SOCSD Board tours Sudduth pre-K facilities

Superintendent Eddie Peasant examines a mobile in one of two pre-K classrooms at Sudduth Elementary. The SOCSD Board of Trustees toured the Pre-K facilities along with other district officials before its meeting tuesday. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)

Staff Writer

The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees got to see firsthand the impact of one of the district’s newest programs for its littlest students.

Prior to its meeting at Sudduth Elementary Tuesday evening, the board toured the school’s two new pre-K classrooms. The classrooms accommodate 40 four-year-oldstudents for a year prior to entering kindergarten. An additional 20-student pre-K classroom is located at West ElementarySchool in Sturgis. The district’s first pre-K students started in August of this year after months of planning and preparation by the district. On the tour, board members and other district officials had the opportunity to see the facilities up close and visit with Sudduth’s two pre-K teachers.

“I’m very excited as far as what I see as far as, you know, bringing education opportunities to pre-K aged kids, and I think it’s been a long time coming, maybe even somewhat overdue, and we’re just looking forward to seeing how much more we can offer in times to come,” said SOCSD Board President Lee Brand.

Brand expressed hopes of seeing the pre-K program grow over time. Currently, There are 190 applicants for 40 slots.

“Being able to see that environment set up for those smaller kids to be able to go in to learn, you know, age-appropriate desks, play areas, or just a complete learning environment set up for them,” Brand said. “I absolutely want to see this expanded in the future.”

Superintendent Eddie Peasant emphasized the proven effect of pre-K programs on kindergarten readiness. He also said the district hoped to grow the pre-K program over time.

“We’re excited about the teachers in those classrooms,” Peasant said. “We’re excited about the work that they’re doing. A lot of those students would not have the opportunity to be in a learning environment at this age, so we’re excited to have them in there. We have great teachers in those classrooms, and we’re looking forward, looking for opportunities that we have.”

Peasant said both the teachers and pre-K students were doing an “outstanding” job.

“They’re surpassing my expectations,” Peasant said.

In the meeting, Peasant said the district’s first delayed start day Tuesday was a success. The time before students come in on the delayed start 60 percent days is used for professional development for teachers. The next delayed start day is scheduled for Oct. 8.

“In all other professions, people do training during their work hours, yet teachers are expected to do it after hours,” Peasant said.

Peasant also announced the retirement of one of the district’s longtime leaders. At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, Sudduth Principal Elizabeth Mosley will retire after three decades in education.

The board also approved the district’s professional development and mentoring plans for the 2018-2019 school year. Additionally the board approved a proposal for a Nearpod District License with Nearpod, allowing the district access to the Nearpod Lesson Library, a collection of computer-based lessons across several subjects for the district’s secondary schools. The initial total will be $9,999, with a renewal cost across all schools for $21,840. All votes were 4-0, with board member Keith Coble absent.