e-Edition Jobs Specialty Publications Buy Photos Contact Us
Staff photo by Zack Steen
Alcorn School District Superintendent Gina Rogers Smith observes a third grader at Alcorn Central Elementary School.
Staff photo by Zack Steen Alcorn School District Superintendent Gina Rogers Smith observes a third grader at Alcorn Central Elementary School.
slideshow
New standards changing education in Mississippi
by Zack Steen
Jan 24, 2015 | 12 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff photo by Zack Steen
Alcorn School District Superintendent Gina Rogers Smith observes a third grader at Alcorn Central Elementary School.
Staff photo by Zack Steen Alcorn School District Superintendent Gina Rogers Smith observes a third grader at Alcorn Central Elementary School.
slideshow
Public school in Mississippi isn’t as easy as it once was. New teaching standards put into place in recent years have changed the way teachers teach and the way students learn. “Gone are the days where all a student has to do is know the correct answer and fill in the correct A, B, C or D bubble,” said Corinth School District Superintendent Lee Childress. “Now students have to understand the question and answer it by writing a sentence, a paragraph or even an essay to explain how an answer is achieved. I think the new standards have made our kids smarter, because they have a better understanding of the processes.” Alcorn School District Superintendent Gina Rogers Smith agrees. “One of things we are having to make our children understand is there is now more than one right answer,” she said. “These new standards have challenged the teachers and students to both think at a higher level.” Introduced in 2010, the new Common Core aligned standards, called Mississippi's College and Career Ready Standards, have not been favored by all. Late last week, the Mississippi Board of Education announced the state would withdraw from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. PARCC developed the English Language Arts and mathematics assessments that has defined what K-12 students must learn. The board cut ties with the controversial Common Core testing consortium after both Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves called for a repeal of the current standards. Corinth native and state education board member O. Wayne Gann said the board is committed to maintaining the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards. “As a board we want to ensure all students are proficient and show growth in all assessed areas,” he said. The former Corinth School District superintendent said the words “Common Core” is misleading Mississippians. “These are our standards, developed by Mississippi teachers for Mississippi students,” he added. “The federal government has nothing to do with these standards.” Gann said the standards spell-out what the board expects students to learn in English language arts and math in grades 3-8 and in high school. “Coming to an end is the state’s purchasing of assessments from PARCC,” he said “We will use the RFP process to select another student assessment vendor and by doing so we will no longer allow a contractor hired by PARCC to supply student assessments.” NCS Pearson, Inc. will deliver the 2014-2015 PARCC assessment as a one-year emergency procurement. This will remain the statewide assessment for the 2014-15 school year. “When it comes to developing the standards and measuring student progress, Mississippians are in the drivers seat and the federal government isn’t even in the car,” added Gann. “It’s just that simple.” New legislation passed Thursday will remove the phrase “Common Core” from state law. The legislation however would not require the state board to replace the current academic standards. Even after cutting ties with PARCC and removing the phrase "Common Core", Mississippi’s College and Career Ready Standards are still very much Common Core aligned and remain the highest academic standards the state has ever had in its history. School districts have spent millions and teachers have logged thousands of hours preparing for the new standards. “There is always room for improvement, but I hope the state does not completely scrap the current standards,” said Smith. “We have worked far to hard and we won’t know how it has paid off until later this year.” Both local school districts expect the first set of test results in late fall. The results will determine how both teachers and students have done with the new state standards. “One of the problems we have always had in Mississippi, is we have had entirely to many standards to teach from, so we have not been able to teach to the depth that would allow for a student to have an understanding throughout their school life, K-12,” said Childress. “In terms of adding or replacing standards, what the state doesn’t need to do is add standards unless those standards are absolutely standards we need for success.” Childress noted test results coming this fall may not be as high as normal for the area. “Because these standards are far more difficult then what we have seen in the past and because it will be a national setting, we are probably not going to see as high a rate as we have normally seen,” said Childress. “I feel like we will have a number of children who will not see as much growth as normal.” Childress thinks the standards will give Mississippi a chance to change its reputation on a national level. “We as a state have continually lagged behind and we have continually had low student performance. I think if we can back up these standards and believe in them, then we all can make a difference,” he added. “I think our teachers will continue to step up to the plate and I think our children will, as well.” Mississippi Economic Council President Blake Wilson has many of the same hopes. “The standards were aimed at helping to make our state more competitive with other states. When corporate leaders seek to locate a facility in a new state -- or expand an existing facility -- they want to be able to evaluate educational achievement based on standards that are common across state lines,” said Wilson. “We want every student to graduate high school and be ready for either college or the career path not just in Mississippi, but across the country,” added Gann.
Tax receipts continue to rise
by Jebb Johnston
Jan 24, 2015 | 3 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tax collections continued to sprint ahead in the mid-January deposits. Sales tax posted a 14th consecutive monthly increase with $516,688.57, rising about $30,000, or 6.3 percent, from a year earlier. The month’s figures reflect sales activity that happened in local businesses during the month of November. It is the first time the January deposit has exceeded $500,000. Meanwhile, the statewide total rose about 1 percent to $34.5 million. The fiscal year’s total rises to $1.992 million, an increase of almost 8 percent from the same point in the prior year. The 2 percent tourism tax on prepared food and lodging in Corinth also reached a high for the month at $103,584.41, rising about $22,000, or 28 percent, from a year earlier. It is the first January deposit to exceed $100,000 for the tourism tax. At $399,923,30 for the fiscal year to date, the tax is 16 percent ahead of collections at the same point in FY 2014. Other sales tax results from the region (percentages rounded): • Booneville - $154,530.09 (+1%) • Burnsville - $11,430.76 (-16%) • Farmington - $4,216.63 (+28%) • Glen - $1,662.72 (+6%) • Iuka - $64,356.10 (-2%) • Kossuth - $2,883.86 (-12%) • Rienzi - $4,294.85 (+11%) • Ripley - $104,732.26 (-4%) • Tupelo - $1,543,269.12 (-1%) • Walnut - $18,357.95 (-1%)
Former chief to run for sheriff
by Jebb Johnston
Jan 24, 2015 | 23 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A former Corinth police chief is among those planning to be in the running for sheriff this year. Ned Cregeen plans to file later to run for sheriff as a Democrat, he confirmed on Friday. Currently a probation and parole officer with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, he has submitted a letter to the MDOC commissioner notifying him of his plans to become a candidate for sheriff of Alcorn County. Cregeen is a former Corinth police officer and served as police chief from 2002 to 2005. Among those who have formally filed a statement of intent to run for sheriff are David Derrick, chief deputy for the sheriff’s department; Mike LaRue, formerly of the district attorney’s office, MDOC and sheriff’s department; Keith Settlemires, an investigator with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture; and Roger Voyles, the post 2 constable. David Nunley, a safety investigator with the Mississippi Highway Patrol - Motor Safety Division, also plans to file to run on Feb. 27, the final qualifying day. The pace of qualifying activity has slowed in the past week. As of noon Friday, the only new addition is in the special election for Fourth District election commissioner. Sandy Coleman Mitchell, district clerk for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, filed to run as a Democrat. She is the only candidate in that race thus far. A number of individuals have picked up papers for various offices but have not yet filed their statement of intent, according to the circuit clerk's office.
Property cleanup efforts continue in city
by Jebb Johnston
Jan 24, 2015 | 2 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A new round of property cleanup orders is targeting Cruise Street. The Board of Aldermen scheduled public hearings on cleanup for 5 p.m. Feb. 3 for: • 1412 Cruise • 1421 Cruise • 1428-A Cruise • 1428-B Cruise • 1426 Cruise • 1431 Cruise • 1211 Waldron Street The hearings will coincide with the board’s next regular meeting. Code Enforcement Officer Kim Ratliff said cleanup efforts will likely focus on several concentrated areas such as this in the coming months. “In the winter months when there isn’t much issue with high grass, we tend to focus on things like junk cars, items on porches and strewn in yards, and appliances sitting on the property,” he said. In hearings held Tuesday, the board voted to adjudicate 2301 Louisiana Street and the Willis property on Ross Street, meaning the city can proceed with having those properties cleaned up. The board gave a 30-day continuance for 1702 Tate Street. The owner addressed the board, explaining that he is handling the cleanup himself amid weather delays. The board approved a final 30-day continuance for 1540 Tate Street, where owners have met all of the city’s requirements except for a tree issue. The board also adjudicated property cleanup costs of $3,240 plus a $500 penalty for 1502 Tate Street and $2,485 plus a $500 penalty for 3903 Mathis Road. When the city identifies a property as one that is in violation of code, some are now being identified with a notice posted on the property rather than by a mailed letter, said Ratliff. “When you receive that notice, the time starts ticking,” he said. “After that, you may be called to a public hearing.” In other business, the board heard from Tracy Harbor in closed session regarding a lawsuit filed in Chancery Court by James and Pat Daniel, who are seeking the closing of an unnamed alley at their East Shiloh Road property.
Featured Businesses >>