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Parent advisory committee coming together for HCSD

A new arm of communication that will help improve the Hazlehurst City School District has been working hard to get off to a good start. The Parent Advisory Committee, consisting of a broad cross-section of parents and community leaders in Hazlehurst, has been meeting since the first week of December.

Dispelling rumors and providing correct information to the stakeholders of the district is one of the purposes of the recently formed Parent Advisory Committee, according to district conservator Stanley Blackmon.

“One of the most inaccurate rumors is that the state is going to dissolve the Hazlehurst City School District and force the Copiah County Schools to take this district in. The truth is, only action by the Mississippi legislature can dissolve a school district. And we want our own district here,” Blackmon explained.

Other purposes of the PAC are to drum up support for the district, to identify problems within the district and to formulate solutions, to pull community leaders together and to get the entire community involved with improving learning in the district. Blackmon said the PAC is enlisting members of the business community, including the Hazlehurst Chamber of Commmerce, as well as the NAACP, the city board, the Ministerial Alliance, State Representative Gregory Holloway, State Senator Vincent Davis and others.

“We need input from every facet of the community,” Blackmon said.

Blackmon’s role in the committee’s structure is informational. He attends the meetings but does not conduct them.

Dr. Ollye Shirley, a long-time veteran of education and instruction, has been called on to facilitate the meetings. Shirley served 25 years as a regional administrator with Children’s Television Workshop in Mississippi. She also served 15 years on the Jackson Public Schools board of trustees – five as president. At one time, Shirley served as the Education Committee chairman with the statewide NAACP. In that role, she spoke at a local NAACP banquet years ago. Currently, she is preparing to start a special educational program through the Medical Mall in Jackson, while also lending her time to Hazlehurst City Schools.

So far, the meetings have been highly productive, with lots of progress made, Shirley said Monday.

“Right now the committee has been very helpful in generating leads for enlisting others in the community who are highly interested in the Hazlehurst schools,” she explained.

“I have been very pleased with the two meetings we’ve had so far. The members have been very cooperative and are working together very well,” Shirley said.

A third meeting is planned for this Saturday, January 3 at 11 a.m. in the high school’s library.

For more information about the Parent Advisory Committee contact the district’s main office at 601-894-1152.

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