Harris Named STAR Student

Sarah Kathryn Harris has been named STAR Student for the 2017-2018 school year by the Mississippi Economic Council M. B. Swayze Foundation, sponsor of the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program.

The New Albany High School senior will be honored during the annual Education Celebration on April 12, 2018, at the Jackson Convention Complex in downtown Jackson.

Sponsors for this prestigious event and the Mississippi Economic Council are:  AT&T; Atmos Energy; BancorpSouth; Barksdale Management; Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi; Cooperative Energy, Electric Cooperative of Mississippi; Entergy Mississippi; Ergon, Inc.; Ingalls Shipbuilding; Mississippi Power Company; Nissan North America, Inc.; Sanderson Farms, Inc.; Trustmark National Bank; Walmart; and Yates Construction.  Additional local support for the STAR program is provided by MEC members from communities across the state.

STAR Students are selected on the basis of academic excellence. Both American College Test scores and scholastic averages are compared to determine the school’s STAR Student, explained Vickie Powell of Jackson, Senior Vice President of Foundations. “The STAR program encourages and promotes academic achievement among Mississippi’s high school seniors,” she said.

Harris is the daughter of Matt & JJ Harris.  She is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Government, Spanish Club, National Technical Honor Society, Technology Student Association, and FBLA.  Harris is an honor roll student and has received many academic awards.  She is a member of the NAHS soccer team.  She participates in the Northeast Mississippi Youth Foundation and is a graduate of the Union County Leadership Academy.

Each STAR Student is asked to designate a STAR Teacher, the classroom teacher who has made the greatest contribution to the student’s scholastic achievement.  Harris chose Gladys Pounders as her STAR teacher.


“I Heart School Breakfast” Campaign Encourages Students to Choose Breakfast at School

To encourage more families to take advantage of the healthy choices available for school breakfast, New Albany Elementary School celebrated National School Breakfast Week during March 5-9, 2018.

Busy weekday mornings make it a challenge for many families to find time for a healthy breakfast. However, US Department of Agriculture data show that more and more students are starting their day with a nutritious breakfast in their school cafeterias. Studies show that students who eat school breakfast are more likely to:

  • Reach higher levels of achievement in math
  • Score higher on standardized tests
  • Have better concentration, memory and alertness
  • Have improved attendance, behavior, and academic performance
  • Maintain a healthy weight

The National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) campaign theme, “I Heart School Breakfast”, reminded the entire school community that school breakfast provides a healthy and energizing start to the day for students. Students were encouraged to show their enthusiasm for “I Heart School Breakfast” from March 5-9 with special cafeteria events:

  • Monday, March 5-Students were able to watch The Emoji Movie while eating breakfast.
  • Tuesday, March 6-Members of the New Albany Police & Fire Departments joined NAES students for breakfast.
  • Wednesday, March 7-School administrators helped serve breakfast to NAES students.
  • Thursday, March 8-A photo booth was set up for students to participate in during breakfast at the NAES cafeteria.
  • Friday, March 9-Student athletes from New Albany High School joined elementary students for breakfast.

“A healthy breakfast at the start of the day is one way to ensure students are getting the best education possible,” said Tammie Reeder, School Health Services Coordinator for New Albany Schools. “National School Breakfast Week helps us educate parents and students about all the healthy, great tasting, and appealing choices we offer.”

School nutrition professionals in the New Albany School District prepare breakfast and lunches every day that meet federal nutrition standards – limiting fat, calories and sodium – while encouraging students to choose from the fruits, vegetables and whole grains offered with school meals.”

The “I Heart School Breakfast” campaign was made possible by the School Nutrition Association and Kellogg’s®.  National School Breakfast Week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program, a federally assisted meal program operating in public and non-profit private schools and residential child care institutions since 1975. 

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.

HOSA District Winners

The student organization HOSA-Future Health Professionals recently held the district leadership competition at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS. April Voyles is the Health Science instructor and also serves as the HOSA advisor. The New Albany Career and Technical Center at New Albany High School had twenty-four students to participate in the competition. Twenty-one of the twenty-four students are eligible to compete at the HOSA state leadership competition in Jackson, MS in March.

HOSA District Winners:

Brooke Moody, 3rd place, Clinical Nursing

Sam Organ, 5th place, Home Health Aide

Brittney Robinson, 3rd place, Home Health Aide

Emily Sweatt, 2nd place, Medical Assisting

Isibelle Jackson, 3rd place, Medical Assisting

Tabitha Greenwood, 1st place, Nursing Assisting

Tia Gardner, 3rd place, Nursing Assisting

Colby Stafford, 1st place, Personal Care

Jenna Sampson, 3rd place, Veterinary Science

Shannon Boyd & Jack Durrett, 1st place, Community Response Team

Ana Rose Hamblin & Meagan Hamblin, 2nd place, Community Response Team

Maddie Flake & Hayley Ferguson, 3rd place, CPR/First Aid


Hailey Adsit, Alex Criswell, Sydney Collier, and Payton Robbins are eligible to compete at state competition in Public Service Announcement.  Bethany Farrar is eligible to compete at state competition in Dental Science.



FBLA Northern District Winners

Students from the New Albany High School Future Business Leaders of America club attended the Northern District competition on Thursday, February 15. The competition was held in Booneville at Northeast Mississippi Community College. The following students placed and will be competing at the state level in April:

Peyton Reeves – 1st place; advertising

Maggie Moore – 1st place; introduction to business communication

Hayden Anderson, Loden Bolen, and Jaelon Roby – 1st place; entrepreneurship

Sarah Kathryn Harris – 1st place; business law

Jack Durrett – 2nd place; healthcare administration

Adalyn Aldridge – 2nd place; insurance and risk management

Savannah Chen, Taylor Huffman, and Kenidi Sanders – 2nd place; marketing

Hannah Harrison – 2nd place; networking concepts

Isabelle Campbell, Molly Scott, Rachel Rainey, Avery Robbins, and Jamie Lewis – 2nd place; parliamentary procedure

Sanders Goode – 2nd place; personal finance

Parker Reid – 2nd place; word processing

Lane Mitchell – 3rd place; public speaking

Madilyn Morris – 4th place; impromptu speaking

Taylor Willis – 4th place; introduction to public speaking

Katie Topper – 4th place; agribusiness

Dayton Hall – 4th place; computer problem solving

Maria Favela, Juanita Gomez, and Meredith Prescott – 5th place; global business

Isabella Aldridge – 5th place; introduction to business

Kalob Adair, Zack Ball, and Addison Ziegler – 5th place; sports and entertainment management

Joshua Montgomery – 6th place; business calculations

Meadow Golden and Emma Myers – 6th place; banking and financial systems

Roxanna Guzman and Miranda Maldonado – 6th place; hospitality management