Petal school officials discuss summer offeringsBy HASKEL BURNS,
During Tuesday night’s meeting of the Petal School District Board of Directors, officials from three educational facilities discussed summer offerings for students and children.
Petal Primary School
Officials from Petal Primary School are continuing for the fourth year the school’s Panther Prep program, a three-week course designed to help children make the transition to kindergarten. The program, which is aimed at children who have never been to Pre-K or are one year’s worth of vocabulary behind their peers, received a three-year grant in 2015 from the Mississippi Department of Education.
“One of the things that we want to make sure that everyone in the community knows, is that we’re not just looking for kids who have a low (kindergarten readiness assessment) score,” principal Tessa Trimm said. “We’re also looking for kids that maybe have been at home with mom or grandma their whole lives, and they haven’t been a part of a campus as large as ours.
“So what we found was that if we good a good mixture of kiddos who are a little bit behind on their academic skills, along with some kids who are advanced in their academic skills but just don’t have a lot of social skills … we make the hugeness of Petal Primary School very, very small.”
Trimm said Panther Prep has been a huge success over the last three years, with kids improving an average of 50 points on the kindergarten readiness assessment over the course of the program’s 15 days.
“If you think about it, that’s a half a year on that assessment,” she said. “So we’re super excited to start this year.
“We were able to utilize some of the Pre-K Collaborative tax dollars, since these students are still considered pre-schoolers. We had 92 students invited (to the program), and we had 88 kids at Petal Primary (Monday) and 88 again (Tuesday). So our attendance is really good.”
Petal Elementary School
Students at the elementary school had a 99.7 percent passing rate in the state’s administration of the third grade reading test. Per terms of the state’s Literacy-Based Promotion Act, students must score above the lowest level on the test to be promoted to fourth grade.
Principal Wyn Mims attributed the school’s high passing rate to help from officials from the Coleman Center for Families and Children, Petal Primary School and the Excel by 5 program.
“We’ve always said that what Petal Primary School does is extremely important – without that strong foundation, Petal Elementary students would not be as successful,” she said. “We’ve consistently seen an improvement in students that are coming to Petal Elementary over the past few years, and we’re excited to see that.”
In addition, the elementary school is offering an extended school year for students in special education.
Coleman Center for Families and Children
The center is offering a full slate of activities for children and adults during the summer months, including movies, story time and educational seminars.
Story Time With Mrs. Judi will be held at 10 a.m. June 15 and 22 at the center, featuring “The Dot” and “Jamberry.”
A second Lego tournament, which is designed for children ages 5 through 12, will be held at 10 a.m. July 9 at a cost of $1. Parents are asked not to bring Legos from home.
Explorations, which is aimed at children in first through fourth grades, will be held from 8:30-11 a.m. every Wednesday in June. This year’s theme for Explorations is “Celebrations Around the World.”
Movie Monday will be held at 1 p.m. July 16 with the film “Inside Out.” Popcorn is provided for the free event, and all ages are welcome to bring a pillow or blanket.
Puppet Factory, which is open to all ages, will be held from 1-3 p.m. June 18 and July 30.
The center’s Backyard Bus, which provides activities inside and outside the bus for children ages 2-8, also will be in rotation during the summer. The bus will be available at the following times and locations:
• June 19: 10 a.m. at Boulder Drive; 11 a.m. at Emma Hill Park
• June 21 and 28: 9 a.m. at Hinton Park; 11 a.m. at Emma Hill Park
• July 3 and 17: 10 a.m. at Boulder Drive; 11 a.m. at Emma Hill Park
• July 5, 12, 19 and 26: 9 a.m. at Hinton Park; 11 a.m. at Ruger Road
• July 10 and 24: 10 a.m. at Pecan Lakes; 11 a.m. at Emma Hill Park
Children will be offered a free book and a popsicle at the early-morning stops, along with a bagged lunch at the 11 a.m. stops.
The center also will hold three Lunch & Learn sessions for adults only, from noon-1 p.m. July 17, 24 and 31.