Couey: School year sees very few problems

Few problems have been experienced within the Starkville School District in the new school year, Supt. Judy Couey reported Tuesday.
Couey delivered a report on the beginning of the new school year to the SSD Board of Trustees after board member Keith Coble had requested the information. Couey’s report included a variety of topics ranging from enrollment to carpool.
Couey said that the district ended the 2009-2010 school year with 4,058 students. The 2010-2011 school year started with an enrollment on 4,069 students and has already increased to 4,105 students. The biggest increase was seen in the 10th grade population at Starkville High School, Couey said.
Fifteen students have withdrawn from the district for various reason, which is .3 percent of the student body population, Couey said.
“One of the most important differences this year, funded through grants, was to increase teachers’ ability to get data on their students instantly through Easy Test Tracker,” Couey said. “We’re putting a lot of technology into the hands of the teachers and administration.”
Couey reported that principal meetings are now conducted weekly as apposed to the monthly meetings they held previously, and now Couey and other administrators are meeting with assistant principals as well, which was not the case previously.
“Principals reported a calm and successful start to the school year,” she said. “Aside from carpool, very litte problems were reported,” she added.
District administrators have already worked to address the carpool and bus congestion at Henderson Ward Stewart, and Assistant Supt. Walter Gonsoulin reported a noted improvement to congestion on The Hill, and members from the audience made audible confirmation.
Couey added that a complete assessment of safety and athletics have been completed by Mississippi State University and results will be discussed at the next board meeting.
Parent Sarah Coleman addressed the board after Couey’s report to give a “parent’s perspective,” of the start of school, she said.
In her address, she talked about “miscommunication” and “misinformation” that parents she talks with are experiencing. She stated that those issues have resulted in several families removing themselves from the district due to the “loss of faith and trust in the administration,” she said.
“If we continue in our current path... our schools will flounder,” she concluded.
Board President Bill Weeks was the only member to comment. He asked Coleman if she had ever talked with Couey. Coleman replied that in the past she had sent e-mail messages to Couey.
Weeks suggested to Coleman that she arrange for a face-to-face meeting with Couey “to gain some perspective” of the superintendent’s position.

Editor’s note: Due to space constraints, other actions of the school board will be reported in Thursday’s edition of the Starkville Daily News.