Sparse turnout for 6th Alignment Jackson meeting - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Sparse turnout for 6th Alignment Jackson meeting

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

By C. J. Lemaster

Will better parental involvement and support from the city help Jackson students better perform and grow for the future? Education leaders seem to think so. Whether enough parents get involved is another story.

Thursday night's meeting is the sixth so far for Alignment Jackson, and although a little more than 40 people came out to hear about these changes for students in the coming months, educators are still hopeful this effort will reach enough parents, and eventually reach Jackson's estimated 30,000 students.

"This is really borne out of the need for our children to be successful, our graduates to be productive, and our city to grow and continue to be vibrant," said Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Cedrick Gray.

That's why Gray says JPS is behind a new push they hope makes a difference in student scores and motivation. The numbers are intimidating, though.

"We can no longer accept the fact that 40 percent of our kids in JPS don't graduate from high school," United Way of the Capital Area President and CEO Carol Burger said.

Leaders involved in this effort say they're confident they can turn that around, and they're getting the word out in meetings like the one held at Bailey APAC Middle School Thursday night.

Despite the low turnout, administrators said they're thankful for those who did attend.

"When parents show up and they want to ask questions and they wanna be involved and they wanna connect, it's the ultimate parental involvement," said Gray.

"We have parents involved in helping us to design this work, we welcome parents at any of these sort of sessions, we welcome parents to call us if they have questions," added Burger. "Call us if they want to get involved, but these are their children also."

Burger is no stranger to giving back, having worked with the United Way for a number of years. However, this is something Burger says everybody needs to rally toward, even though some may seek out charter schools next year.

"When you look at a charter school, you're looking at a limited amount of kids," said Burger. "Say for instance, and I'm using these numbers loosely, say a charter school comes in and they affect 300 kids. We still have 29,700 kids whose lives we gotta change, too."

Gray said they've already had five meetings with parents and they have a governing board in place. The rest, he says, will take time.

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