Thursday, January 6, 2005


Faith-Based Alliance meeting focuses on connection between schools and leaders

The Holly Springs School District hosted its first Faith-Based Alliance meeting this past Saturday at the Holly Springs Intermediate School. The theme of the breakfast, called “Having Faith in Our Schools,” centered around forging a stronger connection between schools and the leadership of the churches in the community.

A recently-formed committee, Advocates for Public Education, suggested the meeting as a way to begin dialogue between pastors and the schools. School board members, the superintendent, district administrators, and school principals were present at the meeting to represent the school community. Several pastors from local churches attended to represent their churches and congregations.

At the meeting, Holly Springs Schools Superintendent Judy Smith introduced the topic of community involvement in the schools. The No Child Left Behind law, she explained, brings a heightened need for parent and community involvement in schools today. “It really does take a community to educate children these days,” she said.

Assistant superintendent Cherrie Shaw offered an explanation of the district-level report card. She gave the details about the required information on the report card and clarified some of the information contained on it. She also emphasized the resources available at the parent centers located at the Primary and Intermediate Schools.

Other administrators explained other programs within the schools. “The new district-wide Essential Benchmark Skills (EBS) tests,” said Jinny Hurdle, coordinator of testing and instruction, “will give us more standardized information about student progress and reinforce the teacher’s own class assessments.”

School business manager Beverly Thompson outlined the basic school funding formula and showed the group how attendance affects funding. She also explained various sources for school revenue: state allocation, local contributions, federal funds, grants, and activities.

The pastors at the meeting offered enthusiastic support for the schools, and they voiced their interest in assisting the schools. They believed that they could aid the schools with issues of attendance, discipline, and decorum. The school officials urged the pastors to use their leadership to spread the news about the successes of the Holly Springs Schools and to take pride in the local children.

The pastors were also asked to take a petition urging full legislative funding back to their church members.

The breakfast adjourned with the pastors and the school officials pledging to continue the alliance with other events throughout the winter and spring. The group also stated its desire to add additional community – both faith-based and non-faith-based members – to the next meeting.

Calendar winner
Ryan Hardin, a fourth grade student at Galena Elementary School, was among the young artists honored at an awards luncheon held at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park on Nov. 12. Mississippi Development Authority promoted October as Energy Awareness Month with a student poster competition. Ryan’s poster was among those selected to appear in a full-color wall calendar, which will be distributed free to schools, government agencies and the general public. Pictured above are Marietta Devine, competition coordinator, Ryan Hardin and Kenneth Calvin, energy division director.

Each month Holly Springs Primary School chooses a teacher and an assistant teacher of the month. The teacher and assistant exemplifies outstanding work, leadership, and teaching skills. For the month of December, Dorothy James was chosen as teacher of the month. Mrs. James received a $25 gift certificate and reserved parking for a month. Teacher assistant for the month of December is Pam Branden. Mrs. Branden received $20 in cash for her outstanding work. Hats off to Mrs. James and Mrs. Branden.

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