JACKSON – Gov. Phil Bryant has formed
a coalition that will develop a collaborative, comprehensive plan to improve
Jackson Public Schools.
It centers on community involvement,
collaborative governance and strategic investments. It does not initiate a
state takeover of JPS, though the Mississippi Department of Education’s request
Instead, it brings together JPS
stakeholders and forms partnerships with national and local experts, including
the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Education Commission of the States and Mississippi
“The easy thing for me to do would
have been approve the state takeover,” Gov. Bryant said. “This is a better way
forward for the 27,000 students in JPS. The opportunity to form this coalition
was too good to pass up. I am grateful for the membership’s commitment to bring
transformative change to Jackson Public Schools.”
As part of the first phase, every
current member of the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees has resigned.
Also included is the formation of a Project Commission, comprised of JPS
stakeholders. From there, commissioners and local, state and national partners
will engage the community in a series of listening sessions.
“The Governor and I agree
that the challenges faced by the Jackson Public School District provide an
opportunity to create a new transformative vision for JPS,” said Mayor Chokwe
Antar Lumumba. “Our children deserve an excellent school district. I am pleased
to work together with Governor Bryant and the Kellogg Foundation to create this
‘Third Option’ for JPS. Many would say that the Governor and my political views
represent oppositional poles; however, this collaboration is an excellent
demonstration of what I have called ‘Operational Unity.’”
Mayor Lumumba continued:
“We have come together for the benefit of our children and our community to
craft a plan that is not about personality, but about solving real problems to
benefit all parties.”
With input from ECS, which will share
best practices developed from successes in other states, a request for
proposals to perform an outside evaluation of the JPS educational ecosystem
will be issued. The Kellogg Foundation has agreed to support the commission’s
discovery efforts, including the outside evaluation and listening sessions.
“Children are our
greatest asset and we believe in their hopes, dreams and aspirations,” said La
June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
“Their future makes this work so important and when we stand together in
partnership with the governor, mayor, JPS and the community, all in
alignment, great things will happen.”
The outside evaluation will be
informed by school data and the listening sessions. Its findings will drive the
development of a plan that addresses key education gaps, alignment of
resources, professional development, personnel recommendations, safety
considerations and other factors.
The Project Commission will
consider the findings and will work with outside organizations to identify
existing resources within JPS to apply toward the plan’s implementation.
Periodic evaluations will then be conducted to ensure JPS stays on the path to
About the W.K.
Kellogg Foundation: The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in
1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will
Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United
States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity
to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable
children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.