Convocation drives TPSD educators for coming year

TUPELO – When the Tupelo Public School District begins classes on Wednesday, it will roll out its new laptop initiative with MacBooks for all sixth- to 12th-grade students.
On Monday, a representative from Apple told the district’s convocation that change can create both challenges and rewards.
“This will be your hardest year and will be your most satisfying year,” Apple Curriculum Specialist Adair Caperton told the audience of over 800 district employees and guests at Tupelo High School’s Performing Arts Center.
Caperton said her best advice for teachers preparing for the new laptop initiative is not to be afraid that students may be more knowledgeable than them in using the computers.
“The answer is that none of us digital immigrants will keep up with digital natives,” she said.
Instead, Caperton said teachers should let students show them how to use the technology and should use their own expertise to design “digital assignments.”
She presented several examples of podcasts, movies and documentaries produced by students in other districts. These projects, Caperton said, show how the laptops allow teachers to develop skills in ways that weren’t previously possible.
“I think the MacBooks will be a big change for me,” said Thomas Street second-grade teacher Connie Buse, who will begin her 14th year of teaching. “It’s not the way I learned, and the kids are going to teach me a lot.”
Monday’s convocation also included remarks by Superintendent Randy Shaver, Mayor Jack Reed Jr., School Board President Lee Tucker, Apple Distinguished Educator Larry Anderson, 2010 Parent of the Year Amy Justice and 2010 Teacher of the Year Janna Fairley.
Fairley presented a video that featured several Tupelo students asking teachers such questions as “Do you believe in me?” and “Do you believe every student in Tupelo can graduate?”
Many teachers said the video made a significant impression.
“It was very moving,” said Felicia McGaughy, an assistant teacher at Milam.
First-year teacher Anna Holmes, who will teach in the district’s new School Aged Mothers program, said that the video and the convocation provided a fitting start to her teaching career.
“This made it feel real,” Holmes said. “We have teenagers about to look to us to be mentors to them.”

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.

Tupelo announces school start times

TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District has announced beginning and dismissal times for each of its schools for the upcoming school year. The district’s classes begin on Wednesday.
The five kindergarten to second-grade schools will start at 7:45 a.m. and end at 2:45 p.m.. The four third- to fifth-grade schools will go from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., as will the district’s sixth-grade school, Milam Elementary.
Tupelo Middle School will go from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. and Tupelo High School’s day will be from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The schedule for the Early Childhood Education Center will be from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal