public education

Faces from The Cypher

Here are some of the people involved in The Cypher project, a first-time-ever-in Mississippi project featuring Hip-Hop artists raising awareness and money for increasing the arts in public schools. See my previous post for information on organizers and partners.

Jordan Red

Roderick Red Jr
Roderick Red Jr.

Jessica Simien
Jessica Simien

Mercedes Lott

Jared Moering
J. Skyy

Brandon Howard
Dolla Black

Donnie Sanders


Slimm Pusha
Slimm Pusha


Favorite from the Awards Ceremony

It seems our kids spend most of their May school days taking tests. When they’re not testing, they’re presenting final projects, papers, and performances. Today, I went to Murrah High School for the Sophomore Awards Ceremony. Here’s my favorite photograph from the event. The 10th grade guidance counselor, Mr. Sayles, had just asked the students to guess which of the high achievers in the bunch had the current highest average. Who’s No. 1? This is what they did.
who is No. 1
All fingers pointed to Matthew Sarpong. And then, Mr. Sayles refused to say.

I’ve been neglecting the blog lately — mainly because we’ve been working hard on the fractal project.

taking QAL

Here Richard is shooting Queen Anne’s Lace with help from our friend and collaborator, Julie Owen. She brought the Queen Anne’s Lace to us, having found it along the highway between Baton Rouge and here.
This is one of our favorites from the shoot.

Some very exciting things are happening right now with the fractal manuscript! Through hard work, perseverance, and just plain good luck, we are going to be able to include some amazing stuff! I love it when a book comes together!

Commission Sets Hearing for JPS to Make Case For Accreditation

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.