NAHS Senior Participating in Flight Camp

Maria Favela, a rising senior at New Albany High School and a cadet with the Air Force Junior ROTC, is attending an eight week Flight Camp at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.

Favela received a scholarship from Headquarters AFJROTC, Maxwell Air Force Base to participate in the program.  The scholarship is valued at $20,000 and covers transportation, room and board, academic instruction, and flight hours.   She is one of 120 AFJROTC cadets to receive the scholarship.

The Flight Academy Scholarship Program is designed to address the issue of pilot shortages both in the military and in civilian life.  This program introduces students to the aviation atmosphere at a young age and allows them to earn their private pilot license

The program began May 29 and will continue through July 29.  The daily agenda is rigorous because the classes and training accelerated so participants can finish the program and earn a license.  “We fly every day, twice a day Monday through Saturday and have a regular class each day Monday through Friday,” Favela explained.  “I have really enjoyed being a part of the program. Experiencing flight first hand has been amazing. I love flying and learning how to control the aircraft is a great experience.”


New Albany High School has 16 MHSAA scholar teams

Sixteen of New Albany High School’s varsity teams have earned “scholar team” designation from the Mississippi High School Activities Association with a composite GPA of 3.0 or higher.

“We are extremely proud of all of these programs and are appreciative to our coaches who continue to promote the ideals of be a student-athlete and being dedicated to academics,” said Shane Sanderson, NAHS Athletic Director.

New Albany High School’s Scholar Teams include:

Girls’ Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cheer
  • Fast Pitch Softball
  • Golf
  • Powerlifting
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Track
  • Volleyball

Boys’ Sports:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Track

“New Albany High School has long been known for its achievements both on and off the field,” said Lance Evans, Superintendent.  “We are proud of our scholar-athletes who continue to devote themselves to academics and athletics.”


MDE Launches Mississippi Innovation Lab Network to Encourage Student-Centered Learning Opportunities

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has launched the Mississippi Innovation Lab Network (MS-ILN) that encourages a network of A- and B-rated school districts to work together to identify, test, and implement student-centered approaches to learning that will be shared statewide to help transform education in Mississippi.

The student-centered approaches to learning include personalized, competency-based, and anytime/anywhere learning.

“Advancements in technology, coupled with evolving workforce demands, require students be given opportunities to achieve at their own pace, whether advancing beyond standard mastery or requiring additional support to achieve proficiency. MDE developed this project to move Mississippi ahead and to provide opportunities for more districts to implement strategies that prepare all students to be college and career ready,” said Jean Massey, executive director of the Office of Secondary Education.

The school districts selected to participate in the network include the Districts of Innovation that will serve as exemplars for other districts. The current Districts of Innovation are Baldwyn, Booneville, Corinth, Grenada, Gulfport, and Vicksburg-Warren. The school districts that have joined the MS-Innovation Lab Network are:

  • Rankin County
  • Pascagoula-Gautier
  • Pontotoc County
  • Hinds County
  • George County
  • Jefferson Davis County
  • Starkville-Oktibbeha County
  • New Albany
  • Oxford
  • Kosciusko
  • South Tippah
  • Neshoba County

Districts will collaborate in learning communities to implement policies and improve practices to support underserved students. Membership in the network has no cost associated with it but does require a commitment from district superintendents, administrators, teachers, and local school boards to join and receive support for their work.

“Mississippi’s network provides opportunities for districts to share best practices and to innovate in ways that will better prepare our students for the future,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “We look forward to discovering effective approaches to student learning that meets their needs.”

The MS-ILN process also will be used to identify future Districts of Innovation participants. Legislation passed in 2015 allows districts to apply for District of Innovation status, which enables them to request exemptions from state regulations to achieve performance targets.

A district that wishes to be identified as a District of Innovation will be invited to participate in the MS-ILN one year prior to making application for District of Innovation status.  This one-year period allows collaboration with participating Districts of Innovation and the MDE to provide technical assistance to the district and to evaluate the district’s readiness to be titled a District of Innovation.

The networks will participate in innovative strategies and models that have been shown to be effective in other districts or states or new innovative strategies or models created by the district or school. Innovative strategies may include:

1)      Moving to a competency-based learning system, including the development of alternate methods for delivering curriculum or for measuring mastery of standards and skills;

2)     Creating multiple pathways to graduation, including rigorous career and technical pathways, apprenticeships, early college high schools, early graduation options, or digital learning opportunities;

3)     Rethinking the times and places that learning occurs, including lengthening or flexing the school day or school year, moving learning beyond the traditional school building, or incorporating expanded learning opportunities;

4)     Implementing forms of school governance that include the engagement of teachers, parents, and community members;

5)     Designing learning environments that include student input in the guidance and career development for K-12 students;

6)     Creating additional job classifications for certified or classified staff beyond the traditional roles of teacher and instructional assistants and compensating staff on schedules other than single salary schedules.

Dean Provence Endowment Grant Winners Announced

Pictured l-r: Tammy Almand, Katie Kidd, Tracy Vainisi, Julie Eaton, Mary Beth Muncie, and Keith Conlee, President of Endowment Board. Not Pictured: Lee Allen Holt.

The Dean Provence Endowment for Excellence in Education Board has announced the allocation of funds totaling nearly $12,800 to teachers in the New Albany School District (NASD). In an effort to maximize the effectiveness of the awards, this year grants were directed to New Albany Middle School, New Albany High School and NASTUC.  Endowment funding will be used for equipment and materials in the classroom that are not typically covered by the school budget.

The Endowment for Excellence in Education was begun in 1986 as the vision of School Board member Dean Provence. Provence, a New Albany native, was an active volunteer in both school and community activities. Through his volunteer efforts, he recognized the need for additional funding in the schools for projects and classroom materials, and was instrumental in establishing the endowment fund. Following his death, the locally supported endowment fund was renamed in memory of Provence and has continued to provide needed funding to classrooms in the New Albany Schools for more than twenty-five years. Since 1986, the Endowment has provided approximately $359,000 in support to the NASD.

The endowment is funded through individual and corporate contributions and fundraising events sponsored by the Endowment Board. Contributions to the Dean Provence Endowment for Excellence in Education are accepted throughout the year and may be mailed to New Albany Schools, Attention: Melanie Anderson, 301 Hwy. 15 North, New Albany, MS 38652.

Project – Applicant – School – Amount Awarded

Special Effects Lighting Production, Mary Beth Muncie, New Albany High School, $8,439

INAYEMS News, Tracy Vainisi & Julie Eaton, New Albany Middle School, $2,600

STEM Robotics, Lee Allen Holt & Tracy Vainisi, New Albany Middle School, $933

Flexible Seating, Tammy Almand, NASTUC, $312

Teen Life Skills Series, Katie Kidd, NASTUC, $499



New Albany School District Promotes National Dropout Prevention Month During October

October is National Dropout Prevention Month, a time to focus on increasing awareness of the long-term effects on students, the economy, and society when students drop out of school. National Dropout Prevention Month challenges our nation to become better informed about how to prevent students from dropping out of school.

The New Albany School District is committed to student achievement, student attendance, and dropout prevention this school year and in the coming years.

To promote awareness and better prepare for putting dropout prevention measures in place, a team from the National Dropout Prevention Center visited New Albany High School (NAHS) in the spring of 2017 for the purpose of interviewing staff and collecting data.  This team prepared a report for the high school which offered ideas and strategies for improving the dropout rate.

Dr. Mark Wilson, who is considered an expert in dropout prevention, conducted a two-day session with school administrators and counselors on specific strategies each school could use in their dropout prevention plans.

“Our district dropout prevention team has worked very hard to create a dropout prevention plan for our district,” said Superintendent Lance Evans.  “This is an ongoing process where our team meets on a regular basis to report on progress and seek input.”

Evans credited the high school for their work with students on credit recovery, as well as the work the elementary and middle schools are doing to insure that dropout prevention starts in the early years of a student’s education.

John Ferrell, NAHS Principal, explained that several students graduated in May 2017 because of the credit recovery opportunities that had been made available to them.  He also noted that students that are juniors and seniors have been identified that are behind a grade level or more in school.  The counselors are working with these students on an individual basis to develop a plan on completing credit recovery courses so that they can graduate on time with their age level peers.

The decision to drop out of school is not due to one single factor. It is the result of a process that often begins years before the actual event. Communities that understand the life-long impact for students who drop out of school and that work together to support at-risk students, however, can help decrease the likelihood that students will drop out of school. Begun early, effective prevention initiatives are the result of community-wide efforts that involve families, businesses, faith-based organizations, and schools.

National Dropout Prevention Month encourages public, private and nonprofit entities to raise awareness of the issue and encourage all students to stay in school for the brighter future it means.

The Alliance for Excellent Education reported that, on average, non-graduates earn $8,000 less per year than high school graduates; rely more heavily on public health services; are more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system; are more likely to rely on various sources of public assistance and welfare; often experience quality-of-life challenges as a result of lower income levels and higher rates of public dependence; and are less likely to vote, have poorer health, and have shorter life expectancies than graduates.

“We understand that dropout prevention is a commitment and partnership between the schools, community, businesses, and families,” Evans emphasized.   “We are working hard to make sure that the schools are working hard to increase our graduation rate and lower the number of dropouts in the New Albany School District.”