School board pledge

From left, Maddox, Presley and Griffin Margeson led the DeSoto County School District Board of Education in the Pledge of Allegiance on Thursday, Feb. 7. Presley and Maddox attend Hernando Hills Elementary School and Griffin is at Oak Grove Central Elementary School, also in Hernando.  

DeSoto County Schools (DCS) board members have approved next year’s school calendar, with that approval being made during the board’s most recent meeting at Central Services in Hernando.

Under the calendar for the 2019-2020 school year, students can expect to be back in class on Wednesday, Aug. 7, five days after the teachers first report on Friday, Aug. 2.

Classes will not be in session for Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 2 and Columbus Day will be observed on Monday, Oct. 14. Monday, Nov. 5 is a Professional Development Day and the Thanksgiving week holiday will be Nov. 25-29.

The end of the first semester is Friday, Dec. 20 and schools will have Christmas vacation from Monday, Dec. 23-Wednesday, Jan. 1.

Teachers will return for Professional Development days on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 2-3 before students return to class on Monday, Jan. 6.

Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is Monday, Jan. 20 and Spring Break week is March 9-13; other dates when students will not be in class.

Considered tentative holidays because they are also tagged as Snow Days are President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 17 and Easter Monday on April 13.

The students’ last day in class is Thursday, May 21 and the teachers’ last day on the job for the school year is Friday, May 22, however one day is also tagged tentative.

May 22 is set as a possible Snow Day, along with May 26 and will be used if needed to make up for any lost classroom time.

When the 2019-2020 school year begins, some students at Hernando Elementary, Lewisburg Elementary, Lewisburg Primary and Oak Grove Central Elementary schools may be in new classrooms. The school board approved bids for classroom additions at the schools during their last board meeting.

Barnes and Brower Inc. won the bid award for the additional classrooms at Hernando Elementary and Oak Grove Central Elementary schools. TDL Contractors Inc. won the bid award for four new classrooms at Lewisburg Elementary and two additions to Lewisburg Primary schools.

“We start monitoring our growth in August at the beginning of the school year,” said Supt. Cory Uselton. “We try to project out to the following August to make sure we’re in good shape. We’re adding a total of 12 classrooms this year. The additions are due to the growth in those school zones and what we’re expecting their enrollment to be in the fall.”

Board members also voted for district officials to advertise for bids to flooring projects at Hope Sullivan Elementary School and Southaven Middle School, along with a lighting project at Center Hill Elementary School. Allen and Hoshall is providing the architectural services for those projects.

Many of the new teachers who will begin a career with DeSoto County Schools will likely be found during an upcoming Teacher Career Fair, set for the Central Services Office board room in Hernando. The date for the second annual event will be Tuesday, March 5 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Last year’s first-ever career fair resulted in the hiring of 102 teachers from a pool of about 300 people that attended. Teacher candidates have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their potential supervisors, present their resumes and ask and answer any questions that come up.

“For the applicants, they get to meet all of the principals from each of our schools in one location without having to go from building to building,” said Uselton. “At the same time, our principals are able to meet all these applicants at one time and have a brief conversation with them, get their resume and be able to put a face to the name. The possibility is there of being able to follow up and interview them at a later date.”

Uselton said at least 135 applicants have already expressed interest in being involved in this year’s opportunity. Social media, contacts with educational departments of various universities and other forms of advertising were used to promote last year’s career fair.

“There’s a teacher shortage statewide and we want to make sure that we’re being proactive here at DeSoto County Schools that we’re able to get the best and the brightest,” Uselton said.

With other states at times offering more salary in places to teachers, it is important that DeSoto County Schools continue to actively work to attract and keep top-quality instructors, Uselton pointed out.

“We want to have the very best teachers that we can in every classroom,” he said. “Every child in DeSoto County deserves to have the best education possible and it is our job to go out and make sure we get the best teachers we can for our district.”

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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