South Forrest kindergarten earns top spot

By DAVID TISDALE,

Kindergarten students at South Forrest are No. 1 in the state for the last school year based on Mississippi K-3 Assessment Support testing, Forrest County School District Superintendent Brian Freeman reported at the district’s board of directors meeting August 12.

Freeman said South Forrest kindergarten students scored more than 330 points in the MKAS testing to take the top spot in the state, with Dixie coming in eighth.

Implementing a curriculum-driven approach, meeting individual learning needs, and teachers working more closely with parents to involve them in their child’s academic growth (including encouraging more reading at home) are some of the keys to the schools’ successes that Freeman cited.

“We’re real excited about these developments,” Freeman said of the ratings. “We have a really dynamic faculty at South Forrest and Dixie, who are driven to make their schools the best, and for the students to reach their potential.”

Freeman said the addition of Pre-K classes at South Forrest and Rawls Springs are part of the district’s plans to improve student performance in this area and will add others as funding becomes available. 

*Empower, a solar energy company based in Alabama, will make a presentation at the Forrest County School District Board of Directors next meeting on Sept. 9 to make a pitch for establishing solar farms at five of the schools in the district.

Freeman said the company’s proposal includes potential energy cost savings for the district from $125,000 - $150,000 annually. The only school not included in the Empower plan would be Rawls Springs Attendance Center, due to a lack of space for a solar farm. Any energy needs not met by Empower would be provided by the existing provider.

The district received a grant earlier this year of approximately $200,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to install solar panels on the fine arts building at North Forrest High School.    

“They (Empower) would lease the land from us, pay the property taxes on the land they use for the solar farms, and lower our energy costs, as outlined in the proposal, so it would be a win-win-win for us,” Freeman said.