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Plan Coming From DES To Combat Concerns

School Board Trustees listen as Superintendent Kim Chrestman (top center) goes over figures and discusses combating reading deficiencies at Davidson Elementary School. – Photo by Jack Gurner

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Two-thirds of Mississippi’s kindergarten students are not ready to learn based on testing of all 40,000 kindergarten students in the state’s public schools.
Water Valley Schools Superintendent Kim Chrestman told district trustees Monday night that the benchmark score is 530. “Eighty four percent of students who score that level or above when they are in kindergarten are proficient in reading when they get to the third grade,” he said.
Water Valley’s kindergarten students scored 473, which is 57 points belong the benchmark. Scores from surrounding schools are: Coffeeville, 459; Lafayette, 533; Oxford, 553; Grenada, 497; and Calhoun County, 489.
Chrestman also explained that the third grade is a critical point in a child’s education because those who can’t read on a proficient level can’t go on to the fourth grade. He added that state education officials have said that at least 6500 students won’t pass the third grade “reading gate.”
Trustee Pierce Epes asked if additional teachers would have to be hired to handle the large number of students being retained in the third grade. Chrestman said that hopefully new teachers would not have to be hired, but there would have to be a redistribution of the staff.
“I think we need to make sure that we are catching them in kindergarten and first and second grade so that they are ready,” Epes said, and added that the board needs to see a plan to address the problem from DES Principal Brad Parker.
Chrestman said that members of the building level administrative staff from DES would be at the next board meeting to present a plan of action. He added that the meeting would be held in executive session because school personnel would be discussed.
Chrestman continued that the DES administration had already been charged with the task. “They are set to present to you.”
Epes noted that some sort of minimum performance level policy should be set by the board for staff members that required them to meet a certain amount of growth per year.
“We’ve got to do something,” an exasperated Casey Washington said.
“Something’s got to change,” Epes added. “What we’re doing right now is not working.”
Among other actions at the Monday night, Oct. 20, school board meeting, Trustees:
• Approved the 2014-2015 School District Crisis Management Plan with minor updates in some positions and phone numbers.
• Allowed a student to transfer to the WVSD from the Lafayette School District.
• Accepted two donations of $250 each for technology; one from the Bernard Family Trust and the other from the Radiosonde Museum of North America.
• Heard a financial report from Superintendent Kim Chrestman in the absence of Randy Goodwin, WVSD business manager.
Chrestman reported that the all-important fund balance stands at $1,227,878.61.
• Paid claims.
• Heard the Superintendent’s Report from Chrestman, the text of which is included with this story at for Herald online subscribers.


Superintendent’s Report

By Kim Chrestman

Davidson Elementary School has a lot happening for the remainder of October.  October 21-25 is Character Counts Week.  Ms. KaronStanford will provide classroom activities to promote “Good Character” and each day during announcements a student or staff member will share comments on how to use good character. Character Breakfast planned for October 30th at 8:30 a.m. in out cafeteria.

October 23-30 isalso Red Ribbon Week (yes, the two events do overlap).  Acharacter program is planned in the gym on October 23rdat 8:30 a.m. with a guest speakerandother activities to kick off our Red Ribbon Week. DES will have a “theme” each day to celebrate.  Students will wear different colors, “crazy socks”, jerseys, camo, etc. each day to symbolize a different message or theme.  A balloon launch celebration will be held at 2:00 p.m. October 30th to symbolize Red Ribbon Week.  Also, a classroom door decorating contest with the Red Ribbon Theme will be held with community volunteers judging the doors.

October 31 is our Annual Fall Festival.

Academically teachers and assistants have begun pulling and tutoring students who require interventions based on the results of the fall screener.   Principals and teachers are still meeting in our weekly PLC’s and planning meetings as we continuously modify our curriculum and pacing guides to align with CCSS and the PARCC assessments.

WVHS Volleyball ended the 2014 season dropping the 1st round playoff match to Choctaw County in a valiant effort; 25-21 / 25-21 / 25-21.  Three tight games was the best way to end a good season if it had to end.  Congratulations to the girls for a good division record and season this year. 

Senior Night for WVHS football, band and cheer will be on Thursday evening, October 30, 2014 prior to the Marks-Palmer football game.  Students will honor the seniors that day during school at our only on-campus pep rally of the school year.  Note that the game is scheduled for Thursday evening.  The game was scheduled to allow families in our community to both attend the game and enjoy Halloween on Friday evening with the younger boys and girls in our community.

Congratulations to the Blue Devil Football team for their victory over North Panola.  This victory assures the Blue Devils a spot in the state playoffs for this season. Blue Devils support a 5-4 record and currently ranked 2nd in division play. 

Continue to log-in and make a safe driving commitment every day this week in the Celebrate My Drive campaign sponsored by State Farm Insurance.  We are currently not in the top 50 but anything can change with 4 days to go.  The prize this year is $100,000 and a concert by The Band Perry.

Report Cards went home this past Thursday and on Friday teachers participated in Staff Development sessions and parent conferences before joining students for a fall break today.  Tomorrow we will settle in for the second quarter of the school year as we continue to explore the new standards and changes in assessment.

Thanks to everyone for their support as the school year continues.

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