OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Get to know the inner workings of schools, and you can do a better job of helping to guide the direction of the educational process. That's how members of the Ocean Springs school board feel. It's also why they took a tour of all seven schools in the district Monday.
The tour began with a friendly greeting for students, but board members are looking at much more. The physical condition of the schools is important.
Michelle Smith is the board president.
"We can get a good feel for the schools just being in there and being around the children is always a positive thing, so we're looking at atmosphere and the condition of the facilities," Smith explained.
Getting out of the board room and into the classroom is a big boost.
"For me, it's a real rush," said board member William Lee. "I just enjoy seeing the students. You know, you miss that contact as a school board member, and this gives you an opportunity to see what's really happening."
Another board member, Sue White said, "If all you do is go to the meetings and you never go out to the schools, you don't get the feeling of what's going on in those schools."
The hands on approach seems to work well for board member Dr. Lena Melton.
"We like to get into the schools, see what's there and what's going on, and to be available so that people will know us and can talk to us and feel like we are interested," Melton said.
While all the members of the Ocean Springs School Board say it's important for them to stay connected with the system they help to operate, for the faculty and administrators of schools they visited Monday, this means more than anything.
"For them to come by and personally see some of those things that we need to take care of over the summer months, they make it happen," Principal Joey Lee said. "We're very impressed that our school board takes the time to make sure those things are addressed."
Members of the school board conduct these tours twice a year. The final goal is always to have a more in-touch board members and a better learning experience.