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Humphreys County Reacts to District Takeover

Humphreys County Reacts to District Takeover
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Community members in the Humphreys County School District are feeling optimistic even though their district is being taken over by the state. MPB’s Alexandra Watts reports on a community-wide meeting in Belzoni last night.

Dozens of parents, teachers and students gather at the Howard J. Austin Performing Arts Center.

They are hearing from the superintendent of the newly created Achievement School District, Dr. Jermall Wright.

Wright said he’s encouraged by the community’s engagement.

“Their questions were about instruction and how we’re going to improve the system and what are some things we need to do to make things better. So that’s a key indicator for me that the community as a whole is already posted, primed and ready to engage with us in this work.”

Humphreys County School District has been consistently rated as a failing school district which is why it is being taken over by the state.

Shonda Hooker is a parent and middle school teacher at one of the five schools in the district. She was worried about the takeover will affect students.

“They’re okay with it," she said. "They have questions on a daily basis because they think it’s an actual state take over. And you know, we try and keep them more comfortable and tell them not to worry about it because everything is still going to go according to plan.”

There are over 1700 students in the Humphreys County School District, and according to Wright most of the teachers will keep their jobs and the athletics programs and extracurricular activities will remain.

Seventh grader Madison Peterson said this meeting is helping her better understand her district’s future.

"I was worried because I didn’t know how my school would react to it. And maybe because we’re not really used to other people coming in. We’re used to our teachers and our principal and how regular things are going.”

The Yazoo City School District, which is also rated F, will also be placed under the new Achievement School District. There will be a similar community meeting in Yazoo City next week.