New Stage Theatre Provides Performances for New Albany Schools

New Stage Theatre, a professional theatre located in Jackson, Mississippi, presented in-school performances of The Selfish Giant and Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad to students in the New Albany School District on February 16-17.

New Albany Elementary School hosted two performances of The Selfish Giant on Thursday, February 16.  Oscar Wilde’s classic children’s story about The Selfish Giant who wouldn’t share his beautiful garden becomes a joyous play that touches on themes of friendship, empathy, sharing, and kindness. The giant comes home from a long trip to find children playing in his garden. He kicks them out, threatening to bring them to justice for trespassing. But a harsh winter—in the form of comic characters Frost, Snow, and North Wind—brings the realization to the giant that the children who used to trespass in his garden implanted friendship in this special place. The giant’s heart melts in a life-changing moment, and spring, along with the children, returns to his garden.

Oh Freedom!  The Story of the Underground Railroad was presented to New Albany Middle School and New Albany High School students on Friday, February 17.  The greatest collaboration against racism in American history, before the Civil Rights Movement, was the Underground Railroad. People of all ethnic backgrounds, of both sexes, and from North and South came together to resist the oppression of slavery by helping escaped slaves make their way to free territory in the years before the Civil War. Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad celebrates these alliances by combining the many stories with songs of the period. Famous participants like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe are represented as well as lesser known heroes of the movement like John Rankin, whose house on a hill was a beacon for freedom; the mysterious “Peg Leg” Joe who moved among the plantations teaching slaves to escape and “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a song designed to show them the way; and Henry “Box” Brown who had himself put in a box and mailed to freedom. The production will encourage student audience participation in the singing of traditional spiritual, “Oh, Freedom.” The story inspires all to work together for the good of all as it celebrates a time when Americans were at their courageous best, supporting one another—regardless of background, ethnicity or gender—in the cause to extend to all Americans our greatest, most inalienable right: freedom.

New Stage Theatre is a professional not-for-profit theatre.  New Stage Theatre’s Arts-in-Education tours are supported, in part, by Entergy, the Chisholm Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi, and the Mississippi Arts Commission.

NAES Second Grade Teacher Uses Flexible Seating Classroom

Two pedal desks have been added to Amber Peters’ flexible seating classroom thanks to funding from Dean Provence Endowment for Excellence in Education grant program.

Amber Peters, a second grade teacher at New Albany Elementary School, has implemented a flexible seating arrangement into her classroom this year.   The seating arrangement includes rocking game chairs, exercise balls, a couch, a cushioned chair, and carpet spots.

This month, Peters has been able to add two pedal desks to her arrangement thanks to funding from the Dean Provence Endowment for Education in Excellence grant program for teachers.

Peters says that she has read several articles about the different flexible seating options that are available, as well as the benefits of flexible seating in a classroom.  “Most of the research shows a slight improvement in student behavior and attention,” she stated.

If you were to visit this second grade classroom, you would notice a chart taking up a portion of the whiteboard.  This chart lets students know where they will sit for the day.  “My students are definitely excited about where they will sit each day. It gives them something to look forward to,” Peters said. I think they feel more at home, because most of the seats are relaxed. I believe there is an excitement to be at school which does spill over and help keep the students motivated to learn.”

2nd Grade students participate in a science lesson while enjoy flexible seating in rocking, gaming chairs.

When asked if she had noticed an increase in the improvement of behavior, Peters said that she had not had any discipline referrals or major discipline issues this year.   She did add that she has had to spend a small amount of time dealing with students who are having difficulty handing certain seating arrangements.  She has kept a few standard classroom desks in her room when instances such as this arise.

Flexible seating in the classroom is something Peters plans to continue next school year and is excited to see how a new class of students will respond to concept.

 

Dean Provence Endowment Winners Announced

Pictured L-R: Endowment Board Representative Carrie Rogers, Jalon Bullock, Chris Russell, Anita Alef, Nannette Ballard, Endowment Board President Keith Conlee
Pictured L-R: Endowment Board Representative Carrie Rogers, Jalon Bullock, Chris Russell, Anita Alef, Nannette Ballard, Endowment Board President Keith Conlee
dean-provence-2
Front Row l-r: Teresa Ohler, Tiffany Thrasher, Bridget Spencer, Neely Robertson, Amber Peters, Tameri Dunnam; back row l-r: Endowment Board Representative Chandler Rogers, Endowment Board Representative Carrie Rogers, Penny Logan, Tammie Dodds, Julie Hatcher, Susan Kelly, April Hobson, Lori Henson, Lisa Skinner, Julia Harrington, Endowment Board President Keith Conlee, Jordan Murry.

The Dean Provence Endowment for Excellence in Education Board has announced the allocation of funds totaling nearly $11,700 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 Elementary School and the New Albany School of Career & Technical Education.  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 $347,000 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 — Amount Awarded

STEM Activities, Tameri Dunnam, $974.85

Character Chronicles, April Hobson, $683.05

Shoebox Task for Learning, Susan Kelly, $325.00

Lister & Learn Phonics, Kindergarten Teachers, $3,280.00

Phonemic Awareness Software, Bridget Spencer, $129.00

Library Enhancement, Lisa Skinner, $2,835.36

Learning History through Literature, Teresa Ohler, $751.92

Kinesthetic Classroom, Amber Peters, $245.56

Selling, Alison Moore, $119.95

Filming a Commercial, Alison Moore, $104.33

Parrot Drone Flight Coding, Jalon Bullock, $609.89

Teaching to Use Mounted Cameras, Chris Russell, $649.00

Consequences of Obesity, Nannette Ballard, $495.00

Guiding Children’s Behavior, Nannette Ballard, $60.00

Stand Up Mixer, Anita Alef, $400.00

 

Ollie Otter Teaches Children to Buckle Up

seatbelt-safety

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.