As of Sept. 8, there are 4,986 students enrolled. That is up nearly 400 students over the past five years.
We are seeing a lot of growth, and that’s a good thing,. We did see a dip in enrollment a few years ago but that trend has reversed and we’re steadily growing again.
The Clinton Public School District is an A-rated district, the highest possible academic rating, and all its schools are A-rated schools.
During the 2013-14 school year, the Clinton Public School District enrolled 4,887 students in grades pre-K through 12. The number increased 175 students from the prior year, when there were 4,712 students enrolled. Just five years ago, CPSD enrolled 4,569 students.
Historically, the highest years of enrollment were in the late 1990s, when more than 5,200 students attended CPSD.
To accommodate the growth, CPSD this fall hired an additional teacher for each grade level in grades K-6, as well as additional faculty in grades 7-12. There is also an additional teacher in the gifted program whose time will be split between Northside and Lovett elementary schools.
If enrollment continues to rise and funding is available, additional faculty may be needed next school year as well. It has gradually increased and we expect that trend to continue.
And logistically, he said, if enrollment continues to increase the district will have to evaluate its facilities and plan for additional classroom spaces.
Awards and honors
Several factors are contributing to CPSD’s growth. The district is in its second year of the 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative, providing all students in grades K-12 a new Mac laptop or iPad.
Another factor is the numerous awards and honors CPSD has received in recent years, including Lovett Elementary School earning a National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education for the high caliber of its academic programs.
During the 2013-14 school year, CPSD earned an academic rating of A, the highest possible rating a Mississippi school district can attain. CPSD’s overall QDI, or Quality Distribution Index, scores are the second highest out of 150 school districts in the state.
Other recent recognitions include:
• For two consecutive years, sixth-graders in Clinton outscored their peers in every other school district in BOTH language arts and math, according to official test results from the Mississippi Department of Education.
• CHS show choir Attaché was ranked the No. 1 show choir in America.
• The band's indoor percussion group earned a gold medal (first place) at the WGI World Championship competition in April.
• Freshman Demi Washington is Mississippi’s “Miss Track” and is the Gatorade Mississippi Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. She won two individual sprint state titles and helped the Lady Arrows 4x100 meter relay team set a new state record.
• Lovett Principal Mike Pope is Mississippi’s second congressional district Administrator of the Year.
• Members of the class of 2014 received more than $2.9 million in scholarships.
• CPSD earned a Lighthouse School Leader award from the Mississippi School Boards Association for the strength of its academic programs.
• CPSD earned third place in this year's All-Sports award.
• The Ambassadors, CPSD's junior show choir, earned a national championship.
Hutson was nominated for the trip by his third-grade gifted class teacher Jamie Dowd. He attended from June 30-July 6.
“Each year, People to People gives me the opportunity to nominate students with outstanding leadership qualities and the year I taught Hutson, I knew that he had to at least be nominated for the experience,” Dowd said. “When I taught Hutson in third grade, he was one of the most charismatic and outgoing children I’ve ever met. Other children were just drawn to him and he had incredible natural leadership abilities.”
Dowd said she was thrilled that Hutson was able to represent Clinton and Mississippi on this trip.
Hutson had to write several essays prior to the trip about leadership and characteristics and the qualities of leaders.
“One of his goals for the trip, he wrote, was that he could lift up his peers while encouraging them to make the most of their opportunities there,” Brewer said.
One of the highlights of the trip was meeting a Vietnam veteran at the war memorial wall and having the opportunity to speak with him, she said.
Through technology, Eastside Elementary fourth-graders heard a firsthand account of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Retired New York City fireman Carl Schramm used Skype to video chat with about 125 students on Thursday afternoon in the school cafetorium.
“I was at home preparing to go on a trip when I got the news that a plane had hit the World Trade Center,” he told students. “I went to the fire station and we gathered there, and then proceeded to the World Trade Center.”
At that time, he said, he didn’t know how many people had died or the scope of the damage. Fire crews worked constantly for the next several days, and 19 men in his firehouse lost their lives.
During the chat, Schramm held up photos so children could see damaged fire equipment, flames coming from the towers, and other scenes.
“More than 300 firefighters lost their lives that day,” said Clinton Fire Chief Barry Burnside, who introduced Schramm. “These were regular people with families and homes and children. They laid down their lives to save others.”
Burnside became friends with Schramm in the years after 9/11, following a local fundraiser by then CPSD student Audrey Estess. Audrey got then Mayor Rosemary Aultman on board, who reached out to the Fire Department of New York. After the fundraiser ended, Aultman and Burnside stayed in touch with Schramm.
Kerri Burnside, Eastside teacher and Chief Burnside’s wife, coordinated the Skype session for her fourth-grade class and others on the blue hall at Eastside.
After Schramm spoke, several students asked questions, including “how many lives did you save,” and “when you got there, were you scared?”
“The freedoms we have in our country are so valuable and so precious that we have to protect them,” Schramm said. “There are people out there who want to destroy it. We have to be so careful and to defend our country and our freedom. The events of Sept. 11 showed us how strong Americans really are and how we all pull together after something happens.”
Matt Bishop, fourth-grader in Burnside’s class, said he learned that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were more important than he thought, adding that Schramm “is a hero and he saved a lot of lives.”
His classmate Cayden Whipple said he learned how many lives were lost and that Schramm “is a good inspiration to all of us.” Abby Thomas said it was sad how many firefighters were lost.
Clinton High School is home to several great athletics facilities, including one that recently earned national honors.
“I flew out to Tucson, Ariz., in the spring for the awards ceremony and we were presented a trophy,” said Arrows head baseball coach Eddie Lofton.
A representative from the BCA from Louisiana visited the field two summers ago and approached Lofton about sending photos to the award selection committee.
“I did this and it was voted on,” Lofton said. “At that time it was sent to the people from Turface for voting.”
There are eight regions and the winner of each region went to Tucson for the final selection. It was at this presentation that Lofton learned the CHS field has been voted second in the nation.
The CHS baseball complex underwent total renovations in 2009-10 to include new dugouts, new bathrooms, a new brick back stop, grandstand seating for more than 400, a new press box, new locker room and batting cages and field renovations. The total project cost $1.8 million.
Clinton High School junior Eric Mallett studied the 1958 Chevrolet Impala with his classmates, admiring the car’s engine and sleek design.
“It’s interesting to see it because you don’t see many old cars like this anymore,” he said. “When you see these restored cars, it feels like you’ve got a piece of history on your hands.”
Jeff Gordy, classic car enthusiast and vice president of the Antique Vehicle Club of Mississippi, brought the car to the CHS Career Complex on Thursday to give students in the automotive technology program an opportunity to see and learn more about it. Gordy is a CHS graduate and was a student in the automotive technology program in 1976 and 77.
Instructor Charlie Melton said Thursday’s visit dovetailed perfectly with the class’ recent lesson on the evolution of automotive technology.
“This car is all original, fully restored,” Gordy said. “Everything about it is the way it was sold new at Harrell Chevrolet in Canton.”
Gordy manages a 10-car collection owned by David and Estelle Sherer of Clinton and the Impala convertible is a valued part of their collection. Automotive students checked out the car’s engine, lights, interior, tires, trunk and more.
“Technology is good for today and for the future,” Melton said. “But we like to go back and see how it evolved. It’s important to learn how it’s changed, and why.”
The 1958 Impala will be featured in the upcoming Cruizin’ Clinton car show on Saturday, Sept. 20. The event will begin with a parade of vintage and classic cars beginning at the Clinton Plaza Shopping Center at 9 a.m., winding through town and ending at the show site on the Mississippi College campus.
The event continues through 2 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
Eric said he enjoyed seeing the Impala and learning about its history. He and his father are working on a 1976 Grand Prix 450.
Glynda Heath has the difficult task of calling parents when their Northside Elementary students are sick or have been injured on the playground.
“She’s the one who calls with bad news,” said Principal Joy Tyner. “But she is always compassionate and empathetic. She has three children of her own and she treats students like they’re her own children. And she talks to parents like she would like to be talked to as a parent.”
Heath’s efforts have not gone unnoticed; on Friday, she was awarded a Dedication of Our Valued Employees, or DOVE, award for excellent customer service.
The DOVE Award launched in March to recognize employees throughout the Clinton Public School District who display exemplary customer service. Nominees not selected in August will also be considered in upcoming months.
“Mrs. Heath is amazing,” said Northside Elementary PE teacher Jana Carter, who nominated Heath for the award. “She works so hard to make sure that every staff member has everything that they need to be successful. Even in stressful situations, she is smiling and sweet. We could not function at Northside without her.”
Tyner praised Heath’s work ethic and her ability to handle sensitive issues.
“She notices things that need to be addressed before they become an issue,” Tyner said. “She instills trust because she consistently makes good decisions.”
The DOVE Award is given each month during the school year to an employee who goes above and beyond in showing customer service to students, parents and the community. A five-member DOVE award selection committee chooses each winner from a pool of nominations.
One of our top goals as a district is to provide great customer service to the community we serve. We want families to have a good experience in our schools, and this award recognized employees who exceed expectations in this area.
Anyone can nominate a CPSD employee via the online form on www.clintonpublicschools.com or by filling out a paper form in school front offices. DOVE Award recipients will be formally recognized at school board meetings, on the superintendent’s blog and in The Clinton Courier.
For the second straight year, Clinton sixth-graders have earned the highest scores in the state in both language arts and math.
In nearly all tested areas in grades 3-8, Clinton Public School District students scored in the top 10 of all districts statewide — and in the top five in most areas. There are 149 school districts in Mississippi.
State test scores were released today by the Mississippi Department of Education. The data is just test scores; school and district rankings will be released later.
“This was a team effort between parents, teachers, school leaders and district leaders,” said Lovett Elementary School Principal Mike Pope.
All CPSD sixth-graders attend Lovett Elementary. When students enter Lovett, he said, “We expect them to give their best. We expect them to try their best and we don’t settle for less.”
Eighth-graders at Clinton Junior High also earned the highest scores statewide in language arts.
“It is very rewarding when teachers’ efforts and student initiative are aligned so well and reap such benefits,” said Dr. Bill Hardin, CJHS principal. “From parental involvement to district support, everyone in the Clinton community can share in this success.”
Assistant Superintendent Tim Martin said CPSD students consistently scored well as compared to students in other districts in these grades.
“At Lovett, it goes back to the teachers,” he said. “They teach. There’s not a lot of fluff. And students grow up there. They have greater responsibility and they rise to meet the expectations placed on them.”
Comparisons by grade and subject area to other Mississippi school districts:
- Third-grade language arts: CPSD, 155 (fourth statewide)
- Third-grade math: CPSD, 159 (eighth statewide)
- Fourth-grade language arts: CPSD, 157 (third statewide)
- Fourth-grade math: CPSD, 162 (second statewide)
- Fifth-grade language arts: CPSD, 155 (sixth statewide)
- Fifth-grade math: CPSD, 159 (second statewide)
- Fifth-grade science: CPSD, 158.8 (second statewide)
- Sixth-grade language arts: CPSD, 159 (first statewide)
- Sixth-grade math: CPSD, 159 (first statewide)
- Seventh-grade language arts: CPSD, 158 (second statewide)
- Seventh-grade math: CPSD, 158 (third statewide)
- Eighth-grade language arts: CPSD, 156 (first statewide)
- Eighth-grade math: CPSD, 159 (third statewide)
- Eighth-grade science: CPSD, 157.5 (fifth statewide)
In addition to strengths, the scores also show areas for improvements. In subject area testing, CPSD identified several areas to grow.
In Algebra I, Clinton students scored 659, 14th in the state. In Biology I, CPSD students scored 650, 28th in state; in U.S. History, CPSD students scored 650, 18th in state and in English II, Clinton students scored 652, 19th in state.
“We know we have work to do in these areas, and the scores help us show specifically within these subject areas where we need to focus,” Martin said.
Martin said many districts saw a dip in test scores because they transitioned completely to the Common Core State Standards last year. In Clinton, he said, schools taught a blend of Common Core and the old Mississippi frameworks, since students were tested on the Mississippi Curriculum Test 2 — or MCT2.
“Our community puts great stock in our test scores, both for individual students and our schools as a whole,” Martin said. “If our students were going to be tested on the Mississippi frameworks, that’s what we were going to teach. This school year we are going 100 percent with Common Core, since the tests that will be administered this spring are completely aligned with the new standards.”
CPSD teachers have trained on Common Core to be better prepared for full implementation. Despite this, he said, next year’s test scores will likely drop in Clinton.
new standards are a tremendous jump in rigor,” Martin said. “As with any new
test, the first year there is always a drop. That has been the case
historically whenever a new test was adapted, and will probably be the case
"But historically, we always work to improve and our scores do gradually rise to meet our high expectations."
Congratulations to Lovett and to all our schools and students, and Go Arrows!
Often when children are in kindergarten or first grade, they don’t know how to recognize or express their emotions if they’re frustrated or upset.
When this spills over into the classroom it can cause discipline issues. But by using a teaching method called Tools for Life, teachers at Clinton Park Elementary are working with students to recognize and express these emotions and prevent negative behavior. The Tools for Life program also extends through junior high.
Kindergarten teacher Paige Carter said Tools for Life “was the best training I have received in 17 years.”
“I use it daily in my classroom,” she said. “We start each morning talking about how we feel. I let them know it is OK to have feelings. Everyone does. We learn different ways to deal with what we’re feeling.”
Last year her class got along very well and had very few, if any, behavior issues, she said.
“If a student has an issue come up they are taught to use tools to help them figure out how to solve the issue on their own, without me,” she said. “I was amazed that they could actually do it. I am actually able to teach all day instead of solving problems for all my little ones.”
Carter also has a quiet area set up in the room with quiet objects, posters and tools for students to use if they are having a bad day.
Pat Bell of Bell Consultants, the education consultant for Tools for Life in Mississippi said the Clinton Public School District is the first school district in the United States to implement Tools for Life in its schools. Clinton Park began using this social skills curriculum last year with kindergartners and is using it this year with kindergarten and first-grade students. Next year it will be implemented with second-graders at Northside Elementary.
“Tools for Life is all about options,” said kindergarten teacher Debbie Sigler. “This program teaches children how to solve problems on their own. They learn communications skills and how to correctly express themselves. There are different ways to solve problems they have with another student.”
Students think about the best way to solve their problem, she said, including sharing, taking turns, compromising, talking it out, ignoring it, walking away, apologizing or asking for help.
“We tell children it’s OK to feel sad, lonely or other emotions, and we learn what we can do to change that,” Sigler said. “They learn to give ‘Put Ups’ which is saying nice things to someone. We talk about how people feel when you are unkind and say mean things to them, or ‘Put Downs.’ If they say a ‘Put Down,’ then they have to say a ‘Put Up.’”
If a child hits another student, for example, Sigler asks the student what happened and why they hit.
“We talk about it so next time they will know a better way to handle the situation,” she said. “Teachers are merely facilitators. This program helps stop students from being bullies and it prevents bullying before it starts.”
Allen Croxall, president of the Tools for Life Corporation, said the program is not a separate class, but tools that can be incorporated into all lessons as teachers work with students.
“If there are students with aggressive behavior, this can help them change,” he said. “At that age, children may not know how to express what they’re really feeling. This gives teachers options on how they can help children talk about what they’re feeling.”
Some students come from difficult situations at home or just get off to a bad start to the day, he said.
“When children aren’t calm, they can’t hear you,” he said. “With this program, teachers are able to learn what children are dealing with issues and it also helps children with problem solving and respecting each other’s differences.”
Bell said everyone needs relationship-building skills, and Tools for Life is a great starting point.
“It helps teach them how to build relationships that can last a lifetime and learn how to be resilient,” she said. “These are lessons they can use at school, at home and in the community.”
State Treasurer Lynn Fitch visited Clinton High School this morning to kick off her TEAM financial literacy initiative, the Treasurer’s Education About Money.
Treasurer Fitch spoke to students about the importance of learning personal finance skills as key to changing Mississippi’s financial culture.
“You are our workforce and leaders of tomorrow,” Fitch said. “If you learn how to manage your own money, you will be better able to manage the finances of the businesses you lead.”
“Treasurer Fitch is committed to helping Mississippi rise above our current economic situation by teaching students to understand financial concepts and manage their money,” Walker said. “Instead of living paycheck to paycheck because of poor choices, hopefully, our students will be part of a generation of Mississippians who plan, invest and enjoy the rewards of successful money management.”
A side effect, Walker said, is that Mississippi as a whole will be in better financial condition when its residents manage money well.
“We appreciate Treasurer Fitch for being forward thinking and encouraging this instruction,” Walker said.
Fitch is traveling Mississippi this week to share the details of her TEAM initiative to make personal finance education resources available to every high school student across the state.
TEAM is built on a public-private partnership that includes local communities, businesses, nonprofits, and educators all aimed at improving Mississippi’s financial literacy.
“Mississippi has been named as among the least financially capable states in the country,” she said. “This is unacceptable. I want to change our financial culture, and TEAM is a significant step in that effort.”
With funds raised from the private sector, Treasurer Fitch’s TEAM initiative will make available a computer-based program for students to learn the basics of managing their money.
Designed by EverFi, a company with a proven track record of implementing the financial literacy program in schools across the country, the TEAM program is available online so that students can easily complete the nine different modules in classrooms, computer labs or in their homes. Schools have flexibility to use the EverFi program in many different subject areas, and students are tested throughout the program to measure their progress.
The modules include lessons on credit scores, insurance, credit cards, taxes, investing, 401Ks, savings, mortgages and college savings.
TEAM will also enlist the Mississippi Council for Economics Education, a Mississippi nonprofit that already successfully provides training for teachers in the areas of economics, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy and is led by former CHS teacher Selena Swartzfager. MCEE will expand its current teacher training in personal finance it already provides to include the EverFi program.
“The EverFi program has already been piloted in 100 schools around the state,” said Treasurer Fitch. “Students who completed the lessons showed a 40 percent increase in financial literacy. With MCEE’s effectiveness in training teachers, we can really raise awareness that personal finance education is a life skill we all need.”For information on TEAM, contact TEAM@treasury.ms.gov or call 888-308-1997.