Marx to speak at Mayor's Panel on Early Childhood EducationBy HASKEL BURNS,
The City of Petal and its school district will be represented at Ole Miss next Tuesday, when Mayor Hal Marx speaks at a Mayor’s Panel on Early Childhood Education.
The panel, which is sponsored by the National League of Cities, will center on early childhood education initiatives in small Mississippi towns. Marx plans to discuss officials’ efforts to improve education in Petal, including the city’s support of the school district and the 3D (Dynamic Dyslexia Design) School.
“I’m glad to represent Petal in any way that I can,” Marx said. “We’re a very education-oriented community, and so I’m always happy to go talk about what we do here.”
Marx, who holds a Master of Education degree from William Carey University, said he looks forward to sharing with the panel the measures the city has taken to make Petal School District the best in the state. That includes Excel By 5 – a program that uses collaboration and research-based practices to prepare children aged 0-5 to enter school – and the Coleman Center for Families and Children.
“I’m hoping that we can just share what we do here, and answer whatever questions they might have,” Marx said. “And there may be some things mentioned that we don’t do here, that I might want to bring back and share with our school district or the appropriate officials.
“I’m really going there just to tell them what we’re doing here, because I think they want to hear from communities that are actually making a difference and being successful in their early childhood education programs. So obviously, Petal is the first Excel By 5 community in the state, so we’ve got a lot of recognition for that, so I’ll be glad to go share what we’re doing here.”
Marx is one of two Mississippi mayors speaking at the panel, along with Pelahatchie Mayor Ryshonda Beechem. The trip will cost $82 plus mileage.
“Obviously we have a strong emphasis on early childhood education in our community,” said Matt Dillon, superintendent of the Petal School District. “We have a good partnership with our city as well … so I think all of us collectively understand the importance of supporting and working with our youngest students, as they look forward to entering kindergarten in our school district.
“So I think this is a great honor for our mayor to go and represent us. It’s obviously a feather in our hat for all the work that we do around early childhood education in our district.”
Officials from the National League of Cities did not return calls for comment.
The National League of Cities works to help city leaders build better communities and represents more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.nlc.or or call (877) 827-2385.