BSD focuses on students, health

Published 10:15 am Thursday, January 28, 2016

Principals from five of the city schools presented their annual wellness plans at Tuesday’s Brookhaven School District board of trustees meeting.

Although dental and vision screenings are used at all grade levels, each school’s principal said their goal is to cater wellness plans to the age groups they serve.

Mamie Martin Elementary School, which has students through second grade, hosts the Panther Fun Run each year and raises money for St. Jude. This year they are also participating in a study with Mississippi Department of Education that will explore if an increase in hand washing awareness can lead to a reduction in absenteeism. For teachers, Mamie Martin will also introduce a kickboxing group.

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Brookhaven Elementary School, which includes students in third and fourth grade, has recently added more playground equipment to ensure that students are active during recess. They have an outdoor classroom that they encourage teachers to take advantage of to allow students to get fresh air while working on their lessons. The school also participates in a recycling program, which has been expanded to include recycling containers in each homeroom class.

Lipsey School, which has students in fifth and sixth grade, has introduced anti-bullying lessons into their classrooms as well as ensuring clubs encourage students to stay active, such as tennis, Zumba and physical fitness clubs. For teachers, Lipsey has hosted a health fair by King’s Daughters Medical Center as well as offered to pay for two sessions of weight watchers.

Alexander Junior High School, which has students in seventh and eighth grade, has health and sex education as well as physical education. AJH Principal Patrick Hardy said he and the students will have friendly competitions to encourage physical fitness. The school is still working to find the best programs for that age group. Hardy said one thing they have had success with is focusing on snack foods, particularly hot chips. Hot chips are a favorite among the students, but they often leave the students feeling sick afterward.

Brookhaven High School, which has students in ninth through 12th grade, also has health and sex education. They have introduced new groups for students who may not fit into the existing niches, which include a ping pong club and a bass club. The school hosts pink games for softball and football as well as a gold out game in football. The National Honor Society raised $1,200 to benefit Blair E. Batson. The school also hosts an annual student-teacher basketball game.


Audit report

The school district received its audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, as prepared by Cunningham CPAs, PLLC. The audit showed no findings.

“Kudos to that office, past and present, for keeping any issues at bay,” Vice-Chairwoman Erin Smith said.

Superintendent Ben Cox also presented a certificate of recognition from the State Auditor’s office that recognized the business office for its achievement in receiving an unqualified opinion with no material findings.


New board member

The board welcomed Lucy Shell, who replaces Stan Patrick as representative of those residing within the school district but outside the city limits.

“You always worry when there’s a new member, but when I found it was going to be you it made me feel good because I knew you would do what’s good for the school district,” Cox said.


Technology improvements

In December’s school board meeting, the board approved a transfer for $127,103.86 from 16th section land interest to district maintenance for improvements to the wireless access points across the school campuses. Due to some savings, the cost come in $10,000 less than anticipated. Nancy Wallace, director of technology, requested the board approve the savings to be repurposed for additional technology upgrades. The board agreed.


In other board business:

• The board approved the student council to sell valentines, to take senior walk pictures at prom, sell candy, hold a bake sale, sell raffle tickets for donated items and hold a tuxedo rental fundraiser in conjunction with a local business.

• The board approved for the track team to hold a basketball tournament for students vs. teachers, a track meet for third through sixth grade, and sell boxes of chicken tender strips.

• The board approved for BES to sell T-shirts.

• The board approved a donation from the Powerlifting Booster Club in the amount of $737.

• The board approved a donation from the Softball Booster Club in the amount of $906.15.

• The board approved a donation from the Hardwood Booster Club in the amount of $1,118.

• The board approved a donation from Wal-Mart, in partnership with New Lion Media Group, in the amount of $350.

• The board approved a donation from Silver Cross Home for Mamie Martin’s DORE program in the amount of $2,400 and for Lipsey’s DORE program in the amount of $3,000.

• The board approved a donation from Exxon Mobil Education Alliance Program for BES, BHS and Lipsey, each in the amount of $500.