Lauderdale County, Miss. The Lauderdale County School District is making some additions. The district has received a $1.3 million interest free loan from the state. That money will be used to add four new classrooms at West Lauderdale Elementary, and expand one large room at Clarkdale Elementary into two classrooms. District officials say that the changes are being made due to the need for more space on both campuses.
Meanwhile, the district is also taking steps to establish a school that will help students who need extra help when it comes to hitting the books. According to Superintendent Randy Hodges, the district is pursuing a plan to open an academic catch-up school. He says this school will serve kindergarten through 12th grade students who need extra help with academic subjects
"We can bring them in and spend more time with them in small group settings, or work on individual work," says Hodges. "We want to try to put outstanding teachers in those classrooms. We want an outstanding administrator there, but we really want to try to bring those kids that may be behind up to level."
Superintendent Hodges says district officials have come up with some good options about where the academic catch-up school should be located. The first option is to tear down the district's old alternative school, and build the new academic catch-up school and central office on that site. The second option is to build that structure on 16th section land that's next to the old alternative school.
Aside from serving as the site for the academic catch-up school and the district's central office, Superintendent Hodges says the new building will also be used to house traditional alternative school students.
"We'll emphasize it more for academics, but we'll use it for both."
Ultimately, Hodges views this as a plan that will benefit all students within the district.
"Teachers in the classroom will be able to take those students that are ready to progress and move faster, and then also what's more important is that if a child is behind, we'll be able to spend more time with them, more quality time and bring them up to grade level."
The plan is to open the academic catch-up school by September 2015. Superintendent Hodges says he's waiting to find out whether the district can receive an almost $1.5 million interest-free loan from the state to start the work. In the meantime, he says the district is exploring other options on how to build the school without taxing the public.