Morris: Curriculum test important to whole community

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212;The bankers, realtors and clerks of Natchez can&8217;t pick up the pencil or whisper any answers to the town&8217;s children during next week&8217;s test, but that doesn&8217;t mean they don&8217;t have a job to do too, area educators said.

Even community members who don&8217;t have children in the public schools need to be aware of the administration of the Mississippi Curriculum Test Tuesday through Thursday, Superintendent Anthony Morris said.

&8220;It would help for them to be very encouraging to the young people and wish them well,&8221; Morris said.

Email newsletter signup

And there&8217;s a logistical side too, he said. Ballgames, church events or other activities that keep children out late next week may need to be rescheduled.

&8220;We are trying to emphasize the importance of them getting the proper amount of rest,&8221; he said.

Robert Lewis Middle School Principal Bettye Bell said she&8217;d like to see visible signs of support in the community.

&8220;It would be nice to have signs up at the banks and stores to say our community supports you,&8221; Bell said.

But even if you don&8217;t go that far, make the effort to offer an encouraging word, she said.

&8220;Tell them you are behind them. Tell them that they can do well,&8221; she said. &8220;We are looking for mentors, people who&8217;ll say &8216;I&8217;m in your corner. I&8217;m proud of you.&8217; Kids need to hear that from somebody other than a parent.&8221;

RLMS has seen an influx in community support this year, Bell said, with groups like the mentoring ministers. That influence is something she said she expects will show up in the test scores.

&8220;Give them a thumbs up and a &8216;do your best,&8217;&8221; she said.

&8220;A school is only the reflection of what the community is. It&8217;s not going to be any better or any worse.&8221;

Second- through eighth-graders at all Natchez public schools will take the state assessment Tuesday through Thursday. Their performance will determine what performance ranking the district receives.