Health Officials Remind Parents: “It’s Time for Back to School Immunizations”


While the end of summer seems a long time away, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reminds parents that state law requires kids to be immunized against childhood diseases to enter public or private school, Head Start or daycare.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 95 percent of parents nationwide choose to vaccinate their children, protecting them against potentially deadly diseases.

“Childhood vaccinations protect your child and those around them,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “The back-to-school rush is our busiest immunization effort each year. It’s great to see children receiving required vaccinations, and we remind parents that the best protection is having their children immunized on time.”

Required vaccinations for children entering school in Mississippi for the first time include: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP); polio (IPV); hepatitis B; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); and varicella (chickenpox). There is also a requirement for children entering seventh grade to receive the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccination. In addition, human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) and a meningococcal vaccine (MCV4) are recommended for adolescents 11 to 15 years of age, and a meningococcal vaccine (MCV4) is recommended at age 16 to 18 years.

Parents must provide the school with a Certificate of Immunization Compliance (Form 121) from their local health department or physician prior to school entry.

“To prevent school registration or school entry delays, it is important that our students entering PreK, Kindergarten, and seventh grade receive the required vaccinations and present the proper paperwork at their respective school prior to the first day of school,” said Tammie Reeder, Health Services Coordinator for New Albany Schools.

You may check with your physician or county health department if you have questions about which immunizations your child will need. Those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can receive vaccinations for $10 each.

The MSDH accepts Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and the State and School Employees’ Health Insurance Plan (AHS) as well as most private insurance plans that cover childhood vaccines.

For more information on immunization requirements or medical exemptions for school entry, visit To secure an appointment for immunizations at the Union County Health Department, call 662-534-1926.


Van Receives Taylor Moore Scholarship at NAHS

Meghan VanMeghan Van was awarded the Taylor Moore Memorial Scholarship at the New Albany High School graduation ceremony on May 20, 2016.  The $5,000 competitive scholarship is given each year to a deserving NAHS student who plans to attend college in Mississippi.  The scholarship selection process includes criteria relating to character, GPA, extracurricular activities, written essay, and an interview by a selection committee.

Meghan is the daughter of Kimberly Van and Jeff Van.  She is a member of First United Methodist Church where she served as a volunteer for Camp Sonshine, the Christmas Store, and Vacation Bible School.  Meghan plans to attend the University of Mississippi this fall and pursue her studies in Biology with an emphasis on dentistry.

An honor graduate, Van was selected into the NAHS Hall of Fame.  She was a member of the Anchor Club, National Honor Society, FBLA, Spanish Club, and National Technical Honor Society.  Van served as a senior mentor and has been involved with the Union County Leadership Academy.

During her senior year, Van was selected as a homecoming maid and voted “Senior Class Favorite”.

Van, a three-sport athlete, lettered in tennis, soccer, and cheer.  She was a member of the state championship tennis teams during her time at NAHS and was the girls doubles state runner-up her senior year.

The Taylor Moore Scholarship was established by Bobby and Minerva Moore in memory of their son who died in 2000.  Taylor Moore was a 1988 honor graduate of W.P. Daniel High School.  He was Mr. DHS, Most Popular, Most Dignified, and Class Favorite and was active in student government.  Moore played first base for the DHS baseball team, and received numerous academic honors.  He went on to receive his bachelors and masters degrees in business administration from Mississippi State University.

The scholarship established in his memory has been awarded for twelve years to outstanding graduates of New Albany High School.  Past recipients of the Taylor Moore Scholarship are Stacy Stepp, Darden Holmes, Kyle Kimbrough, Ivy Lauren Williams, Kyle Hickey, Callie Creekmore, Taylor Goode, Josh Creekmore, Olivia Dunnam, Lauren Cavender, and Jack Hickey.



NAES Receives Toyota Grant

Toyota Image

New Albany Elementary School will introduce students and their families to the Ticket to Read program during the 2016-2017 school year.

Ticket to Read is an interactive, Web-based, student-centered learning component that promotes the practice of text reading. The program enables students to build fluency, strengthen vocabulary, and reinforce comprehension skills as they navigate a self-paced instructional path. Motivational features provide students with incentives to practice. An embedded reward system is included in this program.  Students also receive constant feedback to monitor their performance, and reports are available to teachers.

Ticket to Read Phonics has 14 different instructional Phonics Paths and the reading component has 16 Reading Levels. Students are assigned a Level or Path based on their Online Phonics Placement Assessment. Ticket to Read can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection at school, at home, at the library, or in any after-school setting.

Students and parents will receive more information about this program, including login information, during the first month of school.

The Ticket to Read program during the 2016-2017 school year is being made possible in part from grant funding provided by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi.

“We are excited to be a recipient of the Toyota Mississippi grant and to be able to provide this new reading initiative at NAES for the upcoming school year,” said Jamey
Wright, Principal.

NAHS Awards Ceremony – Outstanding Career & Technical Students

The following students were honored as Outstanding Career & Technical Education students at the New Albany High School Awards Ceremony held on May 3:

Automotive Services I-N’Shaun Cameron; Oral & Electronic Communications-Mary Day; Business Fundamentals-Sydney Meggs; Marketing-Jessiana Smith; Culinary Arts I-Lorin Ivey; Culinary Arts II-Jalynn Johnson; Digital Media I-Sarah Kathryn Harris; Digital Media II-Jacob McGregor; Drafting Concepts-Miller Dunnam; Intermediate Drafting-Daisy Huerta; Early Childhood Services and Education I-Jenna Steward; Early Childhood Services and Education II-Tashiunna Judon; Engineering II-Christopher Thomas; Health sciences I-Tianna Graham; Health Sciences II-Sydni Lewis; STEM-Michelle Luo; Child Development-Esteban Contreras; Family Dynamics-Mason Armstrong; Contemporary Health-Adalyn Aldridge; Nutrition & Wellness-Samantha Bridges; Resource Management-Carley Jumper; Concepts of Agri-Science-Malek Hardin; Agri-Plants-Millie Chism; Agri-Environment-Beth Barnes; Agri-Animals-Zachary Simmons

New Albany Envirothon Team places second overall at State Final; first in Aquatic Ecology

Left to Right: KeXin Weng, Lindsay Sappington, Yesenia Rivera, Michelle Luo, Isaac Estrada, alternate Jacob McGregor, advisor Betty Short.
Left to Right: KeXin Weng, Lindsay Sappington, Yesenia Rivera, Michelle Luo, Isaac Estrada, alternate Jacob McGregor, advisor Betty Short.

Twenty Mississippi teams competed at the State Mississippi Envirothon, a program of the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts, a hands-on natural resource competition that challenges students in grades 9 through 12 to explore the natural world around them.

Through local soil and water conservation districts, nearly 150 volunteers and resource personnel from state and federal natural resource agencies and organizations worked with educators, sharing environmental expertise to prepare the teams for the competitions.

“This year’s State Envirothon was one of the best we’ve ever had, and the hard work of the teams was reflected in the scores,” Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission Executive Director Mark Gilbert said.

SECOND PLACE: New Albany High School, New Albany, MS: Second Place Overall, and HIGH SCORE IN AQUATIC ECOLOGY. Team members include: Lindsay Sappington, Ke Xia Weng, Yesenia Rivera, Michelle Luo and Jacob McGregor. Each team member received a $175 scholarship, and team advisors Betty Short and Jim Muncie received $75. The team received a plaque, a certificate and Envirothon backpacks.

“The Envirothon is a terrific competition and a marvelous opportunity for students to truly learn – and get genuinely excited – about natural resources. The tests are difficult and teams spend countless hours studying and preparing for the event,” Envirothon Coordinator Clay Burns said.

Mississippi Envirothon is funded through grants from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.