Ollie Otter Teaches Children to Buckle Up


Children at New Albany Elementary School now know about Mississippi’s booster seat law after a visit from a delightful furry mascot named Ollie Otter.  The law requires that children ages 4 – 7 must be in booster seats if they are under 4’9” tall or under 65 pounds. Ollie Otter says “You Otter Buckle Up!”

According to Kim Pee of Mississippi Safety Services, crash researchers have found that young children are too small for seatbelts and must have booster seats for the seat belt to fit correctly across their strong arm, shoulder, and hip bones.   She states “Obviously, no seat belt at all is the worst case scenario.  Of 100 children who die in motor vehicle collisions when they are not buckled in, if they had been buckled in correctly, 70 of the children could have lived.  It is so sad and so preventable.  In addition to deaths in crashes, many children suffer permanent damage such as brain injuries.”

Ollie Otter helped measure the children in PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st grade and found that nearly 100% of the students were too small for seat belts only and are safer if they use booster seats when they are passengers.  Ms. Pee explains that seat belts are made for a 160-pound adult and are just too big for young children. The children also learned that they are 2 times safer in the back seat.

Ms. Pee also presented the school with a “Buckle Up” street sign.  This sign will be placed on campus to raise awareness about seat belt safety and as a reminder to passengers to buckle up before leaving the campus.

Pictured L-R:  NAES Principal Jamey Wright; NAES School Resource Officer P.J. Doyle; Mississippi Safety Services Presenter Kim Pee; NAES Counselor April Hobson
Pictured L-R: NAES Principal Jamey Wright; NAES School Resource Officer P.J. Doyle; Mississippi Safety Services Presenter Kim Pee; NAES Counselor April Hobson

This brain injury prevention program is a special presentation of Mississippi Safety Services and the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation.  Mississippi Safety Services has been providing Defensive Driving Courses statewide for 25 years.  For additional information, contact 601-924-7815, orinfo@MSsafety.com.


New Albany Elementary School Receives $3,000 Grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to Support Youth Literacy

[New Albany, MS] – September 1, 2016 —The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded New Albany Elementary School a $3,000 grant to support youth literacy.  This local grant is part of $4.5 million in youth literacy grants awarded to approximately 1,000 organizations across the 43 states that Dollar General serves. Given at the beginning of the academic school year, these grants are aimed at supporting teachers, schools and organizations with resources to strengthen and enhance literacy instruction.

Jamie Glenn, a first grade teacher at NAES, submitted the grant proposal “Inspiring Through Literacy” for her classroom.  Through grant funding, Glen will purchase and add iPads and leveled guided reading books to her classroom library to be used for literacy activities.

“By awarding these grants, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to making a meaningful impact in our local communities,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “These grants provide funds to support youth literacy initiatives and educational programs throughout the communities we serve to ensure a successful academic year for students.”

Committed to helping increase the literacy skills of individuals of all ages, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $127 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping nearly 7.9 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education since its inception in 1993.  The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards grants each year to nonprofit organizations, schools and libraries within a 20-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center to support adult, family, summer and youth literacy programs.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation also supports customers interested in learning how to read, speak English or prepare for the high school equivalency test.  At the cash register of every Dollar General store, customers may pick up a brochure with a postage-paid reply card that can be mailed in for a referral to a local organization that offers free literacy services.


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 www.HealthyMS.com/immunizations. To secure an appointment for immunizations at the Union County Health Department, call 662-534-1926.


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.

NAES Celebrates Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness

The eighth annual World Autism Awareness Day was April 2, 2016. Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability  that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with autism look that sets them apart from other people, but people with autism may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with autism can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with autism need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.

People with autism often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with autism also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Signs of autism begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.  “Autism awareness is a key factor in helping our students become the best they can be at any level of performance. Over the years of my service to students with autism, they never cease to surprise me at their ability to learn and grow when given the opportunity and taught in a way that makes sense to them. I feel like the best part of autism awareness is giving parents, teachers, and children hope that achievement and success are obtainable and not just an unreachable dream,” says Amy Chapman, Behavior Specialist at New Albany Elementary School.

Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis. Autism can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable.  However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until much older. This delay means that children with autism might not get the early help they need. According to Dawn Stroupe, a 5th grade teacher at NAES who has an autistic child, “Obtaining a diagnosis of autism can be extremely difficult. However, as a parent, if you feel that something is different about your child, please continue to ask questions and search until you get answers. Early intervention is so important in the treatment of autism. Having a child with autism is not the end of the world; it is merely the beginning of a new amazing world.”

About 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. Autism is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Autism is about 4.5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189).

Spreading autism awareness in schools is a great way to celebrate April and promote inclusion and acceptance in the classroom and beyond. New Albany Elementary teachers and staff are promoting autism awareness throughout the month of April by wearing blue on Fridays. “This year we even have special puzzle piece blue shirts to celebrate our wonderful students and families who know firsthand the struggles that autism brings. The puzzle piece signifies the complexity of autism and stands for… ‘Until all the pieces fit together and we understand everything about autism.’ Our school is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our students and their families,” added Tammie Reeder, Health Services Coordinator, New Albany Schools.