Hattiesburg's Superintendent prepares for the start of school - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg's Superintendent prepares for the start of school

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - Superintendent James Bacchus addressed teachers of all grades Wednesday as he laid out the Hattiesburg School District's goals for the 2011-2012 school year. One of those is for the focus to solely be on the city's students.

Bacchus talked about the work that's needed to make sure students are proficient to advanced in key subject areas. He explained, "Out of all the research that you read about what affects learning the most, it always comes back to a great teacher."

Speaking of teachers, following the convocation, Hattiesburg High School teachers met as a group to prepare for the new academic year. For Scott Waldrop, the High School's Director of Forensics, Bacchus's message resonated with him.

"I am completely impressed with our new Superintendent. This idea of focusing on the child and providing teachers with all the resources they need for children to be successful, I think is the right message," said Waldrop.

Superintendent Bacchus also explained that a new initiative called, Cradle to Third Grade, will be launched this year to better prepare very young children ages two and three for kindergarten.

He said the effort is in response to students in kindergarten and pre-kindergarten being far behind when it comes to educational benchmarks.

To ensure students in third grade can read at their grade level, the program will reach out to Hattiesburg parents about the importance of reading.

According to Bacchus, "By the time a kid reaches kindergarten they should have 45-thousand words in their vocabulary. They should have heard that many different words. And if they don't have a print rich environment where people are reading and talking to them, they understand languages and things of that nature, then they are far behind."

Closing that gap is exactly what Cradle to Third Grade plans to accomplish by hosting parent academies.

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