Recent efforts to improve performance of the Jackson Public School‘s department of special education are beginning to bear fruit, according to Ms. Ann Moore, Associate Superintendent for Special Education for the Mississippi Department of Education.
Moore told members of the Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation that JPS had initially been resistant to the state department‘s technical support teams. “They are working with us now,” she said.
Moore credited Dr. Jayne Sargent, the interim superintendent of JPS, for the turnaround, saying the previous superintendent’s administration had been uncooperative.
When Ms. H. Ann Jones, a commission member and retired educator, asked about whether Moore’s department had had a recent follow-up visit, Ms. Moore said she is expecting a new report from JPS today and her office will schedule a visit after reviewing the report.
The commission voted today to set an April 26 hearing for Jackson Public Schools to present a case for keeping its accreditation.
The district has been out of compliance with federal rules regarding special education since November 2010. JPS also remains out of compliance in two other areas: financial reporting and compulsory school attendance. (These issues date to September 2011; if not cleared within 12 months, a hearing process could be triggered.)
Mr. Blake Wilson, a commission member and president of the Mississippi Economic Council, asked the state department of education staff to make public on the internet the information that the commission was given, including a timeline of letters of noncompliance, correspondence with JPS, follow-up visits, etc. The attorney advising the commission responded that the staff would do that, if it was legal and promised to check.
No JPS official spoke at the meeting. The only issue before the commission was whether to set a hearing date.