Community brings concerns to school meeting

Published 12:01 am Thursday, November 29, 2007

NATCHEZ — Mid-semester teacher loss was a hot topic at Wednesday night’s meeting between area school principals and parents.

The meeting, meant as an opportunity for parents and principals to exchange ideas, brought light to fact that the Natchez-Adams School District will be losing four teachers in December. The meeting was the third in a series of planned gatherings at New Hope Baptist Church.

The school district’s Human Resources Director John Sullivan said any loss of a teacher is cause for concern.

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“Obviously we don’t want to lose any teachers at all,” he said.

Sullivan also said when teachers leave in mid-semester the problem is actually two-fold.

Not only must the district hire additional teachers but also students lose a teacher with which they have been building rapport.

“It just makes matters a little more difficult,” he said.

While teacher loss is an inconvenience for all parties involved, Sullivan said a solution to the problem is already in the works.

Sullivan will be interviewing 15 possible replacement teachers for current positions and the four new openings.

Of the 15 candidates Sullivan will see, all are certified or will be certified by the time they start work.

Sullivan said the district’s goal is to hire and retain as many certified teachers as possible.

“That’s how students get the most benefits,” he said.

Another issue high on the mind of school principals present was the issue of parental support and cooperation.

This issue was addressed when one parent asked what can be done to enforce the rule that bans baggy pants in schools.

Most principals said it’s an issue they struggle with regularly.

But Skeufele Lewanika, principal of Robert Lewis Middle School, had a simple solution.

“Children don’t need pants that big,” he said.

Lewanika said teachers spend much of the day telling kids to pull up their pants when reality children don’t need pants so big to begin with.

Natchez-Adams School District Superintendent Anthony Morris said parental cooperation can go a long way to making all the district’s schools run more smoothly.

“We need to work with parents,” he said.

And working with parents, Morris said, is one of the reasons the meetings were originally organized.

Barbara Hoskins, a parent at the meeting, said relishes the opportunity to attend the meetings.

“It promotes unity between everyone,” she said. “It’s a great chance for parents to build relations ships with their schools.”