by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher – editor@thegazebogazette.com

Despite the global pandemic (COVID-19) setback for the last few years, the Harrison County School District remains near the top in most education categories.  At the recent school board on trustees meeting on June 6, 2022 in Gulfport, the Harrison County School District Curriculum Director Dorene Hansen announced that according to recent Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) statistics, the county schools placed ninth in 3rd Grade Literacy Based Promotion Act.

Passed during the 2013 legislative session, the Literacy-Based Promotion Act (LBPA) places an emphasis on grade-level reading skills, particularly as students’ progress through grades K-3. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, a student scoring at the lowest achievement level in reading on the established state-wide assessment for 3rd grade will not be promoted to 4th grade unless the student qualifies for a good cause exemption.

The LBPA was amended in 2016 and includes changes such as an Individual Reading Plan (IRP) and increased expectations for 3rd grade students beginning in 2018-2019.

Hansen said the first reading test scores amounted to 88.1% of the 9300 third grade students passed with proficiency to be promoted while after 40 passed on the second reading test scores.  Those that have not passed will receive four intense reviews before the June 21, second retest.

When asked about transportation by school board member Dr. Barbara Thomas, Harrison County School District Superintendent Mitch King said “We’ve done everything possible.”

After hearing that transportation was not provided, Dr. Thomas expressed “We need to make every effort.”

Before Hansen’s report; Marty Hardy, the architect of Harrison County School District gave an update on the construction of the new Creekbend Elementary & Middle School and the finishing touch on West Harrison Middle School.

According to Hardy, four out of five items were outstanding, the humidity issues with the HVAC system have been handled and the cafeteria irrigation will be taken care of by the end of June.

Conclusively; on consent agenda items, the board approved three lease or sublease agreements for three businesses and one residential property.  The family on the residential land have had the land for over 100 years.

Finally, the school board of trustees authorized payment in the amount of $18,000 to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office for professional security services at the past athletic events for West Harrison High & Middle, West Wortham, North Gulfport and Harrison Central High School.  With this, a payment of $194, 415.13 was sent to the Harrison County Board of Supervisors for reimbursement of School Resource Officers (SRO) provided during the 2021-22 school year.