TMS recognized for service learning

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo Middle School’s work to link learning and community service received national attention this week.
The Microsoft Corp. and the Corporation for National and Community Service chose the school as one of six in the country to participate in a new initiative designed to foster technology-focused service learning.
The six schools selected to participate in the Service & Technology Academic Resource Team will serve as laboratories to create examples other schools can use.
All of the schools were chosen because of existing projects that combine technology and service learning. Tupelo Middle School will also receive a $10,000 stipend to expand its current efforts.
“I think service learning is very important to our school because it develops leadership skills for our students and it makes learning real,” TMS Principal Linda Clifton said. “It helps our kids to see the benefits of serving their community.”
In past projects at the school, senior citizens have been invited to the campus so students can teach them how to use e-mail. In another exercise, students were sponsored for the number of words they could type in a timed-drill and the money was donated to charity.
Students also created CDs that elementary students could use to learn Spanish.
Those in Excel Technology teacher Julia Smith’s class often maintain and reformat computers at the school.
“Service learning helps the students take a leadership role,” Smith said. “They have to research further to be able to teach it to others. It takes them to a higher level of thinking.”
Smith said she wasn’t yet sure how the stipend will be used. She said the school will research different technology it can purchase to better serve the community.
The school will partner with the CREATE for Mississippi program at Mississippi State University.
“We’re familiar with technology and we know how to use it and we can use it to help our community,” said TMS eighth-grade student Montrez Brown, who joined Clifton and Smith this week in Washington, D.C., to receive the recognition.

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