By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A newly forming committee will aim to foster strong dialogue between Tupelo High School and the community.
Applications are currently being accepted for the Tupelo Public School District’s first Council of Excellence at Tupelo High School.
The 14- to 16-person council will meet at least four times each year to discuss issues and concerns involving the school. Membership will cover a broad range of groups: Tupelo High School students, parents, teachers, administrators and non-certified employees, a Tupelo Middle School parent and representatives from higher education, city government, the district’s administration, the community at-large and the faith-based community.
The idea for the council began under then-Interim Superintendent David Meadows and has been embraced by new Superintendent Gearl Loden. It will not have any decision-making authority in regard to school governance or finance.
Rather, the idea is that council members from diverse backgrounds will be able to present, research and discuss various concerns or ideas of different stakeholder groups. The group will gather information, as needed, on ways the community can support the school and its students and will serve in an advisory capacity to THS and district administration.
The group will be facilitated by Nita Rudy, program director for Parents for Public Schools’ national office in Jackson. Rudy will bring an outside unencumbered presence.
“This is an attempt to open up to the community in a very positive way, sharing concerns and actually asking for feedback,” Rudy said. “That takes a lot of courage and trust that the process will work.”
Applications are available at the TPSD Central Office, as well as at www.tupeloschools.com. They must be submitted to the TPSD Central Office or mailed to Rudy by Oct. 19.
Council members will be chosen by a committee of three members of the national staff of Parents for Public Schools. They will serve staggered one- and two-year terms.
“We want good demographic representation of the entire community so we get good opinions from all kinds of different folks,” Rudy said.
The Tupelo High School principal will serve as chairman of the council. Minutes of council meetings will be posted on the school district’s website.
The names and contact information of council members also will be on the district website so they are easily accessible to the community.
This council will serve as a pilot program. The district may eventually add such groups for its other schools.