Thursday, October 12, 2006
‘Wonderful things’ happening at Holly Springs Primary
By SUE WATSON
Cleanliness, camaraderie, collaboration, character building - these are part of the new school environment at Holly Springs Primary School, according to librarian Prentis Boatwright.
“It is a wonderful school,” she said. “The children are great, the teachers are great. It’s absolutely clean. It’s the only school I’ve been at where the floor still sparkles this far into the school year.”
Boatwright prepared for this great experience at Holly Springs Primary years ago with a budding desire to teach. She is a graduate of Marshall Academy, attended Ole Miss and graduated from Mississippi State University in 1996 with a degree in elementary education.
From there she worked as assistant librarian at Tupelo.
“I loved it, so I got certification as a library media specialist,” she said.
Coming back home to teach first and third grade at Byhalia Middle School for three years and then to serve as lead teacher there in the office two years, Boatwright has never been so excited about educating children.
Some good planning is paying off at the Primary School.
“We have library time once a week where we do a story and check out books and flex-time in the morning where children can come to the library. They do not have to wait for the next week to check out a book,” she said.
“My first week here, we were going over the rules and my first graders were able to read the rules for me. I was so impressed.”
Collaboration time for teachers is possible since the school has an activity hour every day for the children.
The students also participate in the Accelerated Reader Program - which helps them not only with reading but goal setting. Students are rewarded with prizes and recognition for meeting their reading goals each week. The program tests for reading comprehension.
This year the library will get an overhaul made possible through a federal library grant. Martha Elliott will help catalog materials.
“Our children go to character education every week,” she said. “I feel this is so important. Ms. Wright works with them on values and work ethic.”
Wright just completed a Pinwheels for Peace activity with the children.
“We are talking about sending them to another school,” Boatwright said.
And last week a computer lab made possible through a federal grant was made ready. Ms. Kimbrough will be teaching computer skills and students will be able to take a virtual field trip to many prominent places in the United States and around the globe.
The other 50-minute activities provided at the school are music and physical education.
While students are in character building 25th White Oak Festival Lots of folks turned out Saturday for the 25th annual White Oak Festival on Church Street in downtown Byhalia. It is hosted by the Byhalia Sports Association and theByhalia Lions Club.class, physical education, music, the library or computer lab, classroom teachers get together and plan together.
“There is no school I have been in where the teachers have had this much time to plan and collaborate,” she said.
“Another thing that stands out is the Parent Center run by Ms. Byers. I have never seen so many wonderful resources. Plus we have a clothes closet for children where they can get socks, belts, shoes and uniforms donated to us through the churches and parents.”
The school has a full-time school nurse which is rare, Boatwright said.
“Even in Tupelo we had maybe two school nurses for the whole district,” she said. “The staff and teachers are good people working hard to try to do the best we can for these children. There are so many wonderful things going on down here at the school.
“I told Ms. Byers I am so impressed with everything this little school has to offer.”
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