JPS superintendent outlines 2009-2010 vision in a Media Chat and Chew

August 14, 2009 in Education

Jackson Public School District Superintendent Lonnie Edwards held his first “Chat and Chew with the Media” Monday, Aug. 10, two days before students returned to school

In Monday’s Chat and Chew session Edwards called for the community to join forces with the district in what he has termed, “The Ultimate Partnership: the community and its children.” He noted that students, parents, teachers, neighbors/citizens, faith-based institutions, and businesses are stakeholders in children’s educational attainment for the 2009-2010 academic year and lifelong experiences.

He said, “the primary goal is to increase student achievement and learning in every category and to have progress.”

What must students do? The superintendent stressed the significance of listening and studying. Studying nightly for three hours, taking and reviewing notes would allow for good reading habits and venturing in the learning process. Additionally, he called for students to be respectful to adults and peers through social competency development.

In defining the parents’ role in the “Ultimate Partnership, Edwards said parents are to be positive role models by “disciplining with love, spending time reading to or with their children daily, boosting self-esteem by encouraging their children to succeed, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and being cognizant of their children’s developmental stages. “Parents should have high, yet realistic standards for their children by bonding with their children’s school and designating a quiet place for study in the home,” he said.

Media were informed that teachers ought to be dedicated. The superintendent expects them to create a safe, positive environment conducive to learning. With high expectations, they should respect themselves to earn respect from students. Also, open communication of positive reinforcement and encouragement with respect to race and economic backgrounds was high on the list.

To reap positive gains from the above, teachers are to have the following assets: quality education from first rate institutions of higher learning; safe and supportive environment which includes competent administrators and a safe physical environment; adequate resources for quality instruction; ongoing professional development; and adequate compensation (competitive salaries).

Neighbors and citizens are not exempt from Dr. Edwards’ concerns. He requested that they protect their neighborhoods by alerting authorities of any troubled unrest, including truant students. Visiting the school district’s website, supporting full funding of MAEP, holding school districts accountable for their actions, and going back to school to become teachers were also recommendations.

Dr. Edwards informed media that Faith based institutions could support JPS with children’s spiritual and moral development, a mentoring program, after school tutorials, scholarships, school partners, and honoring educators in their congregations.

Finally, how does Dr. Edwards view the business community as a team player for JPS? They can permit their employees to visit their children’s schools, reward parents of honor roll students, support school programs for students and teachers, provide opportunities for student apprentices, expose students to the concept of employment with after school/summer job opportunities, allow field trips to their businesses, adopt a school, and establish school beautification committees.

Dr. Edwards’ idea of community outreach does not exclude anyone. This village concept entails a broad spectrum for all stakeholders. “When everyone does [his/her] part, public education will flourish and thrive,” he said.

For further information contact JPS at or Peggy Hampton, JPS Media Relations at 601-960-8935.