The Communicator newspaper with GSD info


November Newsletter 2017

photo of superintendent Dr. David Daigneault

Superintendent's Message

Good Enough is Never Enough

Grenada School District has received its 2017 accountability grades from the Mississippi Department of Education, and this year, we earned a grade of B. To put that in perspective, Grenada placed in the top 28 percent, ranking 40th out of 147 other state school districts.

The accountability grades are determined by student performance on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) tests for English and math, which are taken annually by students in third through eighth grade. High school grades are determined by graduation rates, advanced coursework, and student performance on algebra I, English II, biology, history, and ACT tests.

As a district, Grenada is up from last year's grade — a C — but we can still do better … and we will. We are!

The most impressive data that we've pulled from these detailed test results shows exactly where the district is performing at a high level. Third grade math scores were ranked #15 in the state, and the corresponding English scores were ranked #13. Other high rankings in math included the fourth grade (#14), fifth grade (#23), and seventh grade (#17), where 49 students earned a perfect score on the MAAP test. Best of all, our eighth grade math finished 12th in the state with an impressive 45 students earning a perfect score.

Among all the accountability data, we've been able to discover not only our strengths but our weaknesses too.

In every grade, we work hard to close learning gaps. We've found effective technologies to help us recognize these weak spots, and then we target those areas with a combination of individualized student instruction as well as after-school tutoring, thanks to our AmeriCorps and 21st Century Community Learning programs.

One place we're striving to improve scores is in reading and language, which have fallen below our math and science scores. Grenada Elementary started tackling this a few years back in grades K-3 by implementing a new curriculum, Wonders, which aligns with iReady and places a strong emphasis on reading. We're encouraged by the results of the new reading focus, and it shows in our accountability scores. (Remember, the third graders ranked 13th in the state for language!)

The fourth and fifth grades implemented Wonders last year, and they've also started a new book club to encourage reading outside of class. New incentives for Accelerated Reading throughout the elementary school, as well as the K-3 challenge to read 10,000 books — if achieved, the kids will get to watch the principals and me eat lunch on the roof — are going a long way toward promoting a culture of reading in the elementary school.Grenada School District has received its 2017 accountability grades from the Mississippi Department of Education, and this year, we earned a grade of B.

To put that in perspective, Grenada placed in the top 28 percent, ranking 40th out of 147 other state school districts.

The accountability grades are determined by student performance on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) tests for English and math, which are taken annually by students in third through eighth grade. High school grades are determined by graduation rates, advanced coursework, and student performance on algebra I, English II, biology, history, and ACT tests. As a district, Grenada is up from last year's grade — a C — but we can still do better … and we will. We are!

The most impressive data that we've pulled from these detailed test results shows exactly where the district is performing at a high level. Third grade math scores were ranked #15 in the state, and the corresponding English scores were ranked #13. Other high rankings in math included the fourth grade (#14), fifth grade (#23), and seventh grade (#17), where 49 students earned a perfect score on the MAAP test. Best of all, our eighth grade math finished 12th in the state with an impressive 45 students earning a perfect score. Among all the accountability data, we've been able to discover not only our strengths but our weaknesses too.

In every grade, we work hard to close learning gaps. We've found effective technologies to help us recognize these weak spots, and then we target those areas with a combination of individualized student instruction as well as after-school tutoring, thanks to our AmeriCorps and 21st Century Community Learning programs.

One place we're striving to improve scores is in reading and language, which have fallen below our math and science scores. Grenada Elementary started tackling this a few years back in grades K-3 by implementing a new curriculum, Wonders, which aligns with iReady and places a strong emphasis on reading. We're encouraged by the results of the new reading focus, and it shows in our accountability scores. (Remember, the third graders ranked 13th in the state for language!)

The fourth and fifth grades implemented Wonders last year, and they've also started a new book club to encourage reading outside of class. New incentives for Accelerated Reading throughout the elementary school, as well as the K-3 challenge to read 10,000 books — if achieved, the kids will get to watch the principals and me eat lunch on the roof — are going a long way toward promoting a culture of reading in the elementary school.Grenada School District has received its 2017 accountability grades from the Mississippi Department of Education, and this year, we earned a grade of B.

To put that in perspective, Grenada placed in the top 28 percent, ranking 40th out of 147 other state school districts.

The accountability grades are determined by student performance on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) tests for English and math, which are taken annually by students in third through eighth grade. High school grades are determined by graduation rates, advanced coursework, and student performance on algebra I, English II, biology, history, and ACT tests.

As a district, Grenada is up from last year's grade — a C — but we can still do better … and we will. We are!

The most impressive data that we've pulled from these detailed test results shows exactly where the district is performing at a high level. Third grade math scores were ranked #15 in the state, and the corresponding English scores were ranked #13. Other high rankings in math included the fourth grade (#14), fifth grade (#23), and seventh grade (#17), where 49 students earned a perfect score on the MAAP test. Best of all, our eighth grade math finished 12th in the state with an impressive 45 students earning a perfect score.

Among all the accountability data, we've been able to discover not only our strengths but our weaknesses too.

In every grade, we work hard to close learning gaps. We've found effective technologies to help us recognize these weak spots, and then we target those areas with a combination of individualized student instruction as well as after-school tutoring, thanks to our AmeriCorps and 21st Century Community Learning programs.

One place we're striving to improve scores is in reading and language, which have fallen below our math and science scores. Grenada Elementary started tackling this a few years back in grades K-3 by implementing a new curriculum, Wonders, which aligns with iReady and places a strong emphasis on reading. We're encouraged by the results of the new reading focus, and it shows in our accountability scores. (Remember, the third graders ranked 13th in the state for language!)

The fourth and fifth grades implemented Wonders last year, and they've also started a new book club to encourage reading outside of class. New incentives for Accelerated Reading throughout the elementary school, as well as the K-3 challenge to read 10,000 books — if achieved, the kids will get to watch the principals and me eat lunch on the roof — are going a long way toward promoting a culture of reading in the elementary school.

Reading is one of the best ways to stimulate young imaginations, and we call on parents to help us with this task by swapping out some of those screen hours (both television and tablets) for reading time. Studies show that reading reduces stress, improves memory, and teaches empathy — all things that help make a happier, healthier child.

The rubric to calculate these scores is complex and ever-changing, but we must remain steadfast in our commitment to always pushing ahead. District-wide, we never settle for "good enough."

The Mississippi Department of Education recently named us a District of Innovation —one of only a handful in the state — which gives us the freedom to explore even more forward-thinking curriculum. We're fortunate to have the teachers and administrators who can carry out these plans, and we also benefit a great deal from parental input and the support of our community here in Grenada. We're casting a wide net at Grenada Schools, from bringing in three-year-old kids for our Pre-K program, to helping local adults earn their GED through our Education Center for Adult Learning. It's not just about making the grade. We're about changing the community.

We believe an educated community is a prosperous community.

GSD Hosts Annual Band Night

The Grenada School District band program presented 650 band students on Band Night to a packed stadium on October 17, 2017.

Five band students

Photo left Band students (l to r) Macie Kent, Ava Hunt, Anna Ferguson, Mary Faith Vande, and James Darren McRee

Four guard members

(l to r) Guard members Serina Tompkins, Kayla Herrington, Lexis Jones, and Hailey Tompkins

Two band students


(l to r) Lekita Norwood and Nadea Brady

Three Band students with xylophone

(l to r) Jadyn McMechan, Meredith Johnson, and Samaria Swims

three female band students
(front right) Shaunna George, (front left) Tempest Strickland, and (center back) Henna Dadlani

Two students in the band

(l to r) Lane Conner and Auston Strong

AmeriCorps Member of the Month


By Gwen Woodson
AmeriCorps Director

Shatasa Smith-Jones

Shatasa Smith-Jones, a second year member of the Grenada School District AmeriCorps Program (GSDAP), joined AmeriCorps because she wanted to be a vital influence in the lives of students, perhaps even the vital influence that changes the course of their lives for the better.

"I am committed to give my very best in serving the students of the Grenada School District," said Smith-Jones. "I have been assigned to the Grenada Elementary K-1 site as a tutor and team leader and will continue to represent GSDAP with honor and pride. I also enjoy helping the students. They challenge me and I get to challenge them back."

AmeriCorps members perform over 1,700 hours of service tutoring in the Grenada School District and serving in the community from September through August each year.

"My experience in AmeriCorps has been positive and has made a huge impact on me," said Smith-Jones. "I get to work with a diverse group of people from different backgrounds, which has given me a clear understanding of how our differences make us an effective team. Having the opportunity to work with a dedicated team of people, all striving to make the world a better place, is a truly humbling and inspiring experience. I've gotten to look at my life through a new lens, and I'm grateful for that."

Smith-Jones, a graduate from J. Z. George High School in Carrollton, is married to Ralpheal D. Jones. They have one child, Aaralynn Jones. Her daughter is her motivation to succeed. She will be inducted into the National Honors Society of Leadership and Success later this year.

Shatasa entered the program as a quiet and cautious participant and has turned out to be an exceptional leader and member. She shows so much passion and enthusiasm for her students, and she has really blossomed while serving in the program. It is really noticeable that she has found her true calling. I am very thankful to have her on my team.

"The program has been a great opportunity for me to develop my communication, leadership, and technical skills," said Smith-Jones. "I believe that these skills will prepare me for my career when I finish the program. Also, I am truly thankful for Mrs. Woodson and Mrs. Hubbard for encouraging and pushing me to do more and to be the best I can be. I am a better person because of my time in AmeriCorps."

Smith-Jones is currently working on a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and will use her education award ($5,815) to pursue a degree in Education.

ABOUT AMERICORPS
AmeriCorps programs do more than move communities forward; they serve their members by creating jobs and providing pathways to opportunity for young people entering the workforce. AmeriCorps places thousands of young adults into intensive service positions where they learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and develop an appreciation for citizenship.

AmeriCorps members serving through the AmeriCorps Network (AmeriCorps State and National) funded programs serve with local and national organizations to address critical community needs related to disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and in support of veterans and military families. Programs range from full time to part-time service and are found nationwide. There are currently ten programs in the state of Mississippi.

For more information about the Grenada School District AmeriCorps Program, contact program director Gwen Woodson at gwoodson@grenadak12.com. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov.


Grocery Basket ad

GES Green Top Principals' Breakfast

Green Top students with improved behavior

Students at Grenada Elementary Green Top were honored for good or improved behavior with an invitation to have breakfast with the principals. Students selected for October include(front, l to r) Fred Jefferson, Gavin McCluskey, Will Blaylock, Callie Rushing, McKenzie Ingle, Addison Bloodworth, (middle l to r) Harlee Johnson, Ciara Townes, Maylajah Conley, A'Lante Hubbard, Michael Cotton, Bryson Waugh, Ethan Walton, (back l to r) Principal Carol Tharpe, and Assistant Principal Johnny Daves.

Students at GES Green Top with improved behavior

(front, l to r) Jamaya Hubbard, Hannah Roberson, Rhianna Sanders, Shanvi Kher, Kelsey Hodges, (middle l to r) Skylar Mims, Alyssa Walker, Christian Vaughn, Alli Beck, Zion Welch, (back l to r) Principal Carol Tharpe, and Assistant Principal Johnny Daves
Photos by Krystal Laster


Charters ad

GCTC Students Tour Toyota


Career and Technical Students tour the Toyata plant
Grenada Career and Technical students (l to r) David Amorin, Amanda Parker, Dylan Ables, Cade Whitfield, Gage Rokasky, Alex Ferguson, Alex Shepherd, Evan Hobson, Phillip Cook, Peyton Estes, and Josh Allen recently toured the Toyota manufacturing plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi.

Career Clusters

sponsored by Wal-Mart logo

A passion for justice. A mind for planning. A desire to protect and defend your fellow citizens. Students who possess these traits may be suited for a career in Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security.

The non-profit group Advance CTE (Career Technical Education) has established a program to help students interested in a profession in Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security by developing a path of study in high school and college. This framework is called Career Clusters, and among the 16 categories, each of which represent a major sector of the U.S. job market, is Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security.

Jobs in this field may require you to protect people from harm, crime, or natural disaster. Job opportunities range from public safety officers to legal service providers.

Some driving trends that make this a viable and evolving career field for students are increased use of technology, changes in local and national laws, and an aging population of public service employees who are preparing to cycle out of the work force. Students can gear their education and training toward a career in Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security program as early as high school. As a student continues his or her education, there are a variety of community and technical college programs, industry certifications and four-year degrees that will help them succeed in that field.

Industry certifications include Fire Service Communications for dispatch officers at a fire station, Certified Protection Officer program provides study for security officers, and Emergency Medical Technician for ambulance and emergency teams. Students who wish to go on to college for further study may aspire to an associate's degrees in criminal justice and fire science or a bachelor's degree in criminology, criminal justice, or pre-law. The five pathways in this cluster include:

Correction Services Pathway
Workers in the Correction Services pathway are responsible for overseeing individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in a jail, reformatory, or penitentiary. While the primary mission of corrections is protection of the public, many in this field are involved with the treatment, education, and reintegration of offenders — from prison facility maintenance workers and medical staff to parole officers and youth service workers.

Emergency and Fire Management Services Pathway
Every year, fires and other emergencies take thousands of lives and destroy property worth billions of dollars. Firefighters and emergency services workers help protect the public against these dangers by rapidly responding to a variety of emergencies. They are frequently the first emergency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident or medical emergency and may be called upon to put out a fire, treat injuries or perform other vital functions. Jobs include fire fighters, paramedics, emergency management coordinators, fire inspectors, and canine-training officers.

Law Enforcement Services Pathway
People depend on police officers and detectives to protect their lives and property. Law enforcement officers have duties that range from controlling traffic to preventing and investigating crimes. They maintain order; enforce laws and ordinances; issue traffic summonses; investigate accidents; present evidence in court; serve legal documents for the court system; and apprehend, arrest and process prisoners.

Legal Services Pathway
The legal system affects nearly every aspect of our society, from buying a home to commuting to a job. Workers in the Legal Services pathway form the backbone of this vital system. They hold positions of great responsibility — from judges and attorneys to clerks and court reporters — and are obligated to adhere to a strict code of ethics.

Security and Protective Services Pathway
Security personnel often work in public buildings such as museums or art galleries to protect paintings and exhibits by inspecting people and packages entering and leaving the building. In factories, laboratories, government buildings, data processing centers, and military bases, security officers protect information, products, computer codes, and defense secrets and check the credentials of people and vehicles entering and leaving the premises.

For more information on required and recommended classes for a pathway to the Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security cluster, Grenada High School students should make an appointment with their counselors. For more information on Career Clusters, visit the Advance CTE website — www.careertech.org — where you'll find useful resources including a description of all 16 Career Clusters, a list of credentials required for each Career Cluster, and a Student Interest Survey that uses your responses to help guide you to your top three Career Clusters of interest.

GHS College & Career Day

University of MS at Career Day

(l to r) Carson Lollar, University of Mississippi Admissions Counselor Rivers Myers, and Cameron Duke

Students viewing army info at Career Day

(l to r) Kenretta Bounds and Miriam Crump

National Guard Recruiter and student

(l to r) Sargeant Gary Williams and Cameron Morgan

two girls at Career Day

(l to r) Keily Federick and Takiyah Booker
Photos by Lisa Holland