The Communicator newspaper with GSD info

July Newsletter 2017

photo of superintendent Dr. David Daigneault

Superintendent's Message

World-Class Counseling

I encounter many successful Grenada High School alumni who have gone on to achieve their dreams. Every one of them credits their success in part to people along the way who helped inspire and push them to do their best.

We want to give every student in Grenada School District that same push. Our hope is this: if each child knows that someone in the school - aside from teachers and friends - truly cares about his or her progress, then that student will be more motivated to succeed. That is why, this summer, we're revamping our counseling program. After all, a school with as many opportunities as Grenada deserves nothing less than a world-class counseling department!

This upcoming fall semester, we'll launch a district-wide student advocate program that aims to provide each student, from kindergarten through 12th grade, with an adult mentor to guide them on a path of study that fits their interests, as well as help them succeed academically, socially, and emotionally.

This mentoring begins in the elementary school, where we strive for strong foundations. Providing om youngest students with the desire and confidence to excel will help ensure that the innovative programs we're putting in place will be filled by a coming wave of hungry learners. At Grenada Elementary, we're expanding the role of our counselors, who already do a terrific job. They meet with some students individually and see the rest during periodic classroom visits, where they teach lessons designed to develop the self-discipline, ambition, and social skills needed to succeed. Our elementary counselors work with teachers to customize character-building lesson for each unique group of children, whether it be a lesson on bullying or activities to help build study habits. They also endorse good "Charger Traits," illustrating how respectful behavior and communication enhances one's chances of success. As early as kindergarten, concepts of career planning are introduced. The kids are shown how grown-ups choose a career they enjoy and work hard together to make a community function. The elementary-school expansion of Project Lead the Way, our district-wide advanced learning program, will further expand the children's awareness of potential new career paths in science and technology.

As students progress through each grade, counselors will begin to meet with them individually to detennine if they need a boost of confidence or mentoring, all the while reinforcing the importance of keeping grades high in order to meet their goals. At Grenada Upper Elementary, we're implementing a transition program to educate fifth graders and their parents about the many new options at the middle school with our new emphasis on innovation and career pathways.

Nowhere is counseling-based communica-tion more important than at the middle and high school level, where students will begin plotting their career aspirations. Just like in colleges and universities, students at Grenada Middle and High School will chart their own course of study, based on their individual interests and career aspirations.Opportunities for students to take Project Lead the Way classes increase significantly in middle school, where students will be introduced to exciting new areas of study, including medicine, engineering, and robotics. By this point, they'll have a better idea of where they want to go in life. In eighth grade, students will meet multiple times with their counselor to develop a path of study in their field of interest. By the end of the school year, they will have worked with their counselor to complete an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP). They'll set goals for themselves, whether it be a route to college or straight to a career out of high school, and proceed down the right path. What if a student starts out on a pathway to a career in medicine and becomes interested in robotics? Is it too late to switch to engineering? Never! Students will have frequent opportunities throughout high school to meet with their advocate to review and revise their pathway. What if a student plans to forego college and enter the workforce right away? At our Career and Technical School, the opportunities to advance in trades such as welding, carpentry, culinary arts, and automotive repair continue to expand, with more vocational learning on the horizon. Counselors will be able to establish connections with our many local partners in industry to match them with the right employer for hiring.

We envision counselors working with high school students to prepare them for college, both guiding them through college-prep courses and exams as well as directing them toward scholarship opportunities and helping them complete the often-rigorous applications. In addition to establishing new protocol for our comprehensive counseling program, we've been renovating sections of Grenada Middle and High Schools to accommodate new counseling centers where students can meet with counselors. We're also setting up counselor websites to make it easier for students to make appointments and communicate with their advocate. We want parents to know their child's advocate, so the district is planning lunch-hour workshops to keep parents updated on the new academic opportunities that continue to arise each semester.

Finally, our hard-working counselors at GSD have been saddled for too long with mountains of paperwork, so we're hiring new records clerks at GMS and GHS to schedule appointments, manage records, and enroll students, taking some of the load off counselors to give them time to do what they do best — guiding students to success.

At GSD, we're always searching for ways to meet our goals. Our new comprehensive counseling program will be essential to meeting two of our biggest aims — to ensure that every student leaves high school with a diploma, and to prepare them for college and careers. We believe more meaningful, career-oriented counseling, catered to the needs of the individual, will produce more confident students who are better prepared to take advantage of career and educational opportunities after high school.

2017 Parent of the Year

2017 Parent of the Year
School Board President Arlene Conley (left) and Superintendent Dr. David Daigneault (right) congratulate 2017 Parent of the Year Cindy Kinard (center).

Cindy Kinard, commended for her "great rapport with students and staff" and her willingness to "always jump in and help," was selected by Grenada School District as Parent of the Year for 2017. The award recognizes a parent in the district who has made exceptional efforts to partner with the school and worked toward its improvement. Kinard was nominated for the award by Grenada Middle School Principal Marshall Whittemore, who noted her "countless hours raising money and coordinating for our Parent-Teacher Organization."

Kinard spearheaded the middle school's PTO this year, bringing together other parent volunteers to help raise funds and work during special school events. She coordinated the sales and distribution of candy bars during the organization's biggest fundraiser and arranged for the top sellers to take a break from class and watch a BMX and inline stunt show at Charger Stadium. The PTO performed smaller services throughout the year as well. Kinard and her fellow volunteers provided perks and incentives such as feeding judges at the reading and science fairs, distributing water to students during particularly hot pep rallies, and rewarding students for good grades with a movie day and a trip to see the Memphis Redbirds play baseball.

"We also try and do things to show appreciation for our middle school teachers, who don't always get the credit they deserve," said Kinard. The PTO acknowledged help from lo-cal business such as Grocery Basket and Wal-Mart, which provided in-kind goods for their events.

"Everything invested to the PTO and the schools is an investment in the com-munity and the kids," Kinard said. "It provides a better atmosphere for learning." Kinard, who is married to Clint Kinard, said she likes volunteering with Grenada Schools so she can stay involved with her kids. She has two children currently in the district — Haley, a junior at Grenada High School, and Leah, an eighth grader at Grenada Middle School. Her son Justin graduated from Grenada High School in 2013.

21st Century Celebrates a Successful Year

Chris Booker (center) congratulated by 21st Century Program Director Lynne Russell (left) and GMS Assistant Principal Barry Rogers (right)
The 21st Century tutoring and skills program celebrated the accomplishments of students who attended classes for the year and summer with pizza parties. Students with perfect attendance for each program had their names entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card. The GMS winner for the school year was Chris Booker (center) congratulated by 21st Century Program Director Lynne Russell (left) and GMS Assistant Principal Barry Rogers (right).
Tanesha Applewhite (right) congratulated by Superintendent Dr. David Daigneault (left)
The GHS21st Century Celebrates a successful Year winner for the school year was Tanesha Applewhite (right) congratulated by Superintendent Dr. David Daigneault (left).

perfect attendence winner was Trey Wilbourn (right) congratulated by 21st Century Program Director Lynne Russell (left)
The 21st summer program perfect attendance winner was Trey Wilbourn (right) congratulated by 21st Century Program Director Lynne Russell (left).

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Culinary Students Create Themed Cake to Serve at Reception

Culinary class with themed cake
Culinary Arts students traveled to the Grenada Lake Visitors Center Museum to take part in the grand reopening reception of the Center. The students had a blast applying their newly acquired culinary skills to craft a themed cake especially for this occasion. Aaliyah Harbin and Tara Williamson used their artistic talents to create a unique design for the cake, which included - the lake, a camping scene, a log cabin and the sandy beach. After the design was created, each of the classes had a role in creating the scene and spent countless hours preparing the themed cake for the event. (l to r) Culinary Arts Instructor Lindsey Kelly, Rickeira Bowens, Jakiya Robinson, Safari Booker, Aaliyah Harbin, GCTC Director Joey Carpenter, and James Willis.

Summer Reading Camp Combines Learning with Fun

Studentsparticipate in
noodle boat race
Chloe Williams (left) and Jude Westmoreland (right) enjoy a little friendly pool noodle boat race to celebrate a great week of learning at Grenada Upper Elementary's summer reading camp.

By Pam Briscoe ELA Instructional Specialist
Grenada Upper Elementary recently hosted its first-ever summer reading and writing camp for entering 4th and 6th graders. During this four-day camp, students participated in several interactive sessions to learn about flying kites and sailing boats. Each day presented new opportunities to practice important literacy skills through reading, writing, and arts and crafts activities. Students ended their time at camp with a kite-flying and boat-racing competition. These summer camps have given our students a wonderful opportunity to explore reading and writing in a way they have never done before. Each day the kids were so excited to see what new topics we would be discussing and what arts and crafts projects we would be creating. We laughed. We played. Most of all, we learned. What an amazing summer camp it has been!

AmeriCorps Continues Service

AmeriCorps Continues Service
AmeriCorps member Ashley Taylor tutors at Grenada Upper Elementary.

By Gwen Woodson AmeriCorps Director

The Grenada School District Ameri- Corps Program recently received approximately $344,205 in federal funds and committed $272,734 to continue its work providing tutoring and mentoring to low performing K-8 students in the Grenada area. The funding award comes through the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS). Participating students in grades K-8 receive both in- and afterschool tutoring from AmeriCorps members.

The funding award will allow for the placement of 29 AmeriCorps tutors, Woodson said. GSD AmeriCorps members work directly with students who may be falling behind in class or struggling in math or reading. Local service sites include Grenada Elementary School, Grenada Upper Elementary School, and Grenada Middle School.

This program allows high-risk youth to receive the special one-on-one time and attention they would not otherwise receive, both in and out of the classroom. "The overall goal is that 80 percent of the student tutored will increase academically by 15 percent while reducing high school dropout rates and increasing academic engagement and success among the participating students.

In the 2016-17 program year, 29 AmeriCorps members will have served more than 1,237 students. To date, over 8,000 students have received assistance through the program since its conception in 2008.

AmeriCorps members are eligible for educational grant funding for tuition as well as assistance paying back qualifying student loans. Full-time members can earn a $5,815 education award and receive a monthly living stipend, healthcare coverage, and childcare reimbursement if they are income-eligible by completing 1,700 hours of service. The continued funding of the GSD AmeriCorps program is great news for both GSD and the Grenada community. We provide support to already existing educational resources to combine efforts and maximize the positive impact on our students. We also play a key role in cultivating volunteers for our community.

The 2016-2017 AmeriCorps class graduates in August, and the organization has already selected new members for the upcoming year, which starts in September. For more information about the Grenada School District AmeriCorps program, contact program director Gwen Woodson at gwoodson@grenadak12. com. For more information about Ameri Corps, visit
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District's Energy Conservation Program Pays Off to Sum of $1 million

Cake with Energy Coordinator
By Jamie Kornegay GSD Reporter

Six years ago, when an energy conservation company came to audit Grenada School District's energy consumption, Lynne Russell never imagined how much money the school was losing through common maintenance problems and wasteful practices.

"It's the little things," Russell said. "A small classroom refrigerator that costs $37 a year to power. Almost every class has one. If there's 130 classrooms in one building, then do the math."

Once she learned where to look, Russell found wasted dollars everywhere.

"The lights on the soft drink machine. You don't think about it, but that light is on 24/7, 365 days a year. Who benefits from it? The soft drink company. Who pays the light bill? We do. I had to call them repeatedly to get the bulbs removed. I was persistent times twenty."

Russell's conservation awakening came when the firm Energy Education (now Cenergistic) was recommended to GSD Superintendent Dr. David Daigneault. "They guaranteed us that if we didn't save more money on our utility bill in four years than we paid them to help implement the policy, they'd cut us a check for the difference," Daigneault said. "There was no way to lose money."

The district hired Cenergistic to help develop a conservation policy. The firm sent energy specialists to diagnose the district's energy waste and educated Russell, the school's on-site energy specialist, in ways to improve overall efficiency.

"Every three to four weeks they came and spent all day with me," Russell said. "They looked at blueprints, climbed in attics, went through bathrooms, and crawled around the kitchens … everything

you can imagine!" Among the issues they confronted was the upper elementary school's exorbitant utility bill, which was three times as high as the elementary building down the hill, despite being half the size. The problem was tracked down to the air-conditioning system and resolved.

At another school, they capped off an A/C duct blowing cold air into the attic, and identified 74 outdated, inefficient lighting fixtures in four school gyms, which were replaced with energy-efficient lights using LED bulbs.

"The maintenance department and its director, Jeff Pickle, were an important part of the equation," Russell said. "They inspected all the buildings, found problems, and came up with solutions."

Replacing fixtures and patching leaks was one thing. Changing personnel behavior presented its own unique challenges. Russell said she met resistance the first year. She would pester her co-workers at central office about turning off the office lights when they went to lunch or turning off the air-conditioner at night.

"The solutions were simple and common-sense," she said. "It was just convincing people of the value of doing it."

The new guidelines asked teachers to turn off lights, computers, and printers during unoccupied times as well as unplugging refrigerators and power strips over long breaks and holidays.

"To put it in perspective, if 450 computers were turned off for just three hours a day, based on an electricity rate of ten cents a kilowatt hour, we could save over $7,290 a year," Russell said. "Do you know how many computers we have in the district? 3,500!"

Russell's chief ally shutting off lights and pulling plugs was Cortiss Evans, the district's head of custodial services. Evans and her team of custodians were on the front line integrating the district's new policies.

"It wasn't hard," she said. "I just told everybody, this is how we do it now, and they did it. If they're working in the rooms on the east side of the building, the lights in the north, south, and west are off. Wherever they're working, that's where the lights are on."

Each day after students leave, the custodians check behind teachers and unplug lamps and appliances.

Evans said, "People fail to realize if an appliance is turned off and plugged in, it's still pulling electricity."

When the custodians are done cleaning each afternoon, they turn off the air-conditioning or heating.

After the first year, the new policies became the norm. "One thing that helped get everyone on board is that I started sending out letters throughout the year that told how much the school was saving," Russell said. "A hundred and eighty thousand dollars worth of savings in a year gets people's attention."

A component of Cenergistic's conservation plan was to inspire a commitment to sustainability through team-building throughout the district. Russell recently celebrated the success of this group effort by throwing a party at each school to thank teachers and staff for their help and to announce that, after six years, Grenada Schools had surpassed one million dollars in utility savings.

"It couldn't have been done without the assistance of the faculty, staff, custodians, maintenance — everyone in the district," she said. "They told us when we started, every one has to buy into it to make it work … and eveyrone did."

Utility spending is still the second largest line item in the school budget. With further funding cuts from the federal and state government, creative cost-cutting measures are more critical than ever. Fixes and updates continue throughout the district. Thermostats at central office and the high school run on wi-fi, which allows for better monitoring and control, and more are being converted, as needed, throughout the various schools. Also, as part of the ongoing high school renovation, all lights will be converted to LED bulbs, which Russell said will show considerable savings on future electric bills.

When asked if there was more that teachers and staff in each school could do to help in the conservation effort, Cortiss Evans smiled. "It's like anything," she said. "There's always room for improvement." "Hopefully, with a few changes in equipment," Russell said, "we can save another million in just five years!"

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