School board takes advantage of tutoring services

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 13, 2009

NATCHEZ — Students and parents in the Natchez-Adams School District will be able to take advantage of new tutoring programs this year.

The school approved 10 supplemental educational services for Morgantown Elementary and Robert Lewis Middle School.

The tutoring services are offered to students who performed minimal or basic on MCT2 test and who receive free or reduced lunches.

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Marilyn Turner, NASD director of federal programs, reported 10 state providers were chosen by the school district to present to parents.

“I’m asking to go on contract with the service providers who responded to us,” Turner said.

Turner said parents were introduced to the 10 options children had for mentoring at two business fairs the schools hosted.

Board member Thelma Newsome said she had concerns about the location of the providers.

“All of these are from out of town. And I do notice that some of them are Internet services,” Newsome said. “What about the others? Do they really have people in this district that can provide these services?”

Turner said the providers selected by parents would be hiring staff from within the district to teach afternoon tutoring sessions at both schools.

The providers would pay tutors and the school system would pay the providers from its Title 1 fund.

While some of the services can be provided at the child’s home if the family has a computer and an Internet connection, most of the programs, Turner said are hands-on, after-school programs.

However, students aren’t the only ones to have the opportunity to study after school.

West Primary School Principal Cindy Idom asked to have Claire Passantino, author of “Let’s Read Math,” lead a four-hour Parent Academy at her school.

The board approved Idom’s request.

The program is set to occur next spring and encourage parents to become involved in their children’s schoolwork through seeing math as less intimidating and more fun.

“We have presently sent an order in and we’re hoping that this Parent Academy will increase the involvement of parents,” Idom said.

“(The program) will make it fun for them to help their students and get involved,” Idom said.

In other business:

4 The board announced accountability labels based partially on test scores will be released Nov. 23, but will not be discussed until that time due to state regulations.

4 The board discussed the issue of textbooks and the role of take-home books for students.

Board member Wayne Barnett said he’d received calls from parents complaining about their children being without books in their classes.

Barnett said he wanted to make sure the reason students didn’t have textbooks was because of the class setup and not because of financial reasons.

Natchez High School Principal Cleveland Moore said the shortage of books in his school’s Algebra II classes stems from a fluctuation in students over a five-year period.

Moore said books are bought and retired every five years, and his teachers, who rely heavily on technology and workbooks, have found ways to work with the materials they have.

4 The board approved a contractual agreement between Morgantown Elementary School and Empowerment 360, which offers a motivational speaker who focuses on student motivation safe schools, dropout prevention and academic performance.