LMSD partners with Winston Plywood

From press & staff reports

The Louisville Municipal School District Board of Trustees discussed an opportunity to partner with Winston Plywood and Veneer to offer students of the district a transformative learning experience during its June 14 meeting held at the LMSD Boardroom.

The Board of Trustees met with David Morel, Vice President HR/Community Resources for Winston Plywood & Veneer, to discuss the district’s current partnership with the plant in its participation with the non-profit organization Project Lead The Way.

Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. Through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate. The organization is shaping the innovators, creators, and designers of today and tomorrow.

Project Lead The Way provides a comprehensive approach to STEM Education. Through activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum, PLTW gives students in kindergarten through high school a chance to apply what they know, identify problems, find unique solutions, and lead their own learning. For educators, our engaging, rigorous teacher professional development model provides tools to empower students and transform the classroom into a collaboration space where content comes to life.

The organization offers five programs that are offered based on the students’ grade level. Those programs are: PLWT Launch (K-5th grade), PLWT Gateway (middle school), PLWT Engineering (high school), PLWT Engineering (high school), and PLWT Biomedical Science (high school).

Through PLTW professional development, teachers learn how to lead the engaging PLTW experience in their classrooms, taking on the role of facilitator and coach as their students soar to new heights.

PLTW’s success in empowering students with in-demand knowledge and transportable skills has been recognized by colleges and universities, Fortune 500 businesses, and numerous national organizations including Change the Equation, the Social Impact Exchange, and more.

Historically, science and math have been taught in isolation. The project-based aspects of the Project Lead The Way curriculum give students a chance to apply what they know, identify a problem, find unique solutions, and lead their own learning, rather than be passive recipients of information in a question-and-answer, right-or-wrong learning environment. When students understand how their education is relevant to their lives and future careers, they get excited, and that is why PLTW students are successful.

Morel began by updating the trustees on the Winston Plywood project. He stated that the estimated date for completion of the building to be June 30, with the hope of having production at the plant following soon after.

Morel said that the plant has 70 employees currently, with the plant aiming to have hired 277 employees by the end of the calendar year. “We are really pleased with the local talent that has applied for jobs,” Morel told the trustees.

Morel continued discussing the recent training orientation session during the week of June 6-10. He also expressed the interest they have received from residents in the community that commute to work everyday about coming back home to work in Winston County.

Following the update, Morel began to discuss the incorporation of PLWT into schools within the district. Morel had recently met with principals of schools within the district to discuss Winston Plywood and Veneer providing financial support to incorporate the PLWT curriculum into the school district. The plant has provided the school district with a $35,000 grant over three years to assist with training teachers of the PLWT curriculum over the summer months. Training for the teachers will take place at the Mississippi State University campus in Starkville. The training will be two weeks.

“It is a way to transform peoples’ lives, to expose them to opportunities they may otherwise not have had,” Morel said.
It is a wonderful way for us as a company to partner with the district here and produce some results.”

We are currently getting our teachers trained. The MDE is in full support of Project Lead the Way

The first grant provided by Winston Plywood and Veneer will be used at Louisville High School. The district is hoping that this curriculum will replace the current STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum being used.

Also mentioned during the discussion regarding PLTW is that the PLTW curriculum is currently updated each year, keeping it relevant to the ever-changing curriculum landscape of education.

The school district will seek an MDE grant to help offset cost of the program, as well as seek other methods of funding.

With the school district looking to lead the direction of the high schools towards a Career Academy type setting, incorporating Project Lead The Way into the school system will assist with the district heading in this direction. (A Career academy is a small learning community where a student receives academic instruction at his/her assigned high school combined with work based learning opportunities at an industry center, or technical school or college)

The board also approved the following leases, bids, and advertisements for Sixteenth Section:

Approved an easement lease for Tim Rodgers on 16-14-12 (Center Ridge)

Approved a new one-acre residential lease for Brandon Burrage on 16-13-12 (Noxapater)

Approved to amend a .72-acre residential lease on Willie C. Davis to his son Demarcus Davis on 16-13-12

Approved advertising hunting lease on the following – 16-14-10, 30 acres, Rural Hill; 16-14-10, 37 acres, Rural Hill; 16-13-13, 110 acres, Claytown; 16-13-13, 37 acres, Claytown

Approved accepting the highest bid on the following hunting leases – 16-13-13, 40 acres, Claytown; 16-14-10, 95 acres, Rural Hill; 16-15-12, 84 acres, Poplar Flat; 16-14-10, 108 acres, Rural Hill

Approved order of dismissal on Kenny Ray Dempsey lease and approved to advertise for new lease

Superintendent Ken McMullan updated the board on a few items of interest. McMullan informed the trustees of the low retention rates for elementary schools in the district, a reflection of all the hard work of the staff and faculty of the schools.

McMullan then discussed the progress of The 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment student’s district-wide. The district has six students in need of retaking the assessment next month.

The results from this year’s 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment show the Louisville Municipal School District had a 90.4 percent pass rate with 230 test-takers at Louisville, Nanih Waiya and Noxapater elementary schools.

McMullan also gave the trustees an update on the ongoing FEMA shelter projects at Eiland Middle School and Noxapater Attendance Center, explaining that at the present time, funds from government entities is no longer available. McMullan was informed that FEMA funds would not be available unless an emergency occurred again.

McMullan said that the district would, however, proceed with the application process for the shelters.

The last item McMullan discussed was the possibility of paving the
Eiland Middle School track. With the street repairs on the horizon for the City of Louisville, McMullan hopes that an opportunity will arise for the school district to have the track paved during this process. McMullan wanted the trustees to be aware of this, and to have it on their minds.

The meeting concluded with the board entering into executive session to discuss the possible purchase of Field 5 from the City of Louisville. Following the executive session, the board authorized McMullan to discuss with Louisville Mayor Will Hill about the possibility of purchasing the field.

In other news, the Board of Trustees:

Approved agenda for meeting
Approved consent agenda
Approved student transfers from Louisville Municipal School District to Neshoba County School District (the parent is an employee of at Neshoba
Approved financial reports
Approved payment to Renasant Insurance in the amount of $230,228 for the district’s Property & Casualty Insurance for the 2016-2017 school year
Approved agreement for Jobs for Mississippi Graduates program at a cost of $30,000

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WPVs Morel

The LMSD Board of Trustees will hold its next meeting July 7 at the LMSD Boardroom at 5:30 p.m.