JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Major changes are on the way for Wingfield High School in the classroom. The school is being restructured to improve academics, but some parents at a meeting Monday night to discuss those changes were more concerned about safety and security.
It was a regular PTA meeting but the new topic on the agenda was restructuring Wingfield High School. It is part of a three year academic improvement plan for the school. Parents were able to ask questions about the grant that will make those changes possible. Donald Purvis is President of the Neighborhood Association.
"I think parents will begin to support it Maggie, based on when they gain information of the critical nature and the importance of what's taking place," said Purvis.
But most of the questions were about how their children can learn when they don't feel safe. This follows last week's arrest of a 17 year old who brought a gun to Wingfield that went off in a restroom. Rev. Dwayne Pickett is the pastor of a local church.
"Every parent is concerned about the safety of their children and are they sending their children into a safe environment to learn, which is a valid concern for any parent," said Pickett.
Right now Wingfield is at risk of failing. School officials are hoping with this 5.2 million dollar federal grant and the support of parents they can make drastic changes in the academics at Wingfield. Dr. Greta Terry is Assistant Superintendent for high schools in Jackson.
"We're trying to put every resource that we can in place so that our teachers will be able to utilize their time and talent to improve instruction," said Terry.
Lanier and Forest Hill High Schools underwent similar restructuring procedures. School officials say they saw big improvements.
"In one year, within one year of restructuring Forest Hill High School they moved from a low performance rating to a successful school rating," said Dr. Terry. "So that's our ultimate goal, simply to make things better for our children."
The federal grant targets low performing schools across the country that show a commitment to raising student achievement.
The grant will allow Wingfield to hire one additional security guard. School officials also tell us there are five metal detectors at Wingfield. Jackson Police are now investigating to find out how the student managed to slip through with the gun.
©2011 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.