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Caledonia, West Lowndes elementary schools certified by Renaissance


Jason Browne



Two Lowndes County elementary schools are certified as Reading Renaissance Schools. 


West Lowndes Elementary recertified as a Reading Renaissance Model School. And Caledonia, the state''s first model school in 1998 and the nation''s first Master Math School in 2001, recertified as a Master Reading Renaissance School and a Master Math School. 


West Lowndes Elementary''s 209 students averaged at least 85 percent correct on quizzes on accelerated reader books. The school''s students tested on 15,873 books this year. 


All of the school''s teachers have been certified as model classroom teachers, and it''s library was certified as a model library. 


"Few schools are able to get this degree of buy-in and commitment," said Bobbi Vaughn, Lowndes County School District''s elementary coordinator, during Friday''s meeting of the district board of education. 


She also touted Caledonia Elementary''s dedication to using best practices in the classroom. 


"Teachers are so in tune to implementing the best practices that are an integral part of true Renaissance that recertification is pretty much second nature for them now," said Vaughn. 


For the 2009-2010 school year, 671 students in second through fifth grades mastered 64,326 math objectives. 


"Our district does some pretty remarkable things. I wish we could have a public relations person (on staff)," said Dr. Robert Buckley, board president. 




Library grants 


West Lowndes Elementary was also chosen, along with Columbus'' Lee Middle School, as a recipient of the Society for American Baseball Research''s two annual library grants.  


Columbus Municipal School District board member Glenn Lautzenhiser was on hand to congratulate West Lowndes Elementary and the county district. 


"This is the first time two schools in the same community have won (the grants)," he said. "These two schools did the best job in the country." 


Each applying school was asked to develop an educational program highlighting Negro League baseball and its role in American history. 


Lee Middle School''s project, "Step Up To the Plate," includes "a web quest kickoff, a bookmark contest, a baseball card contest, read-aloud sessions, parent visitation day, poetry writing and special guests." 


West Lowndes Elementary''s project, "Batter Up! Reader Up!," invites high school and college baseball players "to speak at the school along with the creation of a West Lowndes Elementary Baseball Hall of Fame, a door decorating contest, read-aloud sessions, and activities in all classes, such as writing a new verse to ''Take Me Out To the Ballgame'' or finding batting averages for their favorite Negro League players." 


The $1,000 grants will be used to implement the learning programs. 




History of the game 


The Golden Triangle has a rich history in Negro League baseball. The late Sam Hairston of Crawford played in the Negro and Major League, and his son, Jerry Hairston Sr., played for the Chicago White Sox and remains a batting coach for the Bristol, Va., White Sox of the Appalachian League. Jerry Hairston Jr. and Scott Hairston both play for the San Diego Padres. 


A breakfast was held Monday at Helen''s Kitchen in Columbus to welcome Jerry Hairston Sr. A baseball field dedicated to Sam Hairston is planned for construction on West Minnie Vaughn Road in Crawford. 




Roof projects 


Neil Waggoner of JBHM Architects appeared before the board to provide an update on roofing projects throughout the district. Reroofing projects on five buildings at the Caledonia schools campus were 35 percent complete, while work at New Hope and West Lowndes schools were 25 percent finished. 


A meeting is scheduled with contractors for June 29 to accept bids for the construction of 11 new classrooms at Caledonia. 


Waggoner also presented the board three possible construction schemes for additional space, including a new boardroom and testing room, at the county school district main office. 


District Superintendent Mike Halford said the district does have the funds available for construction, but Buckley suggested the board simply consider the construction proposals. 


"We have a lot of meetings to deal with this," said Buckley. 




In other business, the board: 


  • Approved New Hope Elementary library aide Kimberly Woodruff''s appointment to school nurse. Woodruff is a registered nurse. 


  • Approved the Mississippi School Board Association policies on staff/student non-fraternization and student bullying and harassment. 


  • Confirmed the merger of Columbus-Lowndes Educational Federal Credit Union and Triangle Federal Credit Union.




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