GREENVILLE, Miss. — The Greenville Public School District is struggling to retain students after elementary grades, with many leaving for other districts as they start middle school.

The district has lost an average of 241 students annually since 2013, with most leaving after elementary school, The Delta Democrat-Times ( ) reported.

“So as children are leaving fifth grade, they are not enrolling with us in sixth grade,” Superintendent Leeson Taylor II said. “We will be working to put something in place in order to build that retention.”

Efforts will include student support services, social workers, home visits and monitoring services, he said Tuesday.

Taylor said the enrollment decrease is in line with the area’s declining population as well as parents enrolling their children in county school districts.

He said one problem hindering the district is the negative perception. Districtwide surveys have shown parents have a positive perception about the schools their children attend but a negative perception about other schools, Taylor said.

Board president Loretta M. Shannon said the district has to do a better job of changing the community’s outlook on the Greenville public schools.

“Not only are they hearing negative things from the students possibly, but they are hearing negative things from the employees in different parts of the community,” Shannon said. “There are many times negative conversations are about the school district? I’ve heard some myself. We have to do a little more work to get our employees to be more loyal.”

To address some of these issues affecting the district, from student retention to district perception, administrators are inviting parents to a community meeting Tuesday at Coleman Middle School. Teachers, staff and administrators, including the superintendent, are scheduled to attend.

Information from: Delta Democrat-Times,

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