DCS board approves reading camp, summer school programs

DeSoto County School District (DCS) board members moved ahead with two programs the school district offers to help students needing to catch up ahead of their next year of classes.

DCS has offered a third grade reading camp and a summer school in the past and those programs will continue after an approval vote by the board on Thursday afternoon.  

The Literacy-Based Promotion Act requires all third-grade students to read on grade level before they can be promoted to fourth grade. To ensure students can read on level, they are administered the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) at the end of third grade. If a student does not pass this assessment, even though he/she may have passed third grade, the student must be given an opportunity to retest.

Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services Thomas Spencer said the reading camp would be held at Southaven Intermediate School between June 20-30 from 8-11:30 a.m. 

“There would be no cost for the students to attend,” Spencer said. “Bus transportation would be provided.”

Students who take part in the summer reading camp would be retested again at the end of June to determine if their reading level would allow them to be promoted to fourth grade.  

Academic Support and School Improvement Executive Director Amanda Samples added the second re-testing would come in the middle of May to determine who needs to be at the summer reading camp, so they couldn’t tell the board immediately how many students would be taking part in the camp and to what level of bus transportation would be needed. 

The third grade reading camp was approved on a 5-0 vote.  

Summer school proposals were also approved by the school board on Thursday. Students in grades 3-5 needing help in one content area will be able to attend summer school between June 6-30 at Southaven Intermediate School. There is no cost to take part but no bus transportation will be offered.  

Students will receive 3.5 hours of direct instruction from a certified teacher and mastery of skills will be determined through the analysis of district created assessments. If a student successfully remediates the necessary skills, he/she will be promoted to the next grade. 

Students who have been retained in one content area (ELA, Math, Science, or Social Studies) will be eligible to attend at no cost.

A similar summer school program for middle and high school students in grades 6-12 needing help in a subject area will be offered between May 31-July 8 at Southaven High School.  Again, no cost to take part but no bus transportation is offered. 

Students will earn credits through Edgenuity, with the exception of driver’s education. Middle school students will be allowed to recover no more than two credits; high school students will be allowed to recover any and all credits not earned during the regular school year at no cost, except for driver’s education. Bus transportation will not be provided.

School board members Thursday were also introduced to a five-year strategic plan for the district, a plan likely to be voted on at its next meeting April 21.  Board approvals for parking lot overlays at Southaven Elementary School and parking lot repairs at Center Hill High School were given, as well as a drainage project at Southaven High School.  

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Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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