Lamar County schools kick off a new year

Lamar County schools kick off a new year

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Lamar County schools kicked off a new school year Tuesday.

Frank Bunnell, Purvis Middle School principal, said the first day went well overall, even for the first-year middle schoolers.

"We have an amazing staff and they have done an excellent job welcoming our kids in, making sure everybody is where they need to be," Bunnell said. "A lot of confusion especially when you have sixth graders here for the first time, but it's gone extremely well."

Bunnell said they did have a few new students who seemed more nervous than excited to start school.

"We've had a few that we've had to coax out of the car," he said. "However, we've worked very hard on creating a positive atmosphere, just a positive place, a welcoming environment, and our teachers have made it go way more smoothly. With our custodians to our office staff, everyone's working together, and just putting out that positive vibes seems to  have solved a lot of our nervousness."

He also said new state testing requirements are causing faculty to retool their academic goals.

"Our state has contracted with a new testing company," Bunnell said. "You know, the fear of the unknown is real, but our teachers are going to face that challenge head on. We know what standards we're going to teach, but we don't know exactly how we're going to be assessed. It's stressful, but what we preach is that we're going to teach the kids at the highest level possible. Therefore, no matter what they test us on, our kids will be ready."

Bunnell said the Purvis Middle community is extremely supportive, and he is excited to have students back in the halls.

"Honestly, as a 15-year educator, this is year 16, I'm just excited the kids are back," he said. "I am ready for the school year to get going, and we're just ready for another awesome year."

Superintendent Tess Smith said elementary schools start Wednesday and all students will be back in class on Thursday.