In the Hardeman County Commission meeting held on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, several important updates and academic improvements were discussed. The focus of the meeting was to provide background information and progress reports on various initiatives undertaken by the county. This article will delve into the key points discussed during the meeting, highlighting the academic improvements and opportunities provided to the students in the county.
Academic Focus on Literacy and Vocational Education
One of the major areas of emphasis in Hardeman County schools has been on improving literacy skills among students. Recognizing the significance of being able to read proficiently, the county has invested significant efforts in training teachers in the five components of literacy. By retraining almost 90% of the teachers in these components, the county aims to improve students’ reading skills and ensure their success both in school and online.
Additionally, the county has expanded its vocational education program to offer students more options beyond traditional college-bound courses. With the goal of equipping students with valuable industry certifications, Hardeman County Schools has seen a tremendous increase in the number of students obtaining certifications such as OSHA 10 and ServSafe. These certifications provide students with valuable skills that can give them an advantage in the job market.
Dual Enrollment and Partnership with Jackson State University
To further enhance students’ educational opportunities, Hardeman County Schools has expanded its dual enrollment program. This program allows students to earn college credits while still in high school, giving them a head start in their academic journey. In partnership with Jackson State University, students who meet the eligibility criteria can start taking college classes in their junior year of high school. Upon graduation, these students will receive a high school diploma as well as an associate degree, providing them with a significant advantage in their future endeavors.
Funding and Infrastructure Improvements
Hardeman County Schools has also been proactive in securing funding for infrastructure improvements. Through grants and strategic partnerships, the county has been able to upgrade equipment, renovate facilities, and enhance the learning environment for students. One such grant, the EMA Crossbow Grant, has allowed the county to upgrade equipment and provide additional training for teachers without utilizing general purpose funds.
The county has also made significant investments in renovating and modernizing its school buildings. With several schools dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, renovations were necessary to ensure a safe and conducive learning environment for students. By utilizing funds from the EMA Crossbow Grant and other sources, the county has been able to renovate classrooms, cafeterias, and restrooms, as well as address maintenance issues.
Balancing Renovations and New Construction
During the meeting, the option of new construction was explored as a potential solution to address the aging school buildings. However, after considering the high cost estimates and the impact on the county’s debt ratio, the board decided to focus on renovations instead. By making strategic improvements such as flooring, paint, and window replacements, the county aims to enhance the appearance and functionality of the existing school buildings while remaining fiscally responsible.
The Hardeman County Commission meeting held on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, provided valuable insights into the academic improvements and initiatives undertaken by the county. Through a focus on literacy, vocational education, dual enrollment, and infrastructure improvements, Hardeman County Schools aims to provide students with a well-rounded education and ample opportunities for success. The county’s commitment to continuous improvement and strategic investments ensures that students are prepared for the challenges of the future. With ongoing efforts to enhance the learning environment and academic offerings, Hardeman County Schools is committed to the long-term success of its students and the community as a whole.