Kemper County Reacts to School Ratings

New rankings show that the Kemper County School District itself is no longer rated as Failing; instead it's one level higher at Low Performing.

East Kemper Elementary and Kemper County High School are labeled Low Performing. But that is also a level higher than last year.

West Kemper Elementary is labeled Failing, for the second year in a row.

But Kemper County school officials are not giving up on trying to successfully educate children there. They have a plan to make things better, as early as this year.

"We know that there's a lot of work that still needs to be done, but we are moving in the right direction," said Kemper County superintendent Jackie Pollock.

Pollock attributes at least part of the problem to the school's high teacher turnover. With 24 teachers in all, 6 new ones were hired last year and 9 others this year.

To help with teacher training and student achievement, West Kemper has been awarded a more than $2 million federal grant.

"The purpose of that grant is to provide transformational leadership changes and organizational changes, to make sure that we improve instructional practices," Pollock said.

"We're receiving a grant facilitator, two interventionists, a full-time parent liaison," said West Kemper Elementary principal, Connie Johnson.

Pollock says the strategists who are being brought in will work rigorously with faculty and students at West Kemper Elementary. She says there are no plans to immediately terminate anyone from a position. However, she says if there are those who cannot work with the plan that the strategists present, that could happen.

Johnson said she's optimistic that won't happen.

"They realize that improvements must be made," Johnson said. "They've been on board and they are very excited about receiving the grant and they are also excited about the improvements that we are going to make at West Kemper this year.'

All of the additional faculty members are expected to be on the job within the next month.

Kemper County School District was among four in this area that were rated lower than Successful. Meridian Public Schools also rated Low Performing. The Newton Municipal Schools and Quitman School District were both labeled Academic Watch status, just one notch below Successful.

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  • by Former KCSD teacher Location: MS on Sep 16, 2011 at 08:28 AM
    Kemper County won't keep the good teachers around. They try to get rid of them for bogus reasons. If you are a white teacher, you can't be hired there. Take a look at the recent hirings at WKE. How many new teachers were white? NONE!! It's all about the color of your skin there at KC. And then they try to say the white people are prejudice. Come on!!! They were some of the most prejudice people I ever worked with.
    • reply
      by Disappointed Parent on Sep 16, 2011 at 09:57 AM in reply to Former KCSD teacher
      I really can't agree with you but you have the right to your opinion. But for you to be a teacher, that is a very harsh thing to say. I am a proud graduate of Kemper County and I have been taught by black and white teachers. White has nothing to do with teaching our kids but for some reason, our kids seem to intimidate white teachers and black teachers seem to be the only ones that decide to stick it out. Our school really don't have a place to decide other wise what color is needed in the school system especially with the help that our kids need. This year our school has more white students enrolled than ever before because most parents around here send there kids to a private school. So is it fair for you to teach our black kids when you refuse to let your white kids go to Kemper public school.
      • reply
        by Former KCSD teacher on Sep 16, 2011 at 01:16 PM in reply to Disappointed Parent
        I don't live in KC, so therefore I cannot send my children there. As for there being white teachers that teach in KCSD, there used to be. But now, there is an all black administration. They (the all black administration) are not going to hire a white person when there is a black person, qualified or not, that wants the job. And by qualified, I'm speaking of experience, not just a degree. The only reason you might have more white students enrolled there than ever before is because parents can't afford to send their child anywhere else and don't have a choice. Would you want your black child to be in a school with all white students, all white teachers, and a white principal? I think not!!! And I was not intimidated by the black students. I stayed there longer than most teachers would.
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