Incoming Alcorn School District board members Daniel Cooper, Ann Little and Ricky Fields meet with district office staff last week during an orientation session.
“As far as I know, this district has never had three new board members coming onboard at the same time,” said Superintendent Larry B. Mitchell. “My hope for this meeting is to give these board membersw some idea of what goes on in the school district, who works in the office and who they need to contact in case certain issues come up.”
Mitchell said being a school board member can be demanding with a never-ending amount of information.
Senior District 4 school board member Mary Coleman, who also attended the orientation meeting, agreed.
“I’m still learning new information every day ... even after 10 years on this board,” she said.
Mitchell gave the new board members a highlight of district goals set forth by the former Kossuth High School principal when he took office in January.
“This school district is a solid B rated district,” Mitchell said. “Within the next three years, I want us to be a A rated district. We would love for it to happen next year, but at least over the course of the next three years.”
District graduation rates are also important.
“Our goal was 85 percent, and our preliminary results for last year are 90.8 percent. We are very happy to have succeeded our goal, but like everything, it is something we have to watch closely and continue to improve on,” he said.
Mitchell also mentioned a recent increase in the district’s average ACT scores.
“We want our kids to be college and career ready and we measure that by how many of our kids reach an average ACT score of 21,” said Mitchell.
Currently the district’s average score is 18.8.
Other district goals include improvements in technology, safety and security, bus fleet and facilities upgrades.
“It’s very important that you (new board members) know as much as possible prior to January, but still we’re only able to scratch the surface during this orientation,” added Mitchell.
The regular board meeting held Dec. 12 marked the final meeting for one-term District 1 board member Russ Nash, interim District 3 board member Lamar Walker and interim District 2 board member Laura Studdard.
The next regular school board meeting is slated for Jan. 9, 2017 and will include the swearing-in ceremony for Cooper, Little and Fields.
The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. at the district office.