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Academy Showcase helps junior-high students choose their high-school academy

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From the Vicksburg-Warren School District:

Today and tomorrow, Warren Central Junior High School, Vicksburg Junior High School and Academy of Innovation eighth-graders will attend the Academy Showcase at the Vicksburg Convention Center. This event is structured to help eighth-grade students choose which high school academy best fits their skills, passions and plans for their life after high school.

The Vicksburg Warren College & Career Academies (VWCCA) allow students to choose a thematic course of study and learn in a relevant, hands-on environment with real-world applications. Every ninth through 12th-grade student in the Vicksburg Warren School District is enrolled in an academy.

Those academies include:

  • ACME – Architecture, Construction, Mechatronics & Engineering
  • CAB – Communications, Arts & Business
  • HHS – Health & Human Services
  • RCECHS – River City Early College High School – Academy of Accelerated Learning

This event uses a student-to-student approach where eighth-graders can interact with high-school students who will share their high school academy projects and experiences.

Parents and community members are invited to attend the event tonight, Jan. 15, from 4 until 6 p.m.

“We want every student to be able to choose a high school exit strategy that best fits their ambitions,” Superintendent Chad Shealy said in a release. “If, after graduation, a student wants to be enrolled in college, employed with meaningful credentials, enlisted in the military or an entrepreneur, we are getting them well-prepared for their future.

“We are thrilled to invite our parents and community to the Academy Showcase. It is a great way to see the exciting work our students are involved in.”

For more information on the VWCCA’s please visit www.vwsd.org/academies

Academy Showcase Schedule:

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020

  • 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Academy of Innovation Students
  • 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Open to the Public

Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020

  • 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Vicksburg Junior High School
  • 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Warren Central Junior High School

See our previous coverage of the Academy Showcase.

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Education

Shealy named to statewide advisory council of public-school leaders

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(Photo from VWSD)

Chad Shealy, superintendent of the Vicksburg-Warren School District, has been named to the state’s Administrator Advisory Council of public-school leaders.

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann announced the formation and members of the council Friday, Jan. 17, in a press release. Hosemann indicated the move was part of a promise he made on the campaign trail to “seek input from Mississippi’s public educators when considering legislation impacting public schools.”

Shealy was among 19 public-school leaders from across the state to be named to the council.

“For Mississippi to succeed, our public schools must succeed,” Hosemann said in the release. “This requires us to listen to educators and address their needs. I look forward to working with this group and other administrators to continue advancing student achievement and supporting our schools.”

Hosemann plans to name a separate advisory council of teachers in early February.

The Advisory Council includes representatives from each of nine regions: Northeast, Golden Triangle, East Central, Pine Belt, Coast, Capital Area, Southwest, Delta and North Mississippi. It includes superintendents; elementary, middle and high school principals; and career and technical, special education, and curriculum and instruction directors.

“One of the most important things we can do for educators is listen to them and remove barriers in the way of the important work they are doing,” said state Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar, Jr. (R-Leakesville) in the release. “By keeping this group and other education organizations in the loop, we can more effectively share ideas and implement better policy to support our schools and students.”

Working with Chairman DeBar and Vice Chairman David Blount (D-Jackson), Hosemann’s team will keep the Advisory Council informed about legislation relevant to public schools as the Senate moves throughout the 2020 legislative session. Hosemann has asked members to share concerns they may be grappling with in their districts. During the summertime, Hosemann plans to call on members to participate in various study groups to examine potential legislation for the 2021 legislative session.

“I applaud Lt. Gov. Hosemann for naming an advisory council of school principals and administrators to help guide our legislative work,” Blount said in the release. “All of us at the capitol need to hear from the leaders who are in the schools every day. I am hopeful we can build a new relationship of trust and partnership on behalf of all our Mississippi public schools.”

Members of Hosemann’s Administrator Advisory Council are:

  • Lee Childress, Superintendent, Corinth School District (Northeast)
  • Raymond Craven, Assistant Superintendent, Baldwyn School District (Northeast)
  • Lenora Hogan, Director, Millsaps Career & Technical Center (Golden Triangle), Starkville-Oktibbeha School District
  • Cherie Labat, Superintendent, Columbus Municipal School District (Golden Triangle)
  • Howard Savage, Principal, Quitman High School (East Central), Quitman School District
  • Cody Killen, Principal, Neshoba Central Middle School (East Central), Neshoba County School District
  • Robert Williams, Hattiesburg Public School District (Pine Belt)
  • Helen Price, Principal, Oak Grove High School (Pine Belt), Lamar County School District
  • Charles Breland, Superintendent, Greene County School District (Pine Belt)
  • Wayne Rodolfich, Superintendent, Pascagoula-Gautier School District (Coast)
  • Nicole Menotti, Director, Curriculum & Instruction (Coast), Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District
  • Chad Shealy, Superintendent, Vicksburg Warren School District (Southwest)
  • Mickey Myers (*until retirement at the end of the 2020 School Year), Superintendent, Lincoln County School District (Southwest)
  • Jeremy Peagler (*after Superintendent Myers’ retirement), Principal, Loyd Star Elementary, Lincoln County School District
  • Lori G. Torrey, Principal, Spann Elementary School (Capital Area), Jackson Public School District
  • Charlotte Seals, Superintendent, Madison County School District (Capital Area)
  • Joe Nelson, Superintendent, Clarksdale Municipal School District (Delta)
  • Laquita Moore, Director, Special Education (Delta), Tunica County School District
  • Sherry Anderson, Principal, Lewisburg Elementary School (North), DeSoto County School District
  • Adam Pugh, Superintendent, Lafayette County School District (North)

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Education

Hinds CC named a top college for online associate degrees

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(photo by © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0,)

Hinds Community College has been named among the best online colleges in the nation for associate degrees for 2020.

Seattle-based Intelligent.com, an independent academic research group, gave Hinds the designation Most Online Class Options among a group of 60 regionally accredited institutions that offer associate degrees and have fully online programs available. The comprehensive research guide was based on an initial study of 383 education programs at 149 accredited colleges and universities offering associate degrees, with 60 institutions making the academic research group’s list of finalists.

Programs were rated on curriculum quality, graduation rate, reputation, and post-graduate employment. Hinds rated 30th out of the 60 finalists overall on those factors and was the lone two-year college in Mississippi named a finalist.

Hinds Community College offers nearly 500 online class sections each fall, spring, and summer semester through the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC), a consortium of 15 community colleges in Mississippi offering internet-based courses. Students at its member colleges are offered flexibility in testing and other vital resources.

For spring 2020, Hinds has experienced an increase of 4.5 percent in online students taking both academic and career-tech courses, compared to spring 2019.

Intelligent.com provides comprehensive information on higher education programs as well as financial aid, internships and study strategies, among other resources. Results of the survey may be found at https://www.intelligent.com/best-online-colleges-for-associates-degrees/

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Classes & Workshops

Adopt-a-School training seeks to empower partnerships between churches and public schools

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Pastor Tony Evans, the Urban Alternative

Vicksburg will play host to a unique training designed to help churches partner with local schools to transform individuals, families and communities.

The training, a project of Pastor Tony Evan’s Urban Alternatives organization, is part of a nationwide Adopt-a-School Initiative, which provides attendees “the building blocks for starting or enhancing the delivery of social services to urban youth and their families,” the organization’s website states. “Participants will receive an overview of the process for adopting public schools and creating programs, including school-based mentoring, to meet the vast needs of public-school youth and their families.”

The training is hosted by the Warren County Youth Court and Unite Mississippi, the parent organization of numerous faith-based organizations that have “a desire to make communities whole in a grass-roots way,” said Larry Nicks, deputy director of Unite Mississippi.

Recognizing that churches and faith-based organizations are probably the most influential organizations inside many communities in Mississippi, the Adopt-a-School program seeks to develop partnerships between churches and public schools and offer mentoring to children and families.

“Our prison population is growing, and our school literacy problem is getting worse. If we can tap into the school population at the third-grade level, then we can make a difference in the quality of graduates and, of course, our workforce,” Nicks said.

Mentoring at-risk children at an early age, particularly at the third-grade level, is crucial, he said. If children can’t read by third grade “they’ll never catch up and be on level in college and in life.”

The goal is not to only mentor children but to make the family whole through mentoring, job skills and more. Churches with resources will be partnered with churches with few resources.

The problem of literacy must be addressed before it gets to the justice or penal system, said Judge Marcie Southerland with the Warren County Youth Court.

“We have got to reach these children and their families when the children are … in second and third grade, not when they’re 13, 14 and on up to 17 years of age,” she said, adding, “I know this will work.”

“The kids we’re trying to reach are the kids that, for whatever reason, haven’t had proper mentoring and proper upbringing at home,” said Chip Miskelly, chairman of Unite Mississippi. “These are kids who are falling through the cracks.”

“What we’re trying to do more than anything else, is give these kids a fighting chance,” he added.

“It’s a holistic approach to reach not only the kids, but the families as a whole.”

In this one-day training, attendees will learn how to analyze the needs of the community, engage with a local school, recruit and develop volunteers and how to raise the necessary funds to support the endeavor.

The training is Jan. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the George Oaks Building at the Vicksburg-Warren County Hinds Community College Campus. Lunch will be served, sponsored by Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition of Claiborne and Warren Counties.

Cost of the training is $75 per person, and everyone is welcome. The training is designed for pastors, church and community leaders, and for people who are stakeholders in public schools including parents and teachers, or those who may be interested in becoming stakeholders.

“This is a top-notch training” with a successful track-record of more than 30 years, said Michelle Johnson, a Unite Mississippi board member and Vicksburg coordinator for the training.

For more information or to register, see the Adopt-A-School website or call Bill Collins with Urban Alternatives at 1-800-800-3222, Pastors’ coordinator Pastor James Bowman at 601-529-2044 or Vicksburg coordinator Michelle Johnson at 601-715-0522.

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