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.”

4th Grade EXCEL Students Explore Poetry

Ninabeth Capaning’s fourth grade EXCEL class at New Albany Elementary School has been participating in a unit of study on poetry.

Students wrote poems and created water color illustrations to be used as table decorations for the Faulkner Literary Luncheon which was held on Friday, September 22.

On Tuesday, September 26, these students traveled to the Union County Heritage Museum to participate in a Poetry Workshop coordinated by Linda Everett of the Faulkner Literary Committee.

During the workshop, students listened to a poetry reading from Samantha Cavender, a published poet from Holly Springs.  Museum Director Jill Smith gave students a brief tour of the museum’s animal exhibit, Faulkner Room, and Faulkner Garden to provide inspiration for the students’ writings during the workshop.   Everett led the fourth grade students in a brain storming session and gave tips on how to construct a diamante poem.

The students will return to their classroom to revise their rough drafts, write their final poems, and create illustrations to be displayed with their poetry.

“What a wonderful opportunity for our students to be exposed to William Faulkner, a published poet, our local museum, and an opportunity to write poetry,” said Capaning.  “We appreciate the Faulkner Literary Committee and the Museum for allowing us to participate in such a unique event.”





NAES Students Enjoy Relay for Life Field Day

Students received a free bicycle helmet through the Brain Matters program.
Health Rotation Assistant Teacher Carolyn Montgomery presents a Reject All Tobacco (RAT) lesson to students.

New Albany Elementary students enjoyed a day of fun and education while raising money for the American Cancer Society at the Relay for Life Field Day on May 15, 2017.  This year the students and staff raised approximately $3,000.00.

School Resource Officer P.J. Doyle discusses safety tips including stranger danger and using the buddy system.

“Field Day was a great time for us to bring together many of the components of Coordinated School Health that we work with throughout the school year,” said Tammie Reeder, School Health Coordinator.  “Health education, physical education, and family and community involvement are three very important components of Coordinated School Health that we were able to address during our annual Relay for Life Field Day.”

Students participated in several educational activities and fun events during the day-long field day. Children learned health and safety information, played fun games, enjoyed snacks, and were entertained by fellow students during the annual talent show.

Representatives from local and state organizations were on hand to teach important concepts related to health and safety.  Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County provided education related to summer safety.  The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers provided information regarding water safety.  School Resource Officer P.J. Doyle spoke to students about basic safety tips include “stranger danger”.  Health Rotation Assistant Teacher Carolyn Montgomery provided an education station and discussed the harmful effects of tobacco.

This year, the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation had representatives to present the “Brain Matters” program which focused on wearing helmets.  Each student received a free bike helmet through this presentation.

The closing program for the day honored cancer survivors who were special guests of NAES students.  The ceremony was dedicated to the memory of C.J. Garner, a student at NAES who lost his battle to cancer in August 2016.  His family were special guests during the ceremony and his second grade classmates sang a song in his memory.

“We appreciate all of the help we received from area agencies, our own NAES staff, as well as students and parents,” Reeder said.  “This day is a lot of fun and educational awareness that our students look forward to each year.”

Students learn about water safety and the importance of learning to swim.

New Albany Students Attend Career & Technology Day

The New Albany School of Career & Technical Education hosted “Career & Technology Day” on Friday, May 5 on the campus of New Albany High School.

Career and Technology Day began as Technology Day in 2009 to expose high school students to the technology used in industries and careers in the northeast Mississippi area. The event has been held annually since 2009 and has grown to include more college and career related information.

This year the Career and Tech Day was expanded to include students from 3rd-8th grade in the New Albany School District.  Students from New Albany Elementary School and New Albany Middle School were able to participate in this year’s event and received backpacks to place the career information they received during the day.

Career and Technology Day was funded through the “PRIDE through College and Career Awareness” grant that the New Albany School District received through funding from the Toyota Wellspring Fund.

More than twenty-five exhibitors and presenters were on hand to inform students about their careers, as well as describe the technology that is used in their careers.   Vendors included:  Blue Mountain College; Northeast Mississippi Community College; University of Mississippi; MSU Extension Service; Miracle Ear; Rowan Dentistry; Mississippi Game and Fish; Mississippi Forestry Commission, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers; Leggett and Platt; MooreSites; Cooper Electric; BNA Bank; New Albany Light, Gas, & Water; Tennessee Valley Authority; Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County; New Albany Police Department; New Albany Fire Department; Union County Sheriff’s Department; Northeast Union County Volunteer Fire Department; Mississippi Highway Patrol; Mississippi National Guard; Mississippi Department of Health; Mississippi Department of Human Services; and WTVA News.



NA Recycles Visits NAES First Grade

First grade students at New Albany Elementary School (NAES) have been participating in a unit of study that focuses on taking care of our Earth.  As a culminating event, students learned more about recycling.

Community volunteer Amy Livingston, representing NA Recycles, visited first grade classes on May 1.

First grade teachers, Livingston, NAES Counselor April Hobson, and NAES School Resource Officer P.J. Doyle worked together to plan the event.

Livingston, Doyle, and Hobson performed a skit to show students how to reduce, reuse, and recycle.  Doyle played the part of “Michael Recycle”.

During the presentation, students learned the chant:  “Recycle, Recycle do it now.  Recycle, Recycle you know how.  Recycle, Recycle we yell ‘wow’”.   Students also sorted objects to recycle and decided if an item could be reused.

“The collaboration among our school, the city, and New Albany Recycles has taught our students the importance of recycling and allowed us to incorporate recycling as a daily part of life at NAES!,”  Counselor April Hobson said about this year’s focus on recycling at NAES.

Livingston added, “In order to be better stewards of the environment, I believe education is the key and we need to start young!”