NAHS Interest Group Explores Ivy League Options

Interest groups are a new concept to New Albany High School (NAHS) this school year.  There’s a thirty minute slot of time each day, excluding Fridays, when students can attend an interest group session.  Sessions include club interests, school news, ping pong, diversity, fossils, Science Olympiad, and fishing, just to name a few.

There’s a unique interest group at NAHS that has been exposed to virtual field trips and a recent field trip to Nashville.  This group of students meets with the counselors on a regular basis to pursue their interest in the selective college admissions process.

NAHS Counselor Kalee Stanton explained that the school staff wants to expose students to the selective college admissions process and Ivy League schools, as well as increase the number of students who apply to these schools each year.

The counselors surveyed students in the gifted and accelerated English classes to gain information on students who may be interested in the selective college admissions process.

Students had the opportunity to skype with an admissions counselor from Duke during the fall semester.  Recently this group of students traveled to Vanderbilt University in Nashville to tour the campus and meet with an admissions counselor.

Throughout the year, these students have spent time during their interest group being exposed to common college applications, understanding the importance of essay development, and learning more about financial aid opportunities.  “During our time together, the students have also learned how important it is to develop their leadership skills, increase their community service commitment, and to continue developing good citizenship qualities,” Stanton added.

“We are very proud of these students and their commitment to academic excellence,” said NAHS Principal Lance Evans.   “It is our hope that we have equipped these students with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their future college plans.”



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.


Local School Districts to Celebrate School Board Member Recognition Week

The New Albany and Union County School Districts will join districts across the state to thank school board members during School Board Member Recognition Week, February 12-18, for their leadership and service to local school districts and communities.

“This week is a special opportunity to express our gratitude for the hard work of our school board members and to thank them for their dedication to this community and its children,” said Jackie Ford, Superintendent of New Albany Schools.

More than 750 Mississippians are members of local school boards.  School Boards are responsible for setting the vision and goals for the district. They work to provide a quality education for students in grades K-12 and to oversee the districts’ annual budgets. The school board also hires quality educators, sets district goals, adopts policies, and evaluates progress while keeping the interests of our students first. They also serve as the community’s voice in the school district and the district’s voice in the community.

“As school leaders, board members play an important role in engaging our community in supporting our public schools,” said Ken Basil, Superintendent of Union County Schools.

During School Board Member Recognition Week in Mississippi, the New Albany and Union County School Districts invite students, staff and community members to take part in honoring board members.

Serving the New Albany School District:  Jill Shaw, President; Brad Clayton; Penny Blissett; and David Rainey.

Serving the Union County School District:  Mickey Basil, President; Daphnia McMillen; Wayne Mahon; Terry Cook; and Mike Browning.