Pascagoula-Gautier School District Receives $25,000 Grant for Bilingual Library

Families in Jackson County now have the opportunity to become more bi-literate at the Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center.

The Pascagoula-Gautier School District received a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood grant to develop a bilingual resource library in an effort to help children and parents in the community. According to State Farm, the program “helps worthwhile nonprofit organizations across the U.S., offering $25,000 grants for neighborhood projects involved in education, safety and community development.”

Kelli McCorkle, the director of the early beginnings program, said that while the Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center also holds the Excel by 5 library, this is an opportunity for families to receive more support with bilingual needs.

“One of our main goals is bi-literacy,” McCorkle said. “We want parents to get involved with reading and use this support before their children enter school.”

McCorkle said that her time as a past school administrator made her aware of the challenges to those students who don’t speak English. She explained that a long-term goal of the library is to support graduation down the road.

“The resource library will help children prepare for kindergarten,” McCorkle said. “When children are more prepared starting at the pre-kindergarten level, you see increased graduation rates, an increase of those who own homes, and more.”

While many of the materials available at the library are in Spanish, McCorkle said there is a variety of materials in many languages, such as Vietnamese or American Sign Language. In addition, there are many different types of activities, including a listening center that incorporates new technologies.

The hours for the library vary. On Monday and Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., the library is open where students and parents can interact or checkout books, with hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. While only those in Pascagoula and Gautier will be able to checkout materials, anyone is welcome to come into the center and interact.

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Dr. Durand Payton Named CTE Director of the Year

asdf2-200x300 Dr. Durand Payton Named CTE Director of the YearOn October 29-31, the Mississippi Association of School Administrators held its annual meeting & fall leadership conference in Jackson, MS.  The theme of the conference was “The Changing Seasons of Leadership ~ To Everything There is a Season”.  During the conference, Dr. Durand Payton was named the 2017 MASCTA Director of the Year.  Dr. Payton is the director of the Moss Point Career & Technical Education center in Moss Point, MS.  The MASCTA award pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead our state’s public schools. This award is sponsored by the Scantron Corporation and the Mississippi Association of School Administrators.  The Mississippi Association of School Administrators (MASA) is the oldest educational organization in Mississippi serving administrators across Mississippi.  MASA is also the state affiliate for the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).  Founded in 1865, the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) is one of the longest-standing professional education leadership organizations in the nation.  

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Hometown Heroes Super Saturday Features Excel by 5 Health Fair

            The Pascagoula-Gautier Hometown Heroes Super Saturday will be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, at the Aaron Jones Interactive Center. Featured exhibits will be provided by the City of Gautier, Gautier Police Department, Pascagoula Police Department, Pascagoula Fire Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Acadian Ambulance, Jackson-George Regional Library System and Boys and Girls Club.

          In conjunction with the Super Saturday, Excel by 5 of Pascagoula will hold its annual Health Fair with free health and safety screenings. Exhibits include Wal-Mart Vision, South Mississippi Smiles, Singing River Women’s and Children’s Department, the PGSD diagnostics department, Singing River Hands Only CPR, American Red Cross, Let’s Go Gulf Coast, Jackson County Health Department, Encore Rehabilitation, Prevention and Safety Services and Healthplex.

          Children will also be able to explore the Wetlands Room, Pirate Ship Room, Toddler Town, Block Room, Main Street Pascagoula, STEM Lab, flight simulator rooms, black light room, Apple Computer Lab, golf course and playground.

          Super Saturdays are open free to the public. All children must be accompanied by an adult. The Family Interactive Center is located at 1415 Skip St., across from Pascagoula High School. For more information, call 228-938-6418.

 

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Gautier High School to Host 18th Annual Veterans Breakfast

Gautier High School will host its 18th annual Veterans Breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m., Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, in the school cafeteria. The event is one of the biggest on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with more than 250 veterans invited to attend.

Special guest speakers will be United States Marine Sgt. (R.) Anthony McDaniel Jr., a triple amputee who lost both legs and a hand after an IED severely injured him while serving in 2010 in Afghanistan; and Mississippi National Guard Army Capt. (R.) Steve Edwards, a GHS guidance counselor, who has served several tours of duty overseas.

As a student and a 2006 graduate of Gautier High School. McDaniel participated in the annual Veterans Day breakfast never realizing that one day his life would forever be changed while serving his nation.

Following the breakfast, the veterans will be escorted to the gym where they will be honored with a special program.

All veterans and their families are invited to attend the program.

 

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MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus to host Veterans Day Celebration

Veterans-Day-Banner-1024x376 MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus to host Veterans Day Celebration

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jackson County Campus will host a Veterans Day Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 12:30 p.m. in the Veterans Courtyard.  A reception will follow the event in the cafeteria lobby.

As part of the ceremony, Pascagoula High School Navy JROTC Color Guard will present the colors and James L. Strong Jr., retired United State Air Force veteran, will give the invocation.  JC Voices will perform “America the Beautiful” and a there will be a Presentation of the Wreath for the Fallen.

The event is free and open to the public.  For more information, visit mgccc.edu/veterans-day or contact Brandi Martino at 228.497.7680 or brandi.martino@mgccc.edu.

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MGCCC Instructor April Lawson Named Humanities Council Instructor of the Year

 MGCCC Instructor April Lawson Named Humanities Council Instructor of the Year

April Lawson

April Lawson, language arts instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jackson County Campus, has been chosen as the 2017 Mississippi Humanities Council Instructor of the Year.  Lawson, who has taught at the college since 2003, will represent the college at the state awards in February 2018.

The Humanities Teacher Awards recognize the contributions of humanities faculty at each of the state’s colleges and universities in the fields of English, history, music, art and philosophy. Nominations are made by the college or university president, vice president or dean of instruction. Each award recipient is required to prepare and deliver a public lecture during October (National Arts and Humanities Month) or during November.

Lawson’s lecture, “The Reel Deal: Film in Education,” will be presented on November 14 at 12:30 p.m. in the WPA Lecture Hall at the Jackson County Campus.  The presentation is free and open to the public.

“My presentation will showcase the ways in which I use film in the classroom and I will show film clips that will work in various subject areas,” she said. “I will provide some materials that can be used by other instructors in incorporating film in their classrooms.”

Lawson said she finds that film offers her students a “shared experience” that offers a springboard for in-depth class discussions and research. “I will show film clips from movies such as ‘Clue,’ which is a comedy but is set during the 1950s.  The film can be used in history classes to discuss McCarthyism, communism and J. Edgar Hoover, for instance.  Another movie that I use, but that can be used in a variety of subject areas, is ‘Contagion.’   We discuss how different characters react to the outbreak, but it could be used in science, economic, history, psychology, health, statistics or many other classes.  It is a way to get students involved and to see the problems presented by certain situations.”

Lawson graduated from the University of West Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in English Education and a Master of Arts in Teaching English.

 

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Supporting Students for Success

Ana-Ortiz_Classroom-at-JC-Campus_2017-682x1024 Supporting Students for Success

Ana Ortiz, 23, of Vancleave, participates in the MIBEST program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Jackson County Campus. Ortiz is taking her high school equivalency courses while also getting college credit in Human Services. She plans to continue taking college classes and work toward a degree in nursing.

MGCCC’s adult education program helps students prepare for a better future

Looking into a typical classroom at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, you might expect to see students in their late teens to early 20s listening to instructors or reading in college-level textbooks.  And while that represents the majority of students on campus, there is also a wide variety of other learners – from high school students taking college classes through Collegiate Academy or a dual-enrollment program to senior adults taking classes as part of the Lifelong Learning Institute.  

The largest group of students, other than traditional college students, however, is those involved in Adult Education programs.   These individuals –ranging in age from 18 to 80– are preparing to get their high school equivalency and train in college-level skills that will prepare them for a career.  The program also provides participants with job-ready skills that are recognized and sought by industry.  By the end of the program, students can walk away with their National Career Readiness Certificate and the Mississippi Smart Start Credential along with a high school equivalency and college credit.

Students like Blaine White of St. Martin recognize how much better their careers and lives could be with a high school diploma.  White, at the age of 36, has had a successful career as a truck driver. “I make decent money now, but I stay on the road all the time,” he said. “I want to have a career, something I truly love and one that will allow me to spend more time with my family.” 

White dropped out in tenth grade because of academic problems and issues with his high school principal.  “I was a bit of a cut-up, and I learned things a little slower.  It just takes me more time to catch on to some things,” he said.  

Now, driven to improve his lot in life, he is taking part in the MIBEST program, which allows him to take classes that will prepare him for his high school equivalency exam while also taking college-level courses.  He is in the pre-apprenticeship training program that guarantees him an interview for the Ingalls Apprenticeship Program upon successful completion of his training.  He also gains employability skills and his NCCER Core classes.

“Now that I’m back in school, I have my priorities straight.  I wish I could go back and tell that 16-year-old me what I know now about how life works,” he said. “Education is just very, very important for success.”

Instructor Ronnie Penton is pleased with White’s success in the program. “He is hardworking, always on time and has never missed a day of class,” Penton said. “That says a lot about his dedication to complete, and it says a lot to future employers about what kind of worker he will be.”

Penton team-teaches classes with an Adult Education instructor on hand and power tools, general safety, construction math, communication skills, basic employment skills, welding symbols, and blueprint reading.  Penton also teaches students in the welding lab, where they gain hands-on experience.  

“As a team, my co-teacher and I prepare our students for not only completing their high school equivalency exam, we also help them complete the college-level courses they need to get a job.  Team teaching works because some students just need more guidance and some need more time to catch on to concepts.  Between the two of us, we can get them where they need to go.”

Cassandra Palmer, who co-teaches with Penton, said helping students learn construction math and blueprint reading is a challenge. “These are not what I usually teach, but it is rewarding because my class gets to see why the skills we teach as part of the basic subjects –reading and math– are important.  They need them for their future careers, and that is made quite clear to them since Ronnie and I work hand in hand.”

Ana Ortiz, 23, of Vancleave, recently started classes through the MIBEST program, preparing for her high school equivalency, and at the college level, taking classes in Human Services.  “I was pregnant at 17 when I dropped out of school,” she said.  “I now have three children.  They are 6, 2 and 1, so I’ve been a full-time mother.  Now that my children are getting bigger, my husband and I decided this was a good time for me to go back to school. It was something I had promised my dad I would do.”

Ana wants to be a nurse because of the kind of care she saw her dad receive when he had heart surgery.  “I remember thinking that the nurses were just not as nice as they could have been, and I just knew immediately that I wanted to become a nurse and make a difference.  I wanted to treat people with the respect and get the care that I didn’t see my dad receive.”  Her father died three years ago.

She said that she is thrilled that her children get to see her going to school.  “I tell my daughter in the morning that I’m going to school just like she is,” she said. “I want her to see that education is important because I want her and all of my children to stay in school. I am just thrilled with the opportunities that I have here.”

Hannah Fuller, 34, of Escatawpa, found out about the MIBEST program when she visited the college to enroll in Adult Education courses.  “I have been a stay-at-home mom and wanted to complete my education and find a job.  When they told me about what I could do –coming to take high school review and college classes at the same time– I was very excited.” 

Hannah is taking welding classes along with her high school equivalency program. “I would love to continue in college after getting my diploma,” she said.  “I’d love to continue taking welding classes but add auto mechanics as well.  I’ve always liked working on cars, and if I can combine welding and mechanics in my future career, well, that’s perfect for me.”

Hannah said the best thing about the program, which she has been in for over a month, is that she gets great support from her instructors and other personnel in the department. “The people here really care about the students.  They want us to succeed and are willing to go the extra mile to see that we do.  It is scary to come back to school after all of this time.  It was very intimidating for me, but they have really put me at ease and helped me do well.”

Programs like MIBEST are vitally important.  With 14 percent of the state’s adult population lacking a high school diploma, Mississippi suffers significant economic setbacks. When students drop out, they are six times more likely to end up in prison, three times more likely to be unemployed and earn roughly $1 million less than high school graduates during their lifetime.  Furthermore, out-of-school, out-of-work individuals will collectively cost Americans about $1.6 trillion in increased social-service costs, lost earnings and taxes over the course of their lifetimes. 

The specialized program addresses the problems that public high schools often cannot.  They provide these students the additional support academically, socially and emotionally they need to succeed.

“When you are faced with the daunting task of returning to school of your own volition after years have passed, many people almost don’t want to try,” said Brandi Tisbury, MIBEST navigator for the college’s program. “Our team wants to help them deal with the fear or anxiety, the financial difficulties of attending school and whatever else they have going on.  We are their cheerleaders, giving them the encouragement they need to make it over the mountain.  We offer them guidance as they find their way toward a successful career.”

For more information on the Adult Education and MIBEST programs at MGCCC, call 228.896.2512.

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Chevron to Host Hundreds at Middle School Career Fair

Chevron Pascagoula Refinery will host a career fair for approximately 400 area middle school students on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at Pelican Landing in Moss Point.

Interactive displays will give the students hands-on experience with the equipment and tools of the trade at each booth, and Chevron personnel will provide guidance and advice about training and education.

The local schools participating will be:

  • Resurrection and Moss Point High School 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Ocean Springs High School and Pascagoula High School – 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
  • Vancleave High School and Green County High School – 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • Martin High School and George County High School – 9:45 p.m. to 11:15 a.m.
  • East Central High School and Gautier High School – 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
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Central Elementary Holds Hispanic Heritage Program

Central Elementary celebrated Hispanic Heritage with a special program featuring a presentation of Hispanic countries represented by the students of Central Elementary including Chili, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, music sung by all Central Elementary students and a special dance presentation by students and teachers.

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