Teacher turnover rate not an issue for upcoming school year
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 1:00 PM
With summer in full-swing, Madison County Schools Superintendent Ronnie McGehee reflects on the successes of the past year as they also deal with turnover in the district.
"We've had an incredible year," said McGehee. "We wrapped the 2013-2014 school year with 12,587 students, 23 schools and 1,500 employees. We met the diversity of our students head on."
With an average of 28 National Merit Scholars and a graduation rate of 86.2 percent, the graduating seniors received over $35 million in scholarship dollars.
At the end of the school year, however, the school system lost over 30 educators to retirement and many more to relocation.
"We've had a number of retirees over the last few years," McGehee said. "It's a demographic issue more than anything else. We've been able a hire a good number of teachers, and I think we've got some excellent ones to replace those that left."
Ridgeland High School Principal Sharon Summers noted an increased turnover rate of her teaching staff.
"I do notice that this is happening, not just in Ridgeland and not just in Mississippi. Some of it is probably related to the changes going on within the education system."
Summers has found that many move for advancement opportunities. "When you have talents, your talents open doors for you," she explained.
Despite losses, the Madison County School Board continues its mission to educate, motivate and graduate all students, the superintendent said.
"In education, you're constantly changing to do better offerings for your young people," he said, noting that there are those statewide who fight tooth and nail to shut down public education rather than improve it.
In the upcoming school year, Madison County high schools will implement a program allowing students to earn high school and college credits simultaneously from certified teachers at the high school location.
"Once we expand the classes, we will have some seniors that will be able to exit us and have one year of college behind them," predicted McGehee.
The administration's goal is to add more courses each year that would be considered college level. This change will also provide relief to the budget of parents.
Recent changes at the middle school level allow students to test into Algebra I in seventh grade.
The upcoming school year will also see the addition of the common core curriculum in the sixth through eleventh grades.
"The more I learn about the assessment, the more comfortable I become with it," said Summers, who admits to having her doubts about the program originally.
The common core assessments will replace existing comprehensive tests in Algebra I and English II classes. The common core program will bring a critical thinking approach instead of the past focus on multiple choice questions.
"In Madison County, public education works," McGehee added. "We pledge to continue our tradition of educational excellence."