Article Comment 

New school calendar proving a ‘success’


Kristin Mamrack



Students and administrators reported a successful first week of Columbus Municipal School District''s "Success Academy" and enrichment programs for the new 11-month school calendar at Stokes-Beard Technology and Communications Magnet School and Sale International Studies Magnet School. 


"It''s going absolutely wonderful," Stokes-Beard Principal Pamela Lenoir said Thursday. "We couldn''t be more pleased. I haven''t heard anything (negative) from parents or children; everybody has had a real positive attitude about the process." 


"The Success Academy has given Sale teachers the opportunity to work in small groups with students," said Sale International Studies Coordinator Kay Ellis. "Both the teachers and students are enjoying the time spent working on skills and feel that the time has been very beneficial." 


"The success days have been absolutely remarkable!" CMSD Superintendent Dr. Del Phillips said Friday. "I visited Stokes-Beard and Sale the past few days to observe students and interact with teachers. Many have commented to me how much they have enjoyed the last several days, getting to work so closely with students in small groups for remediation, as well as those teachers sharing excitement about the students participating in enrichment activities that we normally wouldn''t provide for our students. I believe it has started with tremendous success and excitement!" 


The CMSD board of trustees in May approved the calendar -- under which students will attend school 199 days, until June 17 -- after CMSD officials conducted a two-month poll of teachers and parents at Hunt Intermediate and all elementary schools in the district. 


Only students at Stokes-Beard and Sale are following the 11-month calendar; students at Joe Cook Fine Arts Magnet School, Fairview Aerospace and Science Magnet School, Franklin Medical Sciences and Wellness Magnet School, Hunt Intermediate School, Lee Middle School and Columbus High School attend school 181 days, until May 21. 


During the 11-month school year, Stokes-Beard and Sale students testing at proficient or advanced levels are encouraged to attend enrichment instruction, but students testing at minimal or basic levels are required to attend school during the extra "Success Academy" days, during which they receive intensive, small-group remediation in areas of need. 


"Dig It!" was the theme for last week''s enrichment camp activities at Stokes-Beard, with students studying dinosaurs, digging for fossils, listening to an archaeologist from Mississippi State University and visiting the Mississippi Petrified Forest and Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson, among other things. 


"They can fly," Maya Rush, 8, said of the dinosaurs she studied, noting baking cookies was her favorite activity of the week. 


Asked how the enrichment camp is helping her, the daughter of James and Mary Rush replied, "We can learn more, so if we need help with something, we''ll already know it, because we went through enrichment." 


During the enrichment activities, Success Academy students focused on core learning of "skills they need to be successful as everyday students" and, for third- and fourth-grade students, to prepare for the upcoming Mississippi Curriculum Test, second edition, said Lenoir. 


"I like going to (other classes)," Kenidi Verdell, 7, said, referring to changing classes and instructors for Success Academy days.  


"And I learned greatest and least signs," Verdell, the daughter of Faye and Kennie Verdell, said, explaining mathematical symbols indicating a value greater than or less than another value. "(Success Academy days) help me to get in college." 


In February, assessments will be done on all Sale students and those who progress will move from Success Academy to enrichment activities; conversely, those who need extra help will move from enrichment activities into Success Academy work. 


Currently, Stokes-Beard has 112 students in enrichment camp activities and 258 students in Success Academy. 





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Reader Comments

Article Comment curious commented at 10/5/2009 3:01:00 PM:

Just curious as to whether the teachers are being compensated for these extra days. Are all teachers required to participate in these extra 12 days?


Article Comment boo School commented at 10/5/2009 4:05:00 PM:

bad idea. The school system is now a baby sitter.


Article Comment Susie commented at 10/6/2009 8:04:00 AM:

This is a great program and opportunity for these students. My mother in law is a teacher and she is so excited about this program. Yes, they are compensated for the extra days. Also, it allows students who need extra one on one attention to get that attention without a huge class to share the attention with and it also allows those are are already exceling to participate in activities that most of these kids may not ever get to do. Before people knock this program, you ought to talk to one of these teachers first hand or see for your self.


Article Comment Linda Williams commented at 10/6/2009 8:36:00 AM:

I think the extended year is wonderful. I don't like the way the program is being handled. I actually have a child in Enrichment Camp at Stokes Beard but I have spoken to parents who have children in Success Camp and they are not pleased at all with the way the ADULTS are making a difference in their children. They feel that all children should come to school and do the same activities. The children were given assessments if they did not score high enough on the assessments they were put in Success Camp. The children that scored high enough on the test were put in Enrichment Camp. This was to serve a motivator for the other children. The kids in the enrichment camp have the opportunity to stay home or come to camp. Well, in Success Camp the children work all day with only lunch for a break. In Enrichment camp they get to go on field trips and do fun projects. Once again making the students feel as if they have failed. Its a sad day in education when it comes to this. Our children's spirit is already broken and to show partiality really saddens me. Someone please tell me how can they tell after just 5 days this has been a success. It seems as though they are making a big deal of the Enrichment Camp when its called Success Academy. What about those children? I emailed Dr. Phillips to ask what was planned for the children at the end of Success Academy and did not get a reply. I think something spectacular should be done for those children to say, YES WE SEE ALL OF YOUR HARD WORK.


Article Comment HK commented at 10/6/2009 11:21:00 AM:

Yeah--they think this is wonderful and rosey now--check back with them after they have worked all of those months.. don't think they will be so giddy about it then.. they will get tired of babysitting..


Article Comment Upset commented at 10/8/2009 5:06:00 PM:

My question is how can a principal make the decision whether or not the students can go to YPAS and we the parents paid for this. Will the parents receive there money back since the principal took it upon herself not to let the students go. I feel she should be mae to pay those parents back out of her check. My second question what gives her the right to only give those students a twenty minute break only and that is for lunch. I am sure that they are seeing all of the other students enjoying themselves and they are being treated as if they did something bad. Understand that all students are not going to be successful, some are only being pushed strictly by there teacher and may not be getting the help that is needed at home due to circumstances beyond the child's control. I feel like this is a mistake. Seems to me someone from the state needs to be looking into what's going on.


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