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
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
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
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
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).
The GHS21st Century Celebrates a successful Year winner for the school year was Tanesha Applewhite (right) congratulated by Superintendent Dr. David Daigneault (left).
The 21st summer program perfect attendance winner was Trey Wilbourn (right) congratulated by 21st Century Program Director Lynne Russell (left).
Culinary Students Create Themed Cake to Serve at Reception
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
Chloe Williams (left)
and Jude Westmoreland
a little friendly pool
noodle boat race
to celebrate a great
week of learning at
Grenada Upper Elementary's
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
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
Taylor tutors at
By Gwen Woodson
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.
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
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
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
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 www.americorps.gov
District's Energy Conservation Program Pays Off to Sum of $1 million
By Jamie Kornegay
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
"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
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
"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
"The solutions were simple and
common-sense," she said. "It was just
convincing people of the value of doing
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
"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.
"People fail to realize if an appliance is
turned off and plugged in, it's still pulling
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
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!"