Education Executive - Summer 2012 - (Page 92)
HOLMES COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Prepared for Progress
Setting high standards and lofty goals helps Holmes County School District prepare more students to succeed in college and the work force.
olmes County School District is working to make sure that its students are college-ready. With nine schools in central Mississippi, Holmes County School District serves about 3,300 students and has a primarily AfricanAmerican population.
As Holmes County School District aims to prepare students for future challenges, it is striving to set high standards that will allow it to provide a high-quality education in a safe, learning-friendly environment. This effort has required taking steps to find the tools and staff necessary to provide quality instruction and help increase student achievement. According to Superintendent Powell Rucker, Holmes County School District has seen improvement in its overall performance in mathematics. Now the district is setting its sights on reading by establishing a literacy campaign. “That is an area we are putting a lot of focus on now, especially in the middle grades,” Rucker says. “We are stressing the decoding process in the middle and upper elementary schools. The lower grades are doing phonics and phonemics awareness, and the high school level is stressing the importance of moving on and beefing up the college prep area.”
Holmes County School District isn’t a wealthy school system, so it has to be careful about properly allocating resources and looking outside for funding where it can. For instance, it runs two pre-kindergarten programs that are paid for by federal funds. The Barksdale Reading Institute has provided support to the district around its improvement efforts at William Sullivan Elementary, too. One key area where the district has looked externally for help has been with staffing. Rucker says the district has been required to use long-term substitutes in the past, which delays progress in its academic initiatives. In response, Holmes County School District has been hiring people from across the country through the Teach for America program as well as increasing its international recruitment efforts and bringing people in from India.
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“What we need to do now is be sure we have the administrators in place who are strong managers and can oversee staff turnover,” Rucker explains. “We’ve increased professional development, and bringing people in from outside can be expensive, but it makes sure we are moving in the right direction academically.” Rucker hopes to find ways to invest more in professional development in the coming years. That would allow the district to help incoming Teach for America teachers become stronger classroom managers, as well as help international teachers become permanent residents.
Making a Difference
Although resources have been tight, the school district has still found ways to invest in technology and facilities. Rucker says the district has made a lot of investments into creating electronic classrooms and installing smartboards, and it hopes to have those systems in all classrooms before too long. “Smartboards provide real-time information and a stimulating method of getting information to students,” Rucker says.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Executive - Summer 2012
Education Executive - Summer 2012
Can't Live Without It
Broadening the Student Experience
Upgrading Facilities on Tight Budgets
Haylor, Freyer & Coon ◆ N.Y.
Anne Arundel Community College ◆ MD
Humber College ◆ Ont.
Grove City College ◆ PA
Broome Community College ◆ N.Y.
Coastal Carolina University ◆ S.C.
Cuyahoga Community College ◆ Ohio
Ottawa University ◆ Kan.
Brazosport College ◆ Texas
Idaho State University ◆ Idaho
Hillsborough Community College ◆ Fla.
Post University ◆ Conn.
Union College ◆ N.Y.
University of New Mexico ◆ N.M.
Naperville School District 203 ◆ Ill.
Santa Barbara Unified School District ◆ Calif.
Acadia Parish School Board ◆ LA
Mounds View Public Schools ◆ Minn.
Central Community School District ◆ LA
Chelmsford Public Schools ◆ Mass.
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District ◆ Mass.
86elmira City Schools ◆ N.Y.
Glendora Usd ◆ Calif.
Harnett County Schools ◆ N.C.
Holmes County School District ◆ Miss.
Jefferson Parish Public School System ◆ LA
Harlandale Independent School District ◆ Texas
Kyrene School District ◆ Ariz.
Fort Huachuca Accommodation Schools #00 ◆ Ariz.
Kenosha Unified School District ◆ Wis.
Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District ◆ Texas
Maryland School for the Deaf ◆ MD
Mclean County District Unit No. 5 ◆ Ill.
Williamson County Schools ◆ Tenn.
Mesa Public Schools ◆ Ariz.
Palmdale School District ◆ Calif.
Plain Local School District ◆ Ohio
St. Martin Parish Schools ◆ LA
Oak Harbor School District ◆ Wash.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools ◆ MD
Vancouver Island University ◆ B.C.
Brandon School Division ◆ MB
Dalhousie University ◆ N.S.
Peace River School Division ◆ AB
University of Sudbury ◆ Ont.
Sandy Spring Friends School
The Pomfret School ◆ Conn.
Riverside Military Academy ◆ GA
The Thacher School ◆ Calif.
Education Executive - Summer 2012