Ocean Springs school district seeing a growth spurt

Ocean Springs school district seeing a growth spurt

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - For quite some time, we all knew the Ocean Springs school district student population was increasing.

To make the transition for new students easier, the district is hosting its annual Welcome to Greyhound Nation program Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 6pm at Pecan Park Elementary school.

It’s open for all new students and their parents. Several information booths will be set up to explain all the opportunities that exist in the district for new students to get involved.

In the past year, more than 800 new students have arrived from K-12. Teachers at the high school are looking at plenty of faces these days, many of them new. It’s reflection of the new reality.

Two students walking the halls of their schools just arrived this year. “It’s a lot different. I’m used to a small private school with like 35 kids were in my class. It’s a big change. I like having options like meeting new people," said student Britton Fratesi. “The first two weeks of school, I got lost just about every day going to classes.”

Many stories are similar, including that of new student Noah MacDonald. “I came from a small town too, about 5,000 people. Sixty to a class. It’s a lot different. There’s more people. I can meet new people everyday though, and make new friends all the time.”

Why is the district so popular? Principal Vickie Tiblier answered, “Our reputation precedes us. People know that we are doing what’s best for children every day. Sometimes making decisions is hard, but you have to do everyday what’s best for students, what’s the next step in giving students a voice, giving students opportunities and what’s going to make them succeed when they leave us,” Tiblier explained.

More students means something else has to increase as well. “Every day, we’re adding new teachers it seems like. We’re always needing new teachers to come in and so our class sizes can get smaller," she added.

Teachers play a critical role when dealing with new students. When these students are coming into a new system, sometimes they feel overwhelmed or out of place.

That’s where teacher Lamenda Hase steps in. “You have to be kind of in that conversation with them on a daily basis. And when you see a sign, you have to pull them aside and say, ‘Everything going okay? Are you adjusting Ok?’ There are a few time you may need to say, ‘Do you want to come by and see me and talk to me at break or a lunch or anything?' Just keep an open line of communication with them.”

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