Pine Belt News is preparing for a community forum on public education

The date is getting closer The Pine Belt News‘ upcoming community forum on public education offering residents the opportunity to learn about the performance of local school districts – and the individual schools within them – from local Superintendents and Mayor Toby Barker.

The forum, entitled “How Do We Support Public Education?” will be held on November 30 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg. It’s free and open to the public.

Barker will moderate the event and ask questions for the following superintendents: Robert Williams (Hattiesburg Public School District), Matt Dillon (Petal School District), Steven Hampton (Lamar County School District), and Donna Boone (Forrest County Agricultural School District). Forrest County School District Superintendent Brian Freeman wanted to attend but will be out of town this week because of a prior commitment.

“We are so blessed here in Forrest and Lamar counties to have some of the best public schools in the state,” said Christina Pierce, editor of The Pine Belt News. “Since all of our local school districts have received an ‘A’ rating (in the Mississippi Department of Education’s most recent accountability ratings), I’m dying to ask the question, ‘Could our schools be any better?’

“And, more importantly, ‘What can I personally do to support public education?'”

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • The primary function of a superintendent in today’s school systems;
  • primary initiatives to focus on in the coming school years;
  • educational trends;
  • The correlation between parent engagement and student outcomes;
  • community relation programs; and
  • How the community can help promote excellence in public education.

In particular, the MDE ratings, which assign a grade from “A” to “F” to each district and school nationwide, are discussed. Perhaps most impressive in this endeavor, the Hattiesburg Public School District received an “A” after several years of “D” grades.

The forum begins with a presentation lasting no more than 15 minutes, during which Pierce opens the event with remarks on its purpose, the importance of excellent public education for everyone in the community, and the rules governing the forum. Pierce will then introduce each of the superintendents along with Barker.

The Mayor will share his thoughts on the state of local public education and community involvement in education. He will then question the Superintendents for approximately 45 minutes.

The audience will have an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns with the panel. For more information on the event, contact The Pine Belt News office at (601) 268-2331.

“I hope we can all learn more about our extraordinary public schools and how the community can better support[education],” Pierce said.



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