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Forrest, Lamar superintendents say modified schedule works

Both Hampton and Freeman agree the most surprising benefit to come out of the intercession was the renewed perspective from the teachers.
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 6:11 PM CST
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Lamar and Forrest County School Districts finished the first half of their new modified school year. So far, they are the only districts in the Pine Belt under this schedule.

When you ask Forrest County Superintendent Brian Freeman and Lamar County School Superintendent Steven Hampton, “Are the modified school schedules working,” you will get a resounding “Yes.” Both said they have the surveys from parents and teachers to back it up.

“The surveys that came back from our staff was over 90 percent to stay with this schedule and not consider going back to a traditional schedule, and our parent’s surveys were just as positive, around 80 percent to continue with the current schedule that we have,” Freeman said.

An important part of the modified schedule is the two-week breaks in the fall and spring called intercessions. Freeman said the breaks allowed three options: Enjoy the time off, go to school for enhanced instruction and get some students back on track academically.

“Those students who need some extra time or want some extra time actually wind up getting 10 more days if they go to both sessions,” Freeman explained.

Lamar County Superintendent Steven Hampton said they’re starting to see the positive effects of their fall intercession.

“We did survey our students, too. Our students told us it was a good time for them to be able to have that one-on-one, that small group interaction with a teacher to be able to help,” Hampton said.

Both Hampton and Freeman agree the most surprising benefit to come out of the intercession was the renewed perspective from the teachers.

“The teachers came back rested and ready to go. It was just a fresh start,” Hampton added.

“A lot of our teachers were a lot more refreshed and ready to get started and excited,” Freeman said.

The superintendents said with that attitude, they are confident the last half of the modified school year will be even better.

Freeman said more than 700 students participated in the fall intercession, and Hampton said it varied day-to-day, but the district averaged more than 600 a day.

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