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As the 2016-2017 school year begins on September 6th in Webster County, we are embarking on a year of challenges, adjustments, and continued successes. The quality of education and character building we provide will determine the future of our students. In the spirit of determination and dedication, Webster County educators will continue to work with students, parents, and community to make a positive difference.

The Webster County Board of Education and school administrators embarked on a difficult task of planning, preparing, and deciding fiscal and academic policies for 2016-2017 school year months ago. Decisions had to be made based on the awareness of the critical shortcomings in recent years of the State government in supporting the local school systems and the concern about future budget cuts that have not yet been announced.  For rural school systems with limited local revenues, the State cuts have been especially difficult to overcome. To act in the best interests of the students and taxpayers, Webster County school officials determined that the school system had to operate within the limits of available funds and avoid going into debt for maintenance and operation expenses. To achieve the best results for education, several significant changes were made ranging from an adjusted school calendar year to trimming all non-essential activities. It is believed that the end results will ensure a quality education for the students and affordability for the local taxpayers.

For Webster County students, following a modified school calendar of attending school for 148 days instead of 180 days will mean beginning the school day earlier (buses will unload at 7:10 a.m.) and ending the school day later (buses will load at 3:26 p.m.). In addition, as an issue of safety and fuel conservation, designated bus stops will be used-the buses will not go down driveways or into small, impassable areas to pick up students. All bus stops will be within acceptable walking distances from homes.

Daily attendance is required. The maximum number of days absent (excused or unexcused) is 6. Chronic absenteeism results in tremendous gaps in learning. The Attendance Protocol policy will be followed and judicial action may result. The Webster County School system will continue to work closely with Judge Jimmy Bankston and Truancy Intake Officer, Mr. Stephen Woodson, to address any chronic absenteeism issues.

Parents are asked to make sure their children have the needed school supplies. The supply lists are posted on the system website (websterbobcats.org), along with the school calendar, dress code, and other handbook information.

To learn, students must have the proper tools and be open to learning. To succeed, students must be respectful and follow the rules. To go beyond the norm, students must accept the obstacles and difficulties, to which they are exposed from time to time, with faith and confidence in themselves.

The Webster County Schools will host an Open House on September 1st  from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Parents, guardians, and students are invited to drop by and meet the teachers and administrators. The maintenance, technology, and office staffers have worked hard during the summer months getting the campus ready and everything looks great. All are invited to attend this popular event. A most important quality of the Webster County community is the supporting spirit of the residents. The community response to all school events is overwhelming and greatly appreciated.

On a personal note, thank you for making my 8th year as Superintendent of Schools gratifying. I know now more than ever that I was meant to come home. As educators, although we have great and numerous challenges ahead, I absolutely believe we will meet them and our children will be smarter, better individuals for having known us.

Respectfully,

Mrs. Janie S. Downer