NASD to embrace creative changes

Published 12:39 am Sunday, July 30, 2017

By Christian Coffman

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Positive changes are in store for the Natchez-Adams School District, administrators said.

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Of those changes, students will be offered more opportunities to grow and explore new areas of learning.

One change will be Natchez Early College Academy students moving onto Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s campus for better access to higher learning.

Administrators want the community to know that NECA is not just for the best and brightest.

Deputy superintendent Zandra McDonald said NECA students are a mixed group.

“NECA students are targeted as students who need that additional support … who want to move into the college setting,” McDonald said. “These are not our top students, they’re a heterogeneous mix.”

Along the same vein, the district is looking to offer dual-enrollment courses at Natchez High School.

McDonald said the district is looking to receive a partnership from one of its institutions of higher learning.

“We’ve had conversations with Alcorn State University,” McDonald said.

McDonald said students who have been identified as meeting ACT requirements and have accumulated 17 credits as of this coming August will have the option to take dual-enrollment courses.

Dual-enrollment courses will include subjects such as English composition, college algebra and art appreciation — typical courses that freshman college students take.

The district’s public relations coordinator Steven Richardson said NECA and dual-enrollment courses are for students or parents who want themselves or their children to be put on the fast track.

McDonald said many creative things are happening in both Morgantown Arts Academy and Robert Lewis Middle School.

Both schools are going to have the same creative electives.

Students at each of those schools will have the option of participating in all electives, as opposed to previous years wherein only arts academy could participate in arts electives.

McDonald said students should have the same electives to better discover what interests them.

Middle schools students will all be given the chance to take music and STEM classes or art and communication classes side by side, for example.

“What we’re doing is to offer students an opportunity to explore their interests … and advanced level courses,” McDonald said. “This is an opportunity for them to explore what their interests are.”

Richardson said the decision comes with the idea that it is never too late for a student to get a head start and learn many things early.

“Twelfth-grade graduation starts in Pre-K,” Richardson said.

Richardson expressed interest in setting up opportunities for students to job shadow employees at local businesses.

Richardson said he wants to bring in a job shadowing program since he believes it has been helpful to students throughout Mississippi.

“There are individuals out there who would get our students exposed to those career fields of those individual’s businesses,” Richardson said.

Richardson said any businesses that are available in Adams County would be welcome as part of such a program so as to not limit students.

“We’re trying to place them in arenas that would help them be successful in life, not just in school,” Richardson said.