Meridian, Miss. As school starts for the new year, there's a new strategy for the Meridian Public School District. Superintendent Alvin Taylor says when he was first appointed two years ago his primary strategy was to change policy and deal with discipline issues as needed. This year he says there is increased emphasis on improving instruction.
"We're focusing more on in-house training with our people who are successful in the classroom and having them share those practices with other teachers."
Superintendent Alvin Taylor says the plan is for these in-house training sessions to take place at least once a week. Aside from this, Dr. Taylor has plans to meet bi-monthly with all principals.
"On my end, my job is to make sure that the administrators and the teachers are working hard, but the rubber doesn't meet the road until the students are working hard as well.
That's where Dr. Taylor says parents and the community can help. Throughout last year Dr. Taylor met once a month with community groups that mentor students. One of his desires this year is to increase the number of mentors.
"We've expanded our pre-k programs for this year. We've added two more pre-k classes. We've also expanded our curriculum support to provide more support to our teachers in regards to mentoring and coaching for our teachers. We've also invested more in education materials for our students and our teachers. Administrators, teachers and students, we're going to work harder than we did in previous years. We're just going to roll up our sleeves and do some old fashioned work!"
The Meridian Public School District has one of the largest pre-programs in the state. It consist of 13 sites and 250 students. Two of those pre-k sites opened this year; one is at Crestwood Elementary and the other is at the Western Gardens Housing Development.