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Alcorn rep brings new national certification program option to school board

World Class Teacher Academy Program Coordinator Gail Lewis approached the Lincoln County School Board at Monday’s meeting to discuss a program to encourage teachers to become national board certified.

Mississippi offers national board certified teachers an additional $6,000 to their salaries, according to Lewis, and she said the current data suggests that it is effective in improving the quality of educators.

“Looking at the map where there are clusters of teachers, you can see gaps in Southwest Mississippi where there are so few national board certified teachers,” she said.

The WCTA is a support program where national board certified teachers mentor groups of certification candidates around the state. The program typically takes between two and three years and costs $1,900 total, divided up into four separate components.

The state reimburses the teachers at the conclusion of each component, an improvement over when the state only reimbursed at the conclusion of the program. But Lewis requested that the board implement a deal to pay for the program for teachers, in which case the state would reimburse the district.

“We know our teachers are not paid the best here, and many of our teachers are single parents trying to raise a family on one income,” she said. “It becomes a little bit of an issue for people to come up with close to $500 to begin the process.”

Travel times could also be a barrier to entry, and Lincoln County School Superintendent Mickey Myers suggested it would be advantageous to have a group locally.

Lewis said there would only need to be two or three candidates to start such a group, but it relied on finding a national board certified teacher to mentor them. The teachers are paid based on the group’s size.

Financial Director Sam Stewart said he would need to look into whether or not it was legal for the district to pay for the program. The board did not take any action regarding the presentation during the meeting.

In other business:

• The board approved a request by Bogue Chitto Principal Jay Rayborn for permission for Chad Norton to attend the Mississippi Athletic Administrators Conference in Biloxi on Jan. 11-12.

• The board approved a request from West Lincoln Principal John Snows to attend the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling training in Gulfport.

•The board approved a request from Stewart for approval to purchase a computer and software for background checks of potential employees.

• The board approved a request from Stewart to refund a 16-section lease overpayment.

• The board approved a request from Loyd Star Principal Robin Case for approval of a request from the Diamond Club for improvements at the baseball facility.

• The board approved revised policies for Fair Labor Standards, Classified Personnel Hours and Duties, Classified Personell and Transfer, Classified/At-Will Employee Separation and Classified Staff Qualifications and Requirements.

• The board approved a request from Carol Moak to assign the three-acre residential lease on 16-6-9 to her.

• The board went into executive session to hear from Nick Thompson and Lance Ransom of the Tax Assessors office about a right-of-way dispute. The board voted to have Myers seek the opinion of the board attorney.