Jackson Public Schools can begin to clear state accreditation standards after the Mississippi Board of Education approved the district's new corrective action plan. JPS administrators say they could clear several standards currently.
Photo by Elizabeth Waibel.
JACKSON The Jackson Public School District has a new 400-page corrective action plan to begin work on, and it is already asking the Mississippi Department of Education to approve its efforts one some of the required criteria.
William Merritt, executive director of school improvement for JPS, told the board at its April 3 meeting that the district has asked MDE to come evaluate its progress on the finance, professional development, nutrition and transportation standards.
JPS can clear five other standards, including dropout prevention, library, retention and alternative education, once MDE provides a little more guidance, Merritt said.
"We just need some additional technical assistance we've requested from MDE in those areas, and once we receive that we feel pretty good about clearing them," Merritt said on April 3.
The new corrective action plans lists 23 standards that JPS needs to correct. Some are more difficult to than others—especially the staffing requirements. JPS has struggled to recruit certified teachers, which affects that standard.
JPS is technically on probation with the state Commission on School Accreditation for violating those standards. The district avoided a state takeover last year, after the governor, mayor and school district entered into a memorandum of understanding with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The result was a brand-new school board, which is now actively searching for a new superintendent and a commission tasked with gathering community feedback and input, as well as contracting with a group to conduct an analysis of the district.
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The Insight Education Group is already in the district conducting interviews with staff, students and teachers, and beginning to analyze district data. Its report is due out in November.
In the meantime, the school board plans to have a new superintendent in place by July 1. The board is hosting public-input hearings about the superintendent search today and Tuesday at school gymnasiums from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the following locations.
Monday, April 16, 2018 Cardozo Middle School, 3180 McDowell Road Extension Murrah High School, 1400 Murrah Drive
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 Callaway High School, 601 Beasley Road Provine High School, 2400 Robinson Road
Email reporter Arielle Dreher at firstname.lastname@example.org.