We were given an invitation this week to attend the Magee High School P-16 meeting. The State Department of Education has mandated that schools at risk of failing on state accountability measures must implement a P-16 Committee.
One of the stated goals of the committee is to provide community support for and improve relations between the school and the local business community.
This year’s leadership is the same slate of officers that served last year.
Reverend Ralph Walker will serve as chairman. The vice president is Connie Hubbard, Stacy Chapin will serve as secretary, and Pam Parish will serve as assistant secretary.
The Magee High School P-16 is further along in their program than are other programs in the county. Part of the reason is continuing the same leadership.
I had worked with a previous county-wide P-16 committee a few years back. But it was decided that the program needed to be implemented at each individual school that was struggling academically. The county-wide initiative was difficult to manage because different schools were facing different issues.
In addition to the earlier mentioned goals, the Magee P-16 group works toward recognition of students and faculty for their individual achievement. Rev. Walker takes the challenge a bit further to help students meet the financial needs they may encounter in being able to attend school. This could be anything from providing a new coat to assisting with fees for student activities.
In addition to the community volunteers, school professionals are helping to make the P-16 experience more successful. Dr. Maron Lacey and guidance counselor April Williams participated in this recent week’s meeting.
The group voted in favor of having virtual meetings if necessary. They will typically meet the second Wednesday of each month.
Another project the Magee P-16 committee has done is to purchase belts for children who may not have one. They had committed to paying meal costs for students who otherwise could not afford to buy cafeteria meals, but thanks to government assistance and help from the school district there will be no charge for meals through the remainder of 2020.
Walker has also been instrumental in implementing a mentorship program within the schools that helps families who may not have the traditional family setting.
Walker and his committee have established a fund-raising committee to help offset some of the costs associated with helping the children. A letter soliciting funds will go out soon which will suggest various giving levels for businesses and individuals.
The committee also works directly with the school board and is to update the board monthly regarding their progress with the school. This is another step in trying to improve public education in the county.