Last Sunday, August 25th, the Savannah Branch NAACP Education Committee led by Betty Ellington hosted its Mass Meeting at Tremont Temple Missionary Baptist Church located at 1110 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Guest speaker Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett delivered a remarkable overview of the changes we now see in our public school system. Highlighting a few initiatives, Dr. Levett proudly spoke about the change over at East Broad Street Elementary, now Henderson Formey, Jr. School which houses over 500 little people beginning at age 3. She expressed the importance of reaching children from ages 0-8 as these are their most formative years.
Dr. Levett continued, “when I returned to Savannah in 2013, there were 14 schools on a struggling list, that number is down to 6 and progress is being made with those six”.
More successful news is that there are more students taking advantage of dual enrollment. As of last year there were 878 students enrolled in high school and taking college courses. “We save parents $4 million dollars in college tuition and dual enrollment is offered at every high school,” said Levett.
The high school graduation rate this year was at 86.6% which is the highest in recent years. Dr. Levett expects that number to increase in 2020. She reminded the audience that these rates are calculated by the state, but SCCPSS keep a check on the numbers.
SCCPSS continue their outreach across the city as they have begun work with Savannah Technical College and Gulfstream to prepare students to graduate with 3 credentials which will allow them to not only work at Gulfstream but any other aircraft facility in the country.
Partnership continues with St. Joseph/Candler as many students are enrolling in the healthcare field. There is also a partnership with Curtis V. Cooper who provides medical, dental and behavioral services to students right on their school campus with the use of their mobile vans.
Dr. Levett was excited to announce Gadsden Elementary School has been named a National Green Ribbon School. They are 1 out of 46 in the nation and 1 of 4 in Georgia. The students are taught how to take care of their bodies, the earth and are learning gardening. They are resident experts about how to live green in society.
Operation Beacon is a volunteer program developed with the school system which allows parents and family members to provide volunteer services at any of our schools. The original program began with 3000 volunteers, last year over 13,000 participated in the program. Dr. Levett would like to have that number increased to around 20,000 for the 2019-2020 school year.
Dr. Levett was proud to announce that through E-SPLOST, for the very first time SCCPSS will be the owners of their own stadium with 3 others already planned.
Mrs. Vanessa Miller Kaigler, Deputy Superintendent, Chief Operations Officer presented information concerning the building and renovation of schools in the district. She expressed the importance of MWBE involvement and the opportunities that exist in the construction field, including electrical, HVAC, demolition and more.
Overall, the NAACP Mass Meeting attendees took home a wealth of information as a part of the State of the Schools presentation.