When Bolivar County was added to our Priority 1 list, I began preparing myself for the challenge of creating an advocacy strategy that would cover each of the county’s six public school districts.  The task ended up being much easier than I expected.  Each month, the superintendents meet in order to discuss common issues and share ideas.  I was able to attend this meeting this morning at the Cleveland School District central office (the superintendents take turns hosting) to talk about the CHART policy.  The following superintendents were present at the meeting.

Dr. Jacqueline Thigpen, Cleveland School District

Mr. William Crockett, Mound Bayou School District

Rev. Jessie King, North Bolivar School District (Shelby, MS) – CHART has already been presented to the NBSD Board

Mr. Henry Phillips, West Bolivar School District (Rosedale, MS)

I was able to share teen health data for the county, including the fact that teen births cost Bolivar County taxpayers almost $2.5 million dollars in 2009.  Most of the questions focused on teacher training and the curriculum options.  I informed them that teacher training would be provided at no cost by the Mississippi State Department of Health for each of the CHART districts.  The curriculum questions were more difficult to answer, since we’re still waiting for MDE to release the list of approved curricula from the most recent round of reviews.  Nevertheless, the superintendents were very supportive of the policy, and the CHART policy will be introduced at each of their school board meetings next month.

More updates will be coming soon. If you’re interested in taking part in CHART advocacy, please e-mail me at sanford@mississippifirst.org.

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