Strengthening families program will help, board says

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 17, 2001

To build stronger families, the Natchez Adams School District thinks requiring parental involvement might be the answer in some cases.

To make sure parents participate, the school board voted Thursday to update its student handbook to include a section on filing educational neglect complaints.

Under the policy, parents asked to take part in a new strengthening families program must do so or face charges.

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Parents will be required to attend the strengthening families program with their children if they have major behavioral problems resulting in first placement in the school’s positive choices program.

&uot;The parent component is what really caught our attention,&uot; said Thelma Newsome, director of federal programs, about the strengthening families program. &uot;It gets not only the parent involved but the child involved, and they can both learn some things they can do working together to help resolve some of the behavior problems and conflicts the children are experiencing.&uot;

The school district is not looking forward to or even thinking about filing the charges but with the policy in place, parents will be informed of it, Newsome said.

And even without the policy, the law says a district can file charges if problems continue with a child and the parents will not get involved, Newsome said.

&uot;It would be a last resort,&uot; said Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis.

The board also approved training of counselors and social workers for the Strengthening Families Program.

In other business the board discussed the movement of teachers around the district.

While discussing personnel, Craig Langnes asked if the district tracked the number of teachers that resigned or retired on a school by school basis.

&uot;My concern is McLaurin (Elementary School) is losing teachers here,&uot; Langnes said. &uot;Over the past couple of meetings, McLaurin has lost a number of teachers and I’m wondering why.&uot;

Davis did not think the numbers pointed to a trend.

&uot;We haven’t seen any marked exodus of teachers of any one building,&uot; he said. &uot;This is pretty normal. Teachers move around.&uot;

After the board approved the monthly personnel report Thursday, the district still had 18 vacancies for the upcoming school year. These included spots for 15 elementary teachers, one special education teacher, one science teacher and one social studies teacher, said Fred Longs, director of personnel.

In other business the board:

4Accepted a proposal from Silas M. Simmons and Co, LLP, to conduct the 2001-02 audit for the district.

4Amended the budgets for Central Alternative School and West Primary School so the two schools could take part in the extended school year program this summer.

4Granted approval for training for teachers for the Great Source Calendar Math Program.

4Approved providing 45 students participating in the Summer Tech-Prep Enhancement program one half of a credit toward graduation.

4Discussed the future need for Internet filtering on district’s computers. Under the Children’s Internet Protection Act, the district might be required to pay for the filtering solution to be eligible for future e-rate funding.

4Tabled approval of the final version of the board’s new policy manual to allow board members more time to study it.

4Discussed the district’s policy on cellular phones provided to district staff and regulating their use for business only.

4Heard a request from Erle Drane to rename the Sandy Creek Wildlife Management Area after his father and former elected official, H.B. Drane.