On paper, it is clear why a pair of Lee County middle schools have been labeled “at-risk” by the Mississippi Department of Education. But educators and students at Plantersville and Shannon middle schools wish people could see the things that aren’t measured by data.
Daily Journal education reporter Emma Kent (3:21) joins Derek and Chris Kieffer on today’s episode to discuss improvement efforts at the two schools.
Both schools were given F accountability rankings in 2016 and saw their test scores drop. But leaders at each cite efforts that have led to improved school cultures. They’ve also taken definitive steps to raise test scores.
Plantersville students have become much more aware of their individual data – something that used to be studied only by principals and teachers – and they now carry data notebooks with them. The school also has built extra intervention time into the school day. At Shannon, students now have 72 minutes each day of English and math instruction through a shared second period of class time.
Emma also talks about the strong cultures at both schools and the efforts of teachers to help students in a way that goes beyond their academic needs.
Also on today’s episode, Daily Journal reporters Caleb Bedillion and Bobby Harrison (26:24) discuss the politics behind a proposed new jail for Lee County. County leaders have begun efforts to replace the current facility that is overcrowded and in need of repairs. But as they’ve sought a bill from the Mississippi Legislature to give them flexibility on a location, it has revealed a possible rift between city and county leaders. It also is unclear whether the Legislature will approve that bill or whether it is even needed.
Daily Journal health reporter Michaela Morris (41:43) talks about the unknown fate of the Delta Doctors program. The program places U.S.-trained, foreign-born physicians in underserved rural communities in eight states. The program is part of the federally funded Delta Regional Authority, which was not funded in the preliminary budget submitted by President Trump.
Daily Journal photographer Lauren Wood (50:07) discusses her recent photo essay on the MSU Bulldog Classic American Quarter Horse Association Horse Show at the MS Horse Park in Starkville.