P3 Strategies serves as the staff of Mississippi Education Reform Collaborative (MERC). MERC is an organization of superintendents who have come together voluntarily to do "what needs to be done for children and their communities." MERC shares best practices, pools resources, coordinates activities, monitors legislative and regulatory proposals and advocates for children and their communities.
Mississippi Education Reform Collaborative
While their districts are diverse in size and geography, their students are largely from minority, low-income families. And while their roles as superintendents are different in each community, they share common problems in seeking to move the needle of success. In monthly facilitated thought sessions, MERC superintendents honestly raise issues, concerns and seek advice from their peers. MERC superintendents rely on one another and have a bond of trust and relationship that lets them speak freely, ask questions and learn in a manner not available in other professional and/or community settings.
MERC member districts pool resources to provide specialized training. Working collaboratively makes it possible for MERC superintendents to provide specialized training that they may not otherwise be able to afford.
MERC superintendents have adopted and have become crusaders within the state education community for the use of sophisticated data analytics to specifically identify students with needs to improve their performance and overall school performance.
Dr. Jacquelyn Thigpen, Cleveland School District
Dr. Arnetta Crosby, Covington County School District
Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon
Mr. James Bacchus
Mr. Jimmy Hopkins
Dr. Cedrick Gray, Jackson Public Schools
Dr. Cederick Ellis, McComb School District
Dr. Virginia Young, Newton Municipal School District
Mr. Cedric Richardson, North Panola School District
Dr. Debra Dace, Sunflower County Consolidated School District
Mr. Christopher Furdge, West Tallahatchie School District
Dr. Darron Edwards, Yazoo City Municipal School District
MERC districts work to inform and engage in advocacy that would further the development of not only MERC district schools, but also improve educational policy in the state of Mississippi. MERC issues major reports to inform legislators and opinion leaders of the facts surrounding their districts and policy initiatives that would improve education.
Sharing Success provides a representative look of low-income districts and the opportunities available in their districts.
The Impact of Funding Reductions on Mississippi Low-Income School Districts provides state leaders and opinion makers information on the impact of reduced funding experienced after the 2008 recession and how ongoing shortages of MAEP funding has greater harm on low-income districts.
MERC superintendents have the advantage of working with solid, objective, real-time information about their district that gives them the ability to initiate policies and procedures to address their unique issues.
MERC Annual Report 2014 provides a profile of the districts and their program of work.
The Methodlogy of Collaboration provides insights into how a successful educational collaborative operates.
Founding members from left to right,
Mr. James Bacchus, Dr. Cedric Gray,
Dr. Jacquelyn Thigpen, Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon, Dr. Cederick Ellis and Mr. Jimmy Hopkins