During the board’s regular meeting Tuesday, Interim Superintendent David Meadows provided more information about a plan to establish “Councils of Excellence” at each of the district’s schools. Those councils would contain a wide variety of constituents, who would determine the council’s makeup and perhaps use an outside facilitator.
“The idea is to provide a vehicle that would be inclusive of all voices and identify the issues and challenges facing the new administration,” Meadows said. “As the process flows, they would be part of identifying possible solutions for these issues and establishing a priority for those issues.”
The first council would likely be established at Tupelo High School, perhaps as early as May, Meadows said.
Meadows first spoke about the councils at the school board’s last meeting on March 27. He said such councils would allow various stakeholders to discuss and resolve school-specific and district-specific issues. They would also help new Superintendent Gearl Loden gain perspective, Meadows said.
“Hopefully we will have a true grassroots effort to facilitate our school district,” he said.
The idea emerged from several meetings school board members held in groups of two with various community members earlier this year. Those meetings grew out of frustrations with the district’s termination of popular choral director Calvin Ellis and other grievances.
In addition to the new councils, board members said they still wanted to make themselves available for meetings with community members.
“We don’t want people to think this is the end of our communication because we are moving on to the next phase,” board member Amy Heyer said. “We want to keep that communication open.”
Heyer said the board should also have available avenues for those who want to email or call them to express their concerns.
Board member Rob Hudson said the process must be thorough and the board must avoid the temptation to take one issue, work on it and then move on to the next.