JDC students are back in class

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, August 10, 2022

JDC Superintendent Ike Haynes took time out of his schedule to update the community on the start of school and his goals for the school year.

Haynes has employed several new positions in the district to improve what he calls as areas of weakness from year one. Dr. Rena Hilton is serving as the Director of Instructional Technology

and Public Relations for the district. “I felt like our community engagement was not up to par and so we have shifted things around and have someone now who has the skill set to help us go to the next level with instructional technology, and also with public relations,” said Haynes. “We are a small district, but we fashion ourselves after the big districts. We want to offer the best educational experience we can regardless of the size.” In addition to Hilton, Haynes hired Dr. Debra Dace as Chief Academic Officer and a district Chief of Police, Anthony Sims.

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According to Haynes, test scores saw significant growth at elementary levels. “I am pleased at the trajectory at the elementary schools, but at the high school we are scrapping,” said Haynes. Scores are still in preliminary stages and is all he was able to discuss at this time. 

Haynes says the start of school went well last week. “We had a few hiccups which is always expected especially with Kindergarteners getting on the bus for the first time.”

After struggling with a school bus driver shortage last year, Haynes says the district is adequately staffed currently. “We are still in need and I will never turn down drivers.” Haynes urges anyone who has ability or CDLS who would like to have a few hours to add on to their retirement and have insurance to contact central office.

Haynes’  number one focus for the school year is  “Every Jag Reads.” “Across the board that will help us. That is my goal this year to put instruction in place for every Jag to be reading on grade level.”

Another focus for Haynes is for the students to do better on state assessments. “Now we will have kids that are reading on grade level and will be able to do better and score higher on state testing.” A third issue Haynes intends to address is looking at all the reasons students are missing school. Haynes feels those days missed contribute to kids not doing well on state testing or on grade level and shows that school is not a priority.

Haynes encourages parents to make sure the kids are reading, that they put the games down and that they are in school in dress code.  “We have proven that we can run 3A football. I want to prove that JDC can be an academic powerhouse too.”  Haynes believes in the students in the district and feels he will have fallen short as a leader if the district doesn’t rise to a B or higher.  “I don’t feel like I have any excuses for the district not to move.”

With the formation of the middle school, each campus is now going to have roughly 300 students and staff can target individual needs of students with these smaller campuses.

Haynes has also scheduled a series of community meetings to be held in each of the five county districts to engage the community provide district insights for the upcoming year.

After JDC received threats of gun violence last year, and confiscated a loaded 9mm at Jefferson Davis County High School, Haynes has recommended to the board the requirement of students using  clear or mesh backpacks for grades 6-12. He is currently working on federal funding for those items so no hardship will be created on families in the district.

“I think we are on the right course, and I think we have the right pieces in place. I think we just need to continue to have the Jaguar Way and be inspirational to others, continue to have high expectations for the kids and for everyone to be accountable to do their job.”