Better Together Commission hosts "Listening Sessions" - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Better Together Commission hosts "Listening Sessions"

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JACKSON METRO AREA, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The "Better Together Commission" is a group of 15 people appointed by the Governor, the City, and the Kellogg Foundation, and they're asking for your input.

The Commission hosted "Listening Sessions" in Wards 1-4 Monday to find out the public's view on how to improve the Jackson Public School System.

Parents, JPS alumni, members of the PTA, and even some students expressed their concerns with JPS.

"What are the children getting out of learning on an education?" asked a student who goes to Casey Elementary.

Topics brought up frequently included standardized testing, teachers' enthusiasm and salary, and parent involvement.

"My concerns relate to the educational rigor of JPS, as it is currently, and curriculum development, in relationship to what the strategic action plan or the corrective action plan is," said Jonathan Larkin, a former JPS school board member.

The Better Together Commission was formed to figure out where JPS stands and where it wants to be, and develop a plan for how to meet that goal.

One of their major tasks is communication with the public.

"Most importantly to me, as a parent, I just want to know what's going on," said Angela Bass, the first parent to speak up at Monday's meeting.

There were some issues brought up in the Listening Session that aren't always touched on at regular Board meetings.

"I have a concern for students with disabilities," said George Porter, a parent who says he suffers from dyslexia and ADHD.

"Special needs. I have a daughter that's special needs. She's in IEP. She's given the help that she needs, but we need more," added Felicia Harley, another JPS parent.

"We are lacking a lot of the materials and resources at certain schools that we need to accommodate some of the children with special needs," agreed another parent.

These participants were at the meeting for Ward 1, at Christ United Methodist Church on Old Canton Road.

There were three other sessions held at the same time today, in different wards.

Ward 2 had a session at Anderson United Methodist Church; Ward 3's was held at Cade Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, and Ward 4 had a meeting at Siwell Middle School.

The Commission says they'll be holding these sessions every week.

They'll also be conducting a telephone poll, and going door to door, asking how to improve JPS.

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