By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo and Lee County Schools returned to the classroom Friday after a two-week Christmas break.
For both districts, the spring semester will prove crucial in preparing students for state tests at the end of the year.
Lee County Superintendent JimmyWeeks said teachers returned to work Thursday and seemed focused.
Despite the large number of holidays in the spring semester, as compared to fall,Weeks said his staff will stay focused.
“Our ultimate goal for this semester is to meet our objectives on the state tests,” he said. “We’re ready to get back and get busy.”
In May, students from third to eighth grade will take the Mississippi CurriculumTest, which assesses student knowledge in math, language arts, and, for fifth and eighth grades, in science.
High-schoolers took state assessments in December, which covered Algebra I, Biology I, U.S. History, and English II. Students must pass these tests to receive a diploma.
Tupelo Superintendent Gearl Loden said students and teachers were excited to begin a new semester. Loden said he has his sights set on meeting the oncoming Common Core curriculum.
“We will continue our focus this semester on aligning our curriculum to the Common Core State Standards and to offer innovative, accessible professional development to meet the needs of our teachers,” he said.
The district also will continue to improve its safety plans to ensure each school has the proper resources at its disposal.
“As we have focused all year, we will stay steadfast on strengthening relationships with our students, parents, teachers and staff members as well as with the community to maximize student achievement,” he said.
Both districts will dismiss for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 21, President’s Day on Feb. 18, spring break from March 11 to 15, Good Friday on March 29, and Easter Monday on April 1. The last scheduled day of classes is May 22.
Tupelo High School graduation is May 17, with Lee County ceremonies May 18.