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State Board of Education calling for more study before eliminating U.S. history exam



From the Mississippi State Board of Education:

The Mississippi State Board of Education decided today that further study is needed before a decision can be made regarding the potential elimination of the U.S. History end-of-course exam.

The SBE directed the Mississippi Department of Education to work with the Accountability Task Force to research the impact that eliminating the U.S. History assessment would have on the statewide accountability system without changing the cut scores.

The Accountability Task Force is scheduled to meet Dec. 5.

The SBE’s decision followed a public comment period that opened Sept. 19 after the Mississippi Student Testing Task Force recommended eliminating the exam on the heels of an opinion poll of secondary education teachers. The opinion poll favored eliminating the exam. The U.S. History end-of-course exam is the only state test not required by federal or state law.

During the public comment period, MDE received 108 written comments: 27 comments favored keeping the exam, 42 favored eliminating the exam and 39 comments were off-topic or unclear.

Mississippi’s A-F accountability system evaluates how well schools and districts are performing each year. Grades are based, in part, on how well students perform and progress from year to year on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program tests for English language arts and mathematics. Accountability grades for high schools and districts also include the four-year graduation rate, student performance on biology, U.S. history and ACT tests, and student participation and performance in advanced coursework such as advanced placement and dual credit/dual enrollment courses.

The U.S. history assessment is the only statewide accountability measure of the academic standards for social studies. The other required assessments, MAAP and the ACT, measure student learning in English language arts, mathematics and science only.

The U.S. history exam is currently given to high school students upon completion of the course. It is one of four end-of-course assessments that board policy requires students to take to graduate. The other tests, in biology, algebra I and English II, are required by federal law. Students don’t have to pass the subject-area tests to graduate, as the SBE offers several options for students to earn a diploma.

U.S. history will remain a required course for graduation even if a decision is reached to eliminate the U.S. history exam.


Hinds Community College honored Vicksburg scholarship recipients



From left, Christian Oakes, Mayor George Flaggs and Ali Cook

The Hinds Community College Foundation recognized 2019-2020 scholarship recipients, donors and honorees from Vicksburg at a reception on Oct. 29 in the Loviza Building on the Vicksburg-Warren Campus.  

Click on any image to enlarge it.

Kaileigh Trichell, left, of Vicksburg, received the William F. “Sonny” Bruce Memorial Scholarship. With her is Barbara Applebaum, also of Vicksburg.

Christian Oakes, left, and Ali Cook, both of Vicksburg, received the Warren County Scholarship. With them is Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs.

Sean Daily, of Vicksburg, received the Waring Oil LLC Athletic Scholarship. With him are Lee Waring, center, and Pierson Waring, right, also of Vicksburg.

Anna Turner, of Vicksburg, received the Walter B. Hallberg Jr. Scholarship. With her was Walter Hallberg III, also of Vicksburg.  

Recipients of the Vicksburg Medical Auxiliary Scholarship honoring Philip B. Watson Jr. Front row: second-left, Ethan Decker, of Brandon, Taylor Bowman, of Madison, Kaitlyn Hamil, of Madison, and Beaty Hill, of Flowood. Back row, from left, Kyla Tyler, of Jackson, Madelyn Smith, of Brandon, Haley Frazier, of Florence, and Kyisha Mayfield, of Vicksburg. Mayfield also received the Vicksburg Medical Auxiliary Scholarship. With them are Dean of Nursing Priscilla Burks, front row left, and District Dean of Health Sciences Kathy Elliott, front row right.

Taylor Mardis, of Vicksburg, right, received the Shirley Ann Farish Nursing Scholarship. With her is Shirley Ann Farish, left, also of Vicksburg.

Tonya Anderson, of Vicksburg, center, received the Sandy Redditt Cain Memorial Scholarship. With her are Sharon Cummins, left, and Libby James, both of Vicksburg.

Haley Steed, front row, left, received the John & Mabel Loviza Family Scholarship, Wyatt Turner, back row, left, received the Myrtle Loviza and Kathleen Loviza Endowed Scholarship. Charles Bryant, back row, center, received the Joe Loviza Career-Technical Scholarship. All are of Vicksburg. With them are Glenda Loviza, front row, center, Myrtle Loviza, front row, left, and Joe Loviza, back row, right, all of Vicksburg.

Vantrel Reed, center, of Vicksburg, received the Fred & Margie Oakes Endowed Scholarship. With  him  are Donald and Bettye Oakes, also of Vicksburg.

Nicholas Blakely, center, of Brandon, who received the Euell & Etoile Liles Family Scholarship. With him are Dean Liles, left, of Plano, Texas, and Bryan Liles, right.

Ashlee Sowell, center, of Benton, received the Dean and Rebecca Liles Scholarship. With her are Dean Liles, of Plano, Texas, and Bryan Liles.

Evan Fedell, of Vicksburg, center, received the Chaney Family Endowed Scholarship. With him are Jim and Mark Chaney, also of Vicksburg.

Front row, from left, Brelynn Beck, Jamie Bridges, Philip Beck; back row, Steve Beck, Breydan Beck and Pamela Ashby Beck, all of Vicksburg

Annelise Ouellette, of Clinton, left, received the Bobbie B. Anderson Nursing Scholarship. With her is Bobbie B. Anderson, of Vicksburg.

The Hinds Community College Foundation awarded more than 600 scholarships in the 2019-2020 academic year. The deadline to apply for a scholarship for fall 2020, academic year 2020-2021, is Feb. 15, 2020. For more information, visit  

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Watson named Rookie Teacher of the Month



Superintendent Chad Shealy presents Yolanda Watson with Rookie Teacher of the Month.

Dana Road Elementary School first grade teacher Yolanda Watson is the Vicksburg Warren School District’s Rookie Teacher of the Month.

Superintendent Chad Shealy and members of the Curriculum & Instruction and Human Resources teams surprised Watson this morning with gifts and balloons to celebrate the announcement.

Congratulations Ms. Watson! Keep up the great work.

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Vicksburg veteran uses Hinds’ Veterans Services to help reach career goals



U.S. Marine Corps veteran David Mackey is realizing his career goals with the help of HInds CC Veterans Services.

From Hinds Community College:

Giving back to those who have served their country is the mission of the Hinds Community College Office of Veterans Services.

For veterans such as Vicksburg resident David Mackey, 35, the assistance has made a journey back from personal trials much smoother.

“I reached out to Veterans Services at Hinds and, soon, I realized my dream of going into commercial aviation was not only feasible but physically possible,” said Mackey, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who came to Hinds after returning from active duty and while recovering from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.

Mackey is attending Hinds on a Mississippi Airports Association scholarship and plans to earn his pilot’s license.

“Hinds has given me the gift of flight,” he said.

The office is organizing a special program to mark the Veterans Day holiday Nov. 11. The program begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Raymond Campus courtyard, next to McLendon Library. The guest speaker is Col. John Breland, commander of the Army’s 139th Legal Operations Detachment.

Veterans Services strives to promote a smooth transition from the military to the academic environment for veterans and their families, often through collaboration with other departments at the college and with academic advisers available at each Hinds location.

“Our department helps veterans and their dependents navigate the Veterans Affairs system and certify about 600 students annually, on average, to the VA,” said Bryan Grove, assistant director of Veterans Services. “Also, we have received the Military Friendly School rating the past two years for our programs and policies.”

For many, such as Benjamin Everett, the first step is help to access GI Bill benefits, residency status, any special academic accommodations, withdrawals due to deployments, referrals to other services both on and off campus.

Everett, of Madison, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and an online student at Hinds, worked with Veterans Services to help him figure out his class schedule and tackle his core academic coursework.

“Hinds has helped me find the best education route to take based on my military experience,” Everett said. “They have also helped me get credit for military courses that would apply to my degree.”

Services offered by the department are geared to assist veterans achieve their goals, whether it be to upgrade job skills, change careers or transfer to a four-year institution, said Bryan Spurlock, financial aid adviser for Veterans Services and retired Marine Corps and Mississippi Army National Guard first sergeant.

“Veterans Services is proud of the great strides we have made toward helping our veterans and their dependents obtain their hard-earned benefits and reach their educational goals,” Spurlock said.

For more information on the Hinds CC Office of Veterans Services, call 601-857-3226, email or visit

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