Clinton’s public schools earned high marks for academics, safety, sports, diversity and leadership on the Niche.com Web site.
Niche.com is a data collecting Web site that provides information to help people choose a neighborhood, college or K-12 school. It gave the Clinton Public School District an A grade and ranked it second overall in Mississippi based on data from previous years.
One of our highest priorities as a district is attaining the highest possible academic rating we can. It takes a lot of hard work to attain an A rating and to be the highest performing school district in the state, and it’s great to see this hard work recognized and promoted.
Niche.com ranked CPSD first in Mississippi in diversity, first in best outcomes, and second school district overall (behind Pass Christian), based on data from prior years. In sports, CPSD is ranked second behind Madison County Schools, and second to Ocean Springs for best teachers. Its administration is ranked third behind Madison County and Ocean Springs.
Clinton teachers “devote so much of their time reading essays, writing letters of recommendation, grading papers and planning enjoyable activities to do in class to make the learning experience more memorable,” wrote a commenter in December 2014. “They teach for understanding, not memorization. … They want us to be leaders in the classrooms of our universities and be prepared for everything that college will throw at us.”
Another comment focused on the numerous extracurricular offerings at Clinton High School: “Clinton does a great job at providing students with this option to grow and broaden their horizons in their very own backyard before leaving for college. … No matter what organization a student chooses to be involved in, there is no doubt they will become more engaged with fellow classmates and their community.”
Individual schools also received high marks from Niche.com. The site ranks Clinton High School second in state overall for public high schools, second for best sports and second in state for most diverse.
it omits Sumner Hill Junior High in the school rankings, it ranks Clinton
Junior High School second in state overall for public middle schools and Lovett
Elementary third overall in public middle schools.
Sociology students at Clinton High School have started a study on teen suicide, using the novel 13 Reasons Why as the basis of their study. Suicide is a topic that is included in the sociology curriculum, and the study takes place over the third nine-week period.
13 Reasons Why is a novel written by Jay Asher that tells the story of a teen who committed suicide. Fictional character Hannah Baker uses cassette tapes to explain thirteen reasons why she took her own life.
This is the third year that students are reading the novel and exploring teen suicide. While sociology is an elective, enrollment in the course has increased by almost 50 percent since the study on teen suicide started.
Sociology teacher Sherri Ottis engages her 130 students through many activities and exercises during the unit.
At the start of the study, each student personalized an envelope and they are placed around the classroom. Their peers may write positive, encouraging notes for each other and place them in the envelope. While the messages remain anonymous, the recipient of the message shares what his or her classmate sent.
“I try to make them see how much power they have in their classmates’ lives,” said Ottis. “The objective is to give them reasons to be kinder to people and be a support system for each other.”
For a week, Ottis required students to do the “hello challenge.” The challenge starts out with one student greeting another student they have never interacted with. As the week progresses, students are to reach a point where they can have a conversation with the same person. Some students received positive responses, while others were ignored.
“We are so accustomed to people being mean to us that it scares us when someone is being nice,” said Ottis.
They also talk about what is isolation, what causes it, and students drew pictures of how they view isolation. Ottis also teaches on the snowball effect, where a situation starts out small and rapidly grows into an unintended situation that affects other people. The purpose of the various exercises is to the help the students grow, encourage each other and realize that the circumstances of their peers are unknown.
During class discussions, the sociology students tend to express their thoughts on the unit and how it has personally affected them.
“I actually try to do something about it instead of walking away,” said 12th-grader Ashunti Nolden. “It softened my heart.”
Emily Kraemer, 12th-grade student, started to consider what would provoke her classmates to bully others or act a certain way toward their classmates.
“It made me think about what is going on in their lives,” she said.
Toward the end of the study, a person who lost someone because of suicide visits the class to serve as a speaker on the topic.
Clinton High School’s Attaché show choir captured top honors of Grand Champion over the weekend at the South Central Classic show choir competition in Homewood, Alabama.
Attaché also won top awards for best vocals, best choreography, best overall effect, and best band. Clinton Attaché junior Olivia Smith won the female solo competition from among 70 soloists. The other top four show choirs placing in the competition were Auburn High School and Albertville High School of Alabama, Petal High School, and Jackson Preparatory School of Flowood.
Attaché next competes at the EVENT at Glenwood High School in Illinois .
Attaché travels to Orlando, Florida, to compete at the FAME Orlando competition held at the Hard Rock Live! In April, Attaché serves as the only host choir of Show Choir Nationals, which has been held annually at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. for 14 years.
Attaché is composed of 42 singer/dancers, 15 crew members, and 12 pit members and is led by directors David and Mary Fehr, pit director Robert Allen, and crew director Deborah Morgan. Choreographers include April James, Kellis Oldenburg, Dexter Bishop, and Stephen Todd.
The Attaché Spring Revue is 601-924-0707. at 7:30 p.m. each night at the Clinton High School Auditorium. To purchase tickets or for more information, call
Students with dyslexia now have another tool to make reading easier.
Teachers in the Clinton Public School District have access to the new Dyslexie font, a typeface created specifically to help dyslexic readers decipher words easier.
“After attending the annual Dyslexia Conference at Mississippi College, I wanted to find new ways on how technology helps kids with dyslexia,” said Lori Snider, CPSD instructional technologist.
The technology department made the Open Dyslexic font available on all MacBooks and iPads for teachers so that they may use the font when needed in the classroom. If they are able to make the font available on students’ devices, they will be able to use the font while doing independent work.
Dyslexia is a learning disability that causes difficulty in reading due to problems with identifying letters and words.
The Open Dyslexic font has a heavy base line, larger openings amongst letters, a semi-cursive slant, and changing tail lengths. Each character has a distinct forming so that readers may easily distinguish one character from another.
While teachers may have very few students with dyslexia, some are using the font for all activities. The font makes it easier for students to read faster, make fewer mistakes, and enjoy reading along with the rest of their classmates.
“It is interesting because it helps me tell things apart,” said Alexis Wegener, fourth-grade student at Eastside.
CHS Sociology teacher Sherri Ottis has one student with dyslexia, but she plans to start using the font for all students.
“Anything that will make their task easier is a good thing, and hopefully I can make a difference for that student,” she said.
Research has shown that dyslexics that use the font improved by 80 percent with their pace of reading and understanding.
“My goal is to discover the unique gifts of each student, to enhance these gifts toward a full potential, and to set high ideals and goals for the usage of these gifts in our global society,” said Curtis. “Helping our future to be lifelong learners with a true joy for capturing the excitement in the acquisition of new things is at the core of my educational values.”
The Metro Teacher Recognition Program is an initiative of the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership’s Regional Quality of Life Division. It is designed to honor outstanding teachers from the Jackson metro area.
Each November, principals and PTOs in metro area K-12 schools are sent nomination forms and asked to select a member of the faculty who best defines the role of an outstanding educator. Honorees are chosen by a teacher selection committee and recognized at the annual event.
Mrs. Curtis earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Mississippi State College for Women, where she earned certifications in elementary education, K-8, special education, and gifted. She received a master of education degree in counseling from Mississippi College. She is the gifted teacher for fourth-grade students at Eastside.
Said Eastside Principal Cindy Hamil: “The students love going to class every day and work very hard for her. Each lesson is carefully planned so that the children are exposed to creative thinking and higher level skills. She is truly giving our students the best foundation they can get.”
Mississippi has made great strides in lowering childhood obesity rates, and a national foundation recently used Clinton’s public schools as a model for this success.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation cited Mississippi’s 13 percent decrease in childhood obesity since 2005 in its Signs of Progress initiative. A RWJF photographer visited Clinton Park and Eastside schools in mid-January to shoot documentary style photos of healthy school menu choices, successful PE programs and even health and wellness added into the regular curriculum.
The photos were shown in a live event in New York City on Feb. 5.
CPSD has earned other national recognition for its efforts to lower childhood obesity. In 2011, Eastside Elementary was designated an NFL Play 60 “Super School” and received a $10,000 grant.
More recently, celebrity chef Rachael Ray filmed an episode of her TV show at Northside & Eastside Elementary featuring First Lady Michelle Obama as a special guest. Mrs. Obama selected CPSD as the site to kick off her “Let’s Move!” campaign anniversary tour.
In its Signs of Progress initiative, RWJF highlighted communities throughout the nation that “have made broad, sweeping changes to make healthy foods available in schools and communities and integrate physical activity into people's daily lives,” according to its Web site.
Students will start the 2015-16 school year on Friday, Aug. 14 in Clinton’s public schools.
The Clinton school board approved the calendar Tuesday night. It sets the faculty start date on Friday, Aug. 7 and the end of school on Friday, May 27.
“This calendar is similar to the current school year calendar, with school starting the second week in August,” said Assistant Superintendent Tim Martin. “It was developed with input from faculty, staff, and administrators.”
School district operations are driven by the calendar in many ways, Martin said, impacting teacher contracts, academic programs, athletics, extracurricular activities, state testing, holidays and general scheduling.
The calendar approved Tuesday by the Clinton School Board shows only the start and end dates of the 2015-16 school year, holidays and professional development days for teachers. Additional information — including registration dates and times — will be developed in the coming months.
Click here to view the calendar:
Light green = staff development days
Dark green = start and ending date of classes
Red = holidays