Haynes releases 100 day comprehensive report
Published 12:58 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Jefferson Davis County Superintendent Ike Haynes has released his First 100 Days comprehensive report. In it, he outlines key insights and provides a new strategic plan including priorities.
During Haynes’ first 30 days in the district, he worked with the board, executive staff and school leaders to identify necessities for school reconfiguration, ensure that COVID-19 protocols were in place and build excitement and momentum for the JaguarWay.
“While in the first 30 days, I developed a strong, collaborative relationship with the Board of Trustees, and we worked to re-establish relationships in the community,” said Haynes.
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Haynes wanted to ensure an effective, efficient and orderly transition of leadership that maintained a keen focus on increased student achievement.
During the 60 days that followed, Haynes conducted a comprehensive review of the district and each school’s M.A.A.P data, instructional practices, safety protocols, facility conditions and accreditation standard compliance. “I met with as many stakeholders as possible, including members of my executive team, school principals and their school leadership team, each school’s faculty and staff, custodians, food and nutrition staff, bus drivers, as well as representatives from the transportation and maintenance department.”
Haynes was eager to know what the district was doing well, what the district needed to stop doing and what the district needed to start doing to improve.
Haynes feels that strengths in the district are:
- Qualified teachers, caring parents and a supportive community.
- A “C” rated district.
- A satisfactory bus fleet.
- Facility renovations in process.
- Veterans in leadership positions in Central Office.
- The district’s athletic program is superior, well equipped and respected.
- The district has the AIRS and Save the Children Grant to support early childhood literacy.
Along with the district’s strengths, Haynes gathered three key insights during his 90-day review. The first, is that the district has all the necessary resources in the community to meet the students’ needs. “The Jefferson Davis County community is fully committed to the success of our students and school district. We work collaboratively with the Mississippi Department of Education, local elected officials, businesses and civic leaders to maintain our student safety, physical facilities, school performance and district initiatives.”
The second insight is that Haynes feels “We are a frustrated organization.”
According to Haynes, employees on multiple levels are concerned about their earnings, especially, when compared to neighboring districts. Additionally, they do not always feel respected by members of the leadership team, and the leadership hierarchy of the district was complicated by having no clear person in charge.
“The adoption of Schoology Learning Management System has created a tremendous amount of stress on staff. Despite the district’s investment, teachers reject this system in favor of Google Classroom, Canvas and other previously used platforms. The poor rollout and lack of implementation support have left educators frustrated,” added Haynes.
Haynes feels the district’s performance is hindered by a lack of strategic focus, which is the third insight. “To become an A-rated district, we must have a keen focus on our goals and priorities. The absence of a clear strategic plan inhibits our ability to guide meaningful work at all levels.”
Because of these insights, Haynes has narrowed the district’s focus to five key areas. “These areas will be an integral part to our ability to improve student outcomes at every level.”
Develop a strategic plan.
Over the next months, the district will develop a strategic plan with targeted dates for implementation. “We have everything we need to get the job done, and a strategic plan serve as a roadmap to success, drive us to higher levels of performance, remove procrastination and help employees understand their expectations.”
Improve academic performance.
Haynes believes the district has underperformed given the caliber of students and teachers in the district and the substantial degree of actively involved parents. “It appears that our athletic success has blinded our focus on academic growth,” said Haynes. “We must be winners in the classroom, on the field and on the court.”
Each student in the district, regardless of ability, will be given an individualized plan called the Jag Success Blueprint to assist with learning loss recovery efforts. “Devastatingly, our district has not had a STAR student in several years, so we are focusing on improving ACT scores for high school and middle school students.”
In the absence of a ninth-grade academy, Haynes feels the initiation of a middle school is greatly needed to effectively transition students from elementary school to high school. “I am recommending that all students in the district grades 6-8 attend one school.” Currently both J. E. Johnson and G. W. Carver have 6-8 grade students.
Expand district safety and security.
“Given the events which recently transpired, I have ascertained there are many gaps in our district’s safety and security plans,” said Haynes. Haynes feels there is no real accountability in place because there are no law enforcement personnel employed by the district.
“On-site campus police will help improve school climate, support alcohol and drug awareness, and ensure that there is sufficient coverage at all extracurricular activities.”
In-district law enforcement would partner with the CTE Law Enforcement Program to enhance student leadership in monitoring and reporting activities that are not aligned to the JaguarWay core values.
Augment district operations.
Identifying a new location for the district’s central office, so that members of the executive staff can be in one location, Haynes feels is essential to the smooth operation of the district. Moreover, space in the central office and schools can be maximized by digitizing all paper records and documentation.
Like many districts, the transportation department is facing a severe driver shortage. To combat this challenge, Haynes suggests solutions such as offering retirement benefits and increasing hourly pay for bus drivers. In addition, the district will need to secure several new buses and use routing software to refine routes, eliminate redundancy and reduce students’ travel time.
Improve employee efficacy and stakeholder satisfaction
“In my experience, one major key to the district’s success is having a highly trained workforce that is coupled with a tightly aligned, robust professional development plan and employee evaluation system.” Haynes considers offering new employee orientation and improving new teacher orientation as ways to promote success. Using technology to provide instant feedback will become the district’s hallmark for rapid improvement. “I feel increasing the district supplement from $700 to at least $1,000 per teacher will help with teacher retention.”
Haynes feels it is fundamental that all parents, students and staff feel valued and respected. “How we talk to and treat parents, students and each other is key to district pride and retaining high quality teachers and support staff.” Haynes also challenges educators and employees to always practice appropriate social media etiquette.
“The most significant moments I have had during my first 90 days are the times spent with students. Our students display a curiosity about the world around them, a passion for improving their community, and a genuine desire to do well in life. If we create a supportive environment, students will reach their own personal apex and they will rise to any expectations that we place on them. Remember, good won’t do when better is possible.”