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Brookhaven School District scores $12,500 grant to fund ACT Work Ready tests

The Brookhaven School District will create a fund to stash away a gift from the state for safekeeping — a $12,500 grant to be used to make this an ACT Work Ready community.

The board made the decision during Thursday’s meeting.

Brookhaven High School Principal David Martin said seniors will soon be taking the ACT Work Keys assessment at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. The high school will cover the cost for the assessment — about $40 a person — through the grant.

“We’ll take this group next week,” Martin said. “We did a pilot group last year of about 60. Our goal this year is 100.”

Through the Work Keys assessment, or test, ACT Work Ready communities document the skills of the local workforce in the areas of reading for information, applied math and locating information. ACT said those skills were required by 77 percent of jobs in its Job Pro database.

Students aren’t the only group tested. The test is divided among three separate groups: the current workforce, the transitioning workforce and the emerging workforce. Transitioning workforce includes those who are currently unemployed, in a GED or adult education program or who are transitioning back to the workforce from active-duty military. The emerging workforce includes high school juniors or seniors, college students and recent graduates.

Martin said Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven, was instrumental in helping secure the grant. The assessment is designed to show where individuals and the community stand in terms of workforce qualifications, and Currie said it’s currently highly sought after by industry.

“We have the ability to have our children graduate showing what areas of education or work they excel in,” Currie said. “I am proud to have helped get this in our area and I believe this will spread across the state.”

Martin said the initiative will bring jobs to Lincoln County as industries won’t have to hire firms to conduct costly research to see the quality of the local workforce.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the school and a great opportunity for the community,” he said.

In other business:

• The board approved a student transfer into BSD.

• The board voted to approve a list of personnel recommendations.

• The board voted to allow tennis fundraisers to sell jambalaya plates and T-shirts.

• The board voted to approve lab fees for each program of the Brookhaven Technical Center to begin the 2017-18 school year.

• The board approved the live work procedures for the automotive program and fees for work completed.

• The board approved for carpentry and automotive classes to sell Domino’s Pizza cards in a fundraiser.

• The board approved for band to sell bedding sheets in a fundraiser.

• The board approved an agreement with Performance Based Education for ACT Boot Camp/Training

• The board approved for Alexander Junior high Basketball to conduct raffles for gas and a purse and to sell chocolate and shirts.

• The board approved a transfer of funds from District Maintenance to Athletic Activity in the amount of $85,000, as included in the 2016-17 budget.

• BSD Superintendent Ray Carlock will conduct a bid opening regarding a hunting and fishing lease for 69 acres of 16th Section land.

• The board approved drafts for policies required by state and federal law, including conflict resolution, curriculum development, planning and adoption and the role of the board. The draft will be distributed throughout school campuses for input.

• Carlock presented to the board the accountability data released by the Mississippi Department of Education. The board entered into closed-door executive session to review data on individual students. No action was taken.