamar Burgess;
• Accepted the resignation of Larry Carr as a bus driver for the District;
• Heard a report from Superintendent Higdon on completed and upcoming audits at the schools. Higdon said that he expects to have completed all but the special education audit before he leaves.
Higdon recommended that the Board require the audit firms to come to the school and also meet with the board to go over the audit results item by item. “That’s a lot of money,” he said referring to the $10,000 to $11,000 fee. “Make them come up here.”
When asked about this year’s graduation rate, Higdon said that he expects it to be higher than last year at around 73 percent;
• Entered executive session to discuss the ongoing Superintendent search.