February 9, 2018 10:45:56 AM
Tassie Rosamond, a fourth grade teacher at Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary, roams the halls decked out in blue from head to toe. Her lipstick and eyeshadow, also bright blue, match the rest of her outfit.
Although she likes to sport sparkly blue lipstick, Rosamond said it's for special occasions, only -- namely Fridays.
The "Wear Blue for Mississippi Teachers" movement was created by the Mississippi Parents' Campaign -- a group founded by public school parents in 2006 to provide information about legislative initiatives concerning education -- to show support for public school educators in the state during the legislative session.
Eddie Peasant, Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District's superintendent, said he thought it was important to participate because it gave everyone in the community a chance to express their support, not only SOCSD employees.
The teachers are the "heart" of every district, Peasant added.
"I try to tell them or show them every day that I really am here to support them in everything they do, but this is a visual representation of that," Peasant said. "We don't do enough to show them how appreciative we really are of the work they put in."
The movement, Rosamond said, provides a way for both new and veteran teachers to come together. As someone who has been teaching for 26 years, and 15 of those years in SOCSD, she added, it's comforting knowing that public educators aren't in the fight alone.
"As a professional, what I'm doing and what other teachers are doing is important," Rosamond said. "We aren't just coloring with students all day. This is hard."
For example, she continued, her father-in-law is now being cared for at The Carrington Nursing Center in Starkville. When she dropped him off last week, Rosamond said a 21-year-old nurse -- and former student at HWS -- recognized her.
"She wasn't even in my class, but she remembers me," Rosamond said. "I was able to have an influence on someone outside of my own classroom, and that's what is most important about this job."
HWS principal Julie Fancher said schools will often place incentives and create activities to express support for their teachers. However, in her opinion, there is no better way to express support than the "simplicity" of wearing the color blue.
"Our teachers are here early, and go home late. They really have an endless job," Fancher said. "Especially here at HWS and SOCSD we want our teachers to know that we value them, and that we could not do any of this without them."
The end of the Mississippi Parents' campaign will run until the end of the legislative session, April 1. SOCSD will participate by wearing Blue each Friday until the end of the campaign.
According to the Mississippi Parents' Campaign, there are three bills currently on the House or Senate calendars that could impact public education.
Senate Bill 2623 would revise the state's Educational Savings Accounts and voucher program, allowing for more students to receive vouchers to attend private schools. It passed the Senate Education Committee on Jan. 31. The Senate has until April to vote on it.
House Bill 957 would replace the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, a law that ensures every child in the state receives an "adequate" education, with a revised funding formula. The House of Representatives tabled the vote on the bill and sent it to the Senate on Jan. 18. The Senate could vote on it any time before Apr. 1.
SB 2400, which will change the dates of school board elections, placing all elected members on the ballot at the same time, passed the Senate on Feb. 7.