Teachers from New Albany Elementary Attend Special Literacy Training

Thirteen teachers from New Albany Elementary School (NAES) recently participated in the Brainspring Phonics First© course in Ripley – an Orton-Gillingham-based training offered to teachers in districts participating in the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) by the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Special Education (MDE OSE).  Thirty-six school districts throughout Mississippi participate in the SSIP on a voluntary basis, with a focus on improving outcomes for ALL students through high quality professional development for teachers in effective, evidence-based literacy instructional strategies.

Participants have expressed their excitement about being able to incorporate these multi-sensory strategies into their classrooms.

“We are excited about the opportunity for our teachers to go through the Phonics First© training,” said Jamey Wright, prinicipal of NAES.  “We feel that training in evidence-based instructional strategies, such as Orton-Gillingham, will enable our staff to better meet the needs of all learners.”

The 5-day Phonics First© course in Ripley was the first of many planned throughout the state during the 2017-2018 school year to teach multi-sensory, Orton-Gillingham-based strategies to teachers to help them meet the needs of struggling students.  Orton-Gillingham is an approach often used with students diagnosed with dyslexia.  Having classroom teachers trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach ensures that teachers know and can use instructional strategies that research has shown help students learn to read.

Several more teachers from NAES are registered to attend upcoming Phonics First© trainings as well.  For more information about the Brainspring Phonics First© training being offered by the MDE OSE, please call the MS Department of Education at (601) 359-3498.

Walmart Truck Drivers Raise $1,000 for New Albany High School

The New Albany transportation office has chosen New Albany High School to receive a $1,000 donation as part of Walmart’s commitment to education.  Private Fleet truck drivers for Walmart – already among the safest drivers in the country – drove extra carefully during the week from July 22 through July 28, 2017.  For every accident-free mile they drove during that week, the Walmart Foundation made a financial contribution to local schools.
The Walmart Foundation is donating one cent for each accident-free mile driven by the drivers at each Walmart transportation office.  A school in the home region of each transportation office will receive at least $1,000 and as much as $5,000, based on the safety performance of local drivers.  During this year’s program, Walmart Transportation offices nationwide contributed over $148,000 to schools in their communities.
“This is just one of the many ways Walmart supports education across the country,” said David Simmons, general transportation manager at the New Albany Walmart distribution center.  “It’s also a great way to engage all of our drivers in raising money for our local schools.  This program serves as a great reminder to each of us that children are returning to classes and all drivers need to watch carefully for school buses and school children.”
Walmart’s Private Fleet is one of the largest in the United States and its more than 72 offices, including 8,300 drivers, supporting more than 4,500 Walmart stores, Sam’s Club locations and Neighborhood Markets in the U.S.

NAES Reading Fair Winners

Front row l-r: Wesley McLeroy, Heidee Sanford, Julianna Langley, Landon Evans, Prarthana Patel; second row l-r: Kailey Harris, Dawson Horn, Kemp Smith, Colby Anne Pickens, Ansley Coleman; back row l-r: Kate Ladner, Wyatt Taylor, Sam Mallette, Metlek Parida
Front row l-r: Bailey Cook, Macy Ligon, Gwen Ivy, Lilly Shannon, Miracle Hurd; back row l-r: Mason Tate, Jack Prather, Lucy King, Heidi Clayton Chanapon Weaver, Paxton Weaver. Not pictured: Joseph Petty, Claire Adkins, Samuel McClure, and Caurie Clayton.


The Annual Reading Fair was held at New Albany Elementary School on Thursday, October 19.  The following winners were announced:

Division A – Kindergarten – Individual Literary Fiction

1st Place:  Wesley McLeroy

2nd Place:  Kailey Harris

Division B – 1st Grade – Individual Literary Fiction

1st Place:  Heidee Sanford

2nd Place: Dawson Horn

3rd Place:  Kate Ladner

Division C – 2nd Grade – Individual Literary Fiction

1st Place:  Julianna Langley

2nd Place:  Kemp Smith

3rd Place:  Wyatt Taylor

Division D – 3rd Grade – Individual Literary Fiction

1st Place:  Landon Evans

2nd Place:  Colby Anne Pickens

3rd Place:  Sam Mallette

Division E – 4th/5th Grade – Individual Literary Fiction

1st Place:  Prarthana Patel

2nd Place:  Annsley Coleman

3rd Place:  Metlek Parida

Division H – Grades 3-5  – Informational Nonfiction

1st Place:  Lilly Shannon

2nd Place:  Miracle Hurd

3rd Place:  Joseph Petty

Division K – Grades PreK-2 –  Group Literary Fiction

1st Place:  Bailey Cook & Macy Ligon

2nd Place:  Gwen Ivy, Claire Adkins, Samuel McClure

Division L – Grades 3-5 – Group Literary Fiction

1st Place:  Mason Tate, Lucy King, & Jack Prather

2nd Place:  Chanapon Weaver & Paxton Weaver

3rd Place:  Heidi Clayton & Caurie Clayton


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.”