Meridian Star


May 25, 2014

Letters: Sunday, May 25, 2014

MERIDIAN — West Kemper

Elementary shining example


    Too often we hear about Mississippi schools that are failing. It is time to recognize a team of leaders who have worked incredibly hard to pull together and raise student achievement in the Kemper County School District.

    Three years ago, West Kemper Elementary School in DeKalb was identified as a failing school for a third straight year. Kemper County Superintendent, Ms. Jackie Pollack, used a School Improvement Grant (SIG) to hire our company to provide professional development by working inside the school and supporting the teachers and administrators.

    On a daily basis, experienced education consultants worked to change teaching practices, provide new strategies to increase student engagement and oversee teaching assessments.

    It is never easy for educators to take these huge risks and try new strategies, but it paid off. After the first year, test scores on the Mississippi Curriculum Test improved significantly, moving the elementary school from failure status to successful.

    That success was repeated in the second year. This spring, Dr. Laura Jones from the Office of School Improvement recognized two SIG districts for outstanding achievement. This included West Kemper Elementary for their tremendous growth.

    Congratulations to West Kemper Elementary School! If this growth in student achievement can happen in this school, in this rural district with such a high percentage of poverty, imagine what schools around our entire state can do.


    Patricia M. (Tricia) Bridges, PhD., Mississippi Director, Generation Ready

What were

legislators thinking?

    Recently there was a newspaper article concerning the Mississippi Legislature's refusal to pass a law pertaining to Mississippi drivers using cell phones and computers while driving. However, the article did not discuss nor disclose who of the legislators made this decision, and the reasons why this decision was made.

    Therefore, I wish to express not only my objection to this decision, but also my disdain toward this decision, and toward the individual or individuals that made this decision.

    With all the history, destruction and death that has resulted from people talking, texting and/or using a computer while operating a train, bus, 18 wheelers, or any other form of transportation, you would think that the state's or nation's legislators would pass a law prohibiting use of any type of electronic communication device.

    Growing up in my youth, in the South, one of my uncles challenged me to a mental and physical task. The task: To rub my belly with one of my hands while at the very exact same time pat the top of my head with the other hand. Funny kind of a task. My point of observation is this. Regardless of what anybody thinks, there are people behind the steering wheel of automobiles that cannot, nor do they have the mental ability, to drive and talk or text on a phone at the very same time.

    I cannot count, on my fingers and toes, the number of times while behind one of these people that they were so engrossed in an electronic device, and would not proceed when the light turned green. Or, while being engrossed, again, these people would not have their vehicle under control while making a turn next to me.

    In so many instances, I have had to honk my horn continuously at these people. Also, I believe anyone guilty of this type of behavior should be arrested and fined heavily. Unless, these people causes a death; then, they should be severely sentenced to prison.

    I don't know how many times that I have hinted at getting a heavily armored vehicle for my personal mode of transportation. Because, after three near fatal auto accidents, I have been very careful in my driving. And, all three were not my fault. And, two of the accidents were before cell phones became popular and available.     This is my opinion.

    Thank you,

    Floyd T. Killebrew, Jr.

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