Nichols an advocate for students
Published 9:42 am Tuesday, November 29, 2016
On the bottom floor of Warren Central Junior High School, there are no seventh or eighth grade students.
Located down two flights of stairs is the Vicksburg Warren School District’s Tiger Academy Alternative School for kindergarten through sixth grade students. Anitra Nichols serves as the program coordinator and behavior counselor at the school.
“(The alternative school is) for those students who have gotten in trouble at their home school,” Nichols said. “(They) come here for 45 days or until we get the behavior under control. They have to work through a program that we have. Once they work through the program and they complete their level system, then they have to go to an exit hearing to return to their home school.”
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She said the school currently has 10 students with three teachers and an interventionist.
Nichols’ job is to work with the children and their parents as they transition into and out of the school, and she acts as a liaison with the students’ home school to make sure the student is keeping up with their classwork.
In addition to those administrative tasks, Nichols also counsels the children individually and in groups and refers resources to the parents.
“(I) make sure that all the students that come through here are successful,” she said. “Every child can learn, but every child learns differently. If you’re out there helping that child reach their best potential, that’s the reward.”
She said she will go the extra mile for her students, and she tries to give them whatever they need to make sure they are successful.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” she said.
Nichols has been working in the school district for over 20 years. She started as a day treatment specialist at a school on Halls Ferry Road. Over the years she also worked in a school located just behind Vicksburg High School on Army Navy Drive and in the current Academy of Innovation school on Grove Street.
“Ever since I was in sixth grade, I realized I wanted to work with children, but in what capacity I really didn’t know at that time,” she said.
Before she began working for the school district, Nichols worked for the Department of Human Services for six years. A graduate of Warren Central High School, she earned her degree in psychology from Alcorn State University.
Nichols has a family of educators. Both of her daughters work at Warrenton Elementary School. Ashley Smith is the school’s lead teacher, and Alison Nichols is a second grade assistant teacher. She also has a grandson, Ashton, who is 3 years old.