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JPS Superintendent shares successes and challenges during pandemic

Dr. Errick Greene says JPS is within striking distance of closing out Corrective Action Plan
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 10:10 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There is no question for educators in Mississippi and the nation that the COVID pandemic presented many challenges even as students went back to classrooms this semester.

In an exclusive one-on-one, Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Errick Greene discusses the challenges COVID presents, and some of the success so far this year.

Dr. Greene says others are dutifully submitting to testing on a weekly basis.
Dr. Greene says others are dutifully submitting to testing on a weekly basis.(WLBT)

The pandemic is one of the challenges Greene talked about Monday. While many school districts experience almost extreme teacher shortages, JPS had shortages in other areas.

Greene said, “Many of our classified team members, and that includes our bus drivers, child nutrition team, some of our security team, and some of the office team. Main offices and schools, even Central office. Those were the places where we really felt some of the labor challenge.”

Greene says he is thankful to parents for patience and understanding.

“We’ve tried to manage through bus routes and buses having to double back and just all of that sort of thing. It’s been a real challenge and we’ve had a few times where parents were really understandably frustrated by that,” said Greene.

After a school board vote passed a vaccine policy in September, Dr. Greene says most team members have complied.

“We’re excited that well over 80 percent of our team members were vaccinated, are vaccinated, and others are dutifully submitting to the testing on a weekly basis.”

Dr. Greene tells us bond projects for schools around the city continue, although there have been pandemic issues.

“Supply chain for those, the equipment, and just some of the supplies that they need for those projects as well as just some of the labor challenges with construction companies,” Greene said.

Greene emphasizes to his staff the importance of learning the lessons of the past, but also looking forward and

Greene said, “As tough as it is, folks understand that if we are constantly looking backwards we can’t move forward.”

Even with the challenges, Greene says there have been fewer behavior issues and there are promising numbers for graduation rates and academics.

“We do have early signs of our academic progress kind of picking back up. We’re within striking distance of closing out our Corrective Action Plan that we’ve been under for three plus years I believe. And so lots of signs that, even in the midst of this pandemic, that some good things are happening and important things are happening here in Jackson Public Schools,” said Greene.

You can see updates and photos of improvements made through the bond issue on the JPS website here.

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