Well done, VWSD tells teachers, students

Published 11:43 am Friday, November 18, 2011

Two Vicksburg Warren School District faculty members were singled out as “model teachers” by the Board of Trustees at their business meeting Thursday night, while seven high- schoolers were recognized for their achievements in a fledgling program for overage students.

Uretka Callon and Starla Breazeale, both teachers at Dana Road Elementary, were awarded certificates by superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Duran Swinford and board president Zelmarine Murphy, and trustees and visitors watched video clips of the two in their classrooms with students.

Callon teaches pre-kindergarten; Breazeale, kindergarten. The award recognizes teachers who are using “best practices” in their methods, such as hands-on learning that actively involves students.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Swinford thanked both Callon and Breazeale “for making learning fun,” and said the district will be identifying and honoring others as the year progresses.

“I just hope and pray that all of our teachers can look at what you are doing with these kids reading at such an early age, early in the year, and can continue what you are doing as well,” Swinford said. “Our kids deserve that, and we truly appreciate your passion for what you are doing.”

On the other end of the academic scale, the high school students highlighted at Thursday’s meeting were behind and in danger of dropping out of school, Swinford said. They are representatives of the first group of VWSD students to enroll in the Accelerated Program for Transition, a program the Board of Trustees approved last year for students two or more grades behind academically. The program began in August and enrolls about 60.

The group included Kendrick Williams, Lizzette DeFrance, Alan Jones and Tashie Austin from Vicksburg High School and Brittany Tanner, Adrianna Johnson and Obrianna Carson from Warren Central High. The seven range in age from 17 to 19.

Each addressed the board, thanking them for starting the program and telling what it has meant to them.

“I was failing academically, and my behavior was getting out of control,” said Alan. “I felt like everyone had given up on me — and I was starting to give up on myself. The APT program has given me a second chance. (It) gave me confidence and made me feel like I could do anything if I put my mind to it.”

The students also spoke of their progress toward graduation or earning their GEDs, and their plans to go to college or enter the military.

In addition to speaking for herself, Obrianna also read a poem written by fellow APT student Trevion Howard.

“I want to make sure everyone in the community understands that these students have worked, probably, harder than anyone else,” said Swinford. “They were behind in their studies and they overcame many other barriers in their lives in order to stay in school and make it through.”

In other personnel action, the board approved with little comment the switch of two assistant principals between schools.

Dr. Josephine Calloway, who had been assigned to VHS since 1989, was moved a week ago to Vicksburg Junior High School, while Billie Mosley went from VJHS to VHS.

District 3 Trustee Jim Stirgus questioned Swinford about the timing of asking the board’s approval after the move had already taken place. Swinford acknowledged the switch had already been made and she was seeking board approval as a formality. The item passed unanimously.

Swinford said after the meeting that she has the authority to assign employees without giving them prior notice or asking their preferences, but said such moves can be appealed to the board.