The Vicksburg Warren School district has some new hardware to add to its trophy case.
During a conference Monday and Tuesday, Bowmar, Bovina and Redwood elementary schools received value-added awards in English and Math for the growth students showed in the last school year. The district, along with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Alcorn State, Jackson State and the Vivian Burey Marshall Academy, also won a Governor’s Award for Exemplary Partnerships.
“I think it is important for people to know that we do involve other partners and we don’t standalone,” district communication director Christi Kilroy said. “We link arms with other people in the community and even outside the community to move forward and do the best for our kids. These students are getting opportunities that the school district couldn’t provide to them on its own.”
The three elementary schools were recognized by the Program of Research and Evaluation for Public Schools. The group uses a formula to predict how much growth a school should see based upon its student population. The three schools received a value added award for exceeding the projected growth in both English and math. The three schools were among 50 elementary and middle schools in the state to win the award.
“That is what we are here to do,” Kilroy said. “The school district is here to add knowledge to our children and move them forward. When we are doing that, it is nice to get a pat on the back. That doesn’t mean our work stops of course, but it is nice to get that pat on the back and say well done.”
The partnership between VWSD, ERDC, Alcorn, Jackson State and the Vivian Burey Marshall Academy works to introduce the STEM fields to underrepresented children. The group meets twice a week and includes students in sixth through 11th grades.
“Two years ago, Vivian Burey Marshall reached out to Vicksburg and Baltimore, Maryland, because they reached out through the Army and because we have the Army Corps of Engineers, to create a STEM program that would encourage underrepresented and/or under-resourced students,” Kilroy said.
There are currently 107 students in the program, but Kilroy said the impact the partnership has on the district goes well beyond just the students actively in the program.
“They have actually taken two sets of our teachers, five each year, and taken them to some really intense training for hands on learning and project based learning,” Kilroy said. “Those teachers come back and are using those with all our students.”
Students and representatives from each of the partners joined the district at the award ceremony Tuesday. Students and teachers also had the chance to setup a booth and talk about the partnership during the conference Monday.
“It was an amazing event to look and see all of us standing up there together and know that is the strength of our particular community,” superintendent Chad Shealy said. “The thing we do well is, Vicksburg is full of very wonderful people and we hook arms and head toward a goal. I think that was a testament to our district.”