By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The city of Tupelo and its public school district will receive a statewide award next week recognizing their collaboration.
The two entities are winners of a Governor’s Award from the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education. The award will be presented during the Governor’s Awards luncheon on Thursday at the Jackson Hilton.
“We are really honored to be selected for this high honor and salute Mayor Reed and his leadership team for staying steadfast to this collaboration,” said Tupelo School Superintendent Gearl Loden. “Both entities recognize that well-supported schools create communities that people want to move to and stay in.”
The award recognizes numerous projects on which the city and the Tupelo Public School District have partnered. Those include the Safe Splash swimming program for second-graders, an agreement allowing the schools to use city parks and giving residents access to school playgrounds, the Safe Routes to School Program that adds sidewalks near schools, the police department’s donation of bicycle helmets to children and the Mayor’s Marathon that encourages students to be physically active, among others.
“I think it demonstrates when you compare our school district to other districts in Mississippi in a fair, unbiased way, we are one of the top school districts in the state,” Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said. “Tupelo’s success is joined at the hip with the Tupelo Public School District.”
The award is one of six Governor’s Awards that will be given recognizing various partnerships involving schools, school districts and universities. In addition, eight Partnership Excellence Awards will be presented. Winners are chosen by a MAPE board that reviews applications.
The awards were created in 2001 to highlight some of the best, most successful partnerships in the state.
“The Governor’s Award brings publicity to the good work people are already doing and highlights ideal partnerships people could adapt to their community and visit firsthand,” said Michael Bentley, president of MAPE.