Bowmar Elementary celebrates A-rating; historic designation from state

Published 7:55 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Bowmar Elementary School celebrated its historic past and its unprecedented present, while looking to the future, during a school-wide event Wednesday.

For the first time in its history, Bowmar received an A-rating from the Mississippi Department of Education for the 2017-18 academic year. The school, which has been a B-rated school the last couple of academic years, had more than a 100-point increase in growth from the previous year — moving from 381 points to 484 points.

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Bowmar is one of two elementary schools in the Vicksburg Warren School District to receive the A-rating. Bovina Elementary also received an A-rating from this past academic year.

Proud principal

Principal Jason Bennett is in his third year at Bowmar. The Warren Central High School graduate said Bowmar is a special place full of tradition and expectations.

“I’m really proud of the students and teachers,” Bennett said. “It was all them. They worked very hard to get this designation and this A-rating reflects their hard work. Bowmar is full of tradition and expectations and the teachers and students work hard every day to try and fulfill those expectations and keep those traditions alive.”

Several students, including Bennett’s first-grade daughter who introduced her Dad, were part of a performance before Bowmar alumni and others were given a guided tour of the school.

Several alumni and former teachers and administrators returned to the school to celebrate the occasion.


VWSD Superintendent Chad Shealy said it was “unprecedented growth” and dedication that helped Bowmar’s students and faculty receive the A-rating

“I think it’s a great testament to the effort put forth by the staff,” Shealy said. “Not only have they spent ample time with meeting the standards, but executing with students in reaching record rates. It makes me smile from ear to ear in how it affects the community.”

Keeping that tradition of excellence alive is something Shealy said is a focal point, not only in academics, but also in future growth of the school.

“There’s something unique about Bowmar, no doubt about it,” Shealy said. “When it comes to students, they’re small in number, but huge in quality.”

Shealy said the historical structure of the school and its unique design has been taken into consideration with Gary Bailey Architects as they work with the district on future upgrades of the school as part of the school bond referendum that was approved earlier this year.

“The architecture was so forward thinking in the original design, even though it was built so long ago, and we want to continue that,” Shealy said.

Built in 1939 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, Bowmar became a magnet school in the Vicksburg Warren School District in 1999, a Leader In Me school in 2012 and the first Lighthouse School in Mississippi in 2014.

Bowmar was designated an historic Mississippi landmark in 1993 and will receive a marker from the state in the coming weeks.