Education a focus for Alcorn commission

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – The Commission on the Future of Alcorn County will enter 2012 with continued focus on community progress, education issues, family focus and pre-kindergarten education.
“The commission has continued to meet and the subcommittees are developing individual responses to issues and topics that face our community,” said Dr. Lee Childress, Corinth School District superintendent and acting commission spokesman. Former commission chairwoman Lane Williams relocated out of state earlier this year.
During a communitywide meeting held in the spring, education experts made recommendations to help guide the commission’s efforts in ways they felt would make the biggest impact.
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tom Burnham told the assembled group of about 100 community stakeholders in April that one key would be to develop new models for schools, including options for students to exit high school early.
Corinth High School is one of only three schools selected to participate in Mississippi’s new pilot program that will allow high school students to graduate early, while upperclassmen may earn extensive college credit.
The early childhood education task force of the commission, led by Bobby Capps of Crosswind Ministries, promoted and supported “40 Days of Family Focus” from Oct. 9-Nov. 17 in dozens of Alcorn County congregations.
“We felt the faith community should lead the way, believing churches of Alcorn County coming together to emphasize the family would have a powerful impact,” said Pastor Kim Ratliff of St. Mark Baptist Church.
Each church addressed topics from the perspective of its own traditions, Ratliff said, and his church focused on the needs identified among their membership.
“I felt it was so important I event went beyond the 40 days for another week,” he said. “I was getting lots of feedback, most of it very positive, but some of it negative because we were addressing some touchy issues.”
The commission’s eight task forces continue working on issues and always seek additional community involvement, Childress said.
lena.mitchell@journalinc.com