FRAZIER: A school district is only as good as its support system

Published 4:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2022

I want to jump on the bandwagon with all those who are giving accolades to the Vicksburg Warren School District for receiving a B accountability grade from the Mississippi Department of Education.

Congratulations — I couldn’t be prouder of the District.

For me, as a product of the school district, it was truly an emotional experience to be part of the celebration that was held Tuesday at the Duff Green Mansion when the announcement was made.

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I felt like I was grinning from ear to ear with all the excitement, and I even found myself literally having to hold back tears when Shelley Tingle, one of the hosts of the event, reminded us that while we received a B rating for the measures valued by the state, there were so many other attributes the VWSD has that are not measured.

She shared with those in attendance a story of one particular bus driver who, during the COVID-19 lockdown, had gone above and beyond her duties. This bus driver, Tingle said, was not only delivering meals to students, but she was also taking the time to enquire about their schoolwork and ask if everything was going ok with their online studies.

And like Tingle said, this act of kindness and caring didn’t factor into the accountability model.

As Tingle went on to share more instances where teachers, administration, staff and school board members exceeded their obligations, I recalled some of my days at Jett Elementary and Warren Central.

This quality of giving more than required existed then, too.

I could go on and on and on about administrators and teachers I had growing up, some of whom included Johnny Franklin, Larry Little, John Waite, Larry Grant, Kathryn Dupuy, Craig Rittenhouse and Bobby Odom.

Yes, these folks encouraged excellence in educational performance, but they also displayed an interest in my development and future — a measure not assessed or assigned a letter grade in an accountability model.

Do we need a system in place that measures the quality of our schools? Absolutely. But we must remember, even at the highest level of instruction, if there is not genuine love and care and concern for a student, it will be felt, and the likelihood of success diminishes.

As we celebrate this recognition and achievement of the VWSD, let’s remember: A school is only as good as the community that supports it.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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