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Schools work to get students involved

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
Oct. 2, 2003
One Carver Middle School teacher said she thinks it may be too late to change the mind-set of students who believe they don't have to study or do homework.
Carver, along with Kate Griffin Junior High and Crestwood Elementary schools, has eliminated physical education and electives for students who performed poorly on a statewide standardized test.
Carver Middle School was one of two Meridian schools recently given a Level 1, or "low-performing," accreditation by the Mississippi Department of Education. The previous year, six Meridian schools were rated Level 1.
Carter said she believes students don't fully understand what an accreditation level is but they know that receiving a Level 1 is not good.
Another teacher at Carver said he thinks more parental involvement is the key to student success.
Vaughn said the school should create programs to get parents involved. Vaughn added that he is happy with the way the community supports the school.
Students speak
While one Carver Middle School student said she didn't mind extra work, another said he would rather be in PE.
Seventh-graders Kimberly Berly and Derrick Smith scored in the "basic" or "minimal" categories on the Mississippi Curriculum Test which gauges student's reading, language and math abilities.
Because they are not performing at their grade level, they are required to have one period of one-on-one tutorials on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
When asked how she feels about missing PE, Berly said, "I feel OK because I don't want to go to PE anyway."
Smith disagreed: "I like to go to PE. But I don't like class work all that much." Smith also said that he believes the extra tutorials are helping him.
Berly and Smith are among 270 of Carver's 560 students who scored below grade level on the MCT and who are required to have one-on-one tutorials.
Carver currently has five tutors, two are paid for by the district and the rest are paid for by AmeriCorps. The students began their tutoring sessions Monday.
The principal speaks
Earnest Ward, the first-year principal of Carver, said he believes his school has the resources it needs to improve its accreditation level.
Ward said he is aware that some students are not happy about missing PE. But, he said, they don't have a choice.
Ward's other ideas for improving the school include meeting one-on-one with all students, minimizing the amount of interruption in classrooms, concentrating on writing and motivating the students.