Sierra Mannie | Stories | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

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Sierra Mannie

Stories by Sierra

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Minding the Equity Gap: How Majority-Black Clinton District Earns Its ‘A’ Rating

The October 2016 release of Mississippi's accountability ratings for each public-school district reveals wide racial disparities.

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Beyond Blame: JPS Works to Avoid State Takeover of Local Schools

At the last Jackson Public Schools board meeting of the year, parents and community members crowded the board room in downtown Jackson, accidentally brushing knees together as they filled the ...

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Facing Takeover, JPS Corrective Action Gains Urgency

After a first failed attempt at submitting a corrective action plan to get the district off probation, Jackson Public Schools made good on its second attempt.

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Licensing Mississippi’s Teachers: A Shift in Control?

Mississippi leaders may establish a new agency to ensure the quality of teachers and the programs that train them.

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Takeover of JPS Looms as District Addresses Probation, Audit

Jackson Public Schools is one step closer to getting off probation—but if the district doesn't correct classroom management and behavior problems soon, the State could take it over.

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‘Not a Dungeon’: The Evolving Approach to Juvenile Detention

Across the pod, from inside the darkness of a cell, two shining circles stared out: the still and steady eyes of a black boy, locked up before he is even ...

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Honoring Davis and Baker: MDE Lauds Top JPS Elementary Schools

For the 2015-2016 school year, Davis Magnet IB Elementary School in downtown Jackson had the highest reading proficiency of elementary schools in the state. The National Blue Ribbon School is ...

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'Kicks for Kids' Rewards a Visit to the Doctor

For many kids, going to the doctor for an annual wellness check can be a pain. But for Children's Health Insurance Program-covered patients who haven't gotten their check-ups yet, UnitedHealthcare ...

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Dr. Freddrick Murray: In the Eye of the Hurricane

Until recently, Freddrick Murray was the chief academic officer of high schools in JPS. Now, with the departure of former superintendent Dr. Cedrick Gray from the district, the school board ...

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Gov. Bryant Named Chairman of Education Commission of the States

The Education Commission of the States, a Colorado-based education policy research center, named Gov. Phil Bryant as chair-elect. Bryant will replace outgoing chairman Gov. Steve Bullock, the Democratic governor of ...

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Rod Paige: JSU Must Improve Image, DeVos a 'High-quality Person'

Dr. Rod Paige, the former U.S. secretary of education under President George W. Bush, believes Jackson State University can and must get past its recent financial controversies and have a ...

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GOP Leaders: Invest in Early Education, Reading to Raise Graduation Rates

Tackling chronic absenteeism, providing early childhood education and improving third-grade reading would increase graduation rates in Mississippi, the Republican chairman of the Mississippi Senate Education Committee said last night.

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JPS Students Avoid Conflict with Peer Mediation

Early in the morning of Oct. 21 at Whitten Preparatory Middle School, students yawned and fidgeted in their stiff, wooden seats, clutching their hoodies and jackets. It was National Day ...

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Third-grade Reading Campaign Expanding with Low-income Outreach

For Mississippi's third graders, the stakes for good performance on the reading test that can knock them out of timely promotion to fourth grade are now higher than ever.

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Fighting Homelessness, Helping Parents

Bilal Qizilbash spends most of his hours working for other people. Some of the 43,000 miles on his car come from traveling across Mississippi lecturing on his cancer research.

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Protesters March On Wendy's for Workers' Rights

Wendy's on High Street got traffic from more than just the lunch crowd this week.

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Shrouded in Secrecy, EdBuild CEO Gets Feedback from the Public on MAEP

For the first time, Mississippians got an official forum Thursday to sound off to EdBuild, the New Jersey education consulting company the state contracted under opaque circumstances to vet the ...

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JPS Hosts Career Expo for Students, Community

The Jackson Convention Center was a hive of activity on Nov. 16, with swarms of Jackson Public Schools ninth graders touring multiple kiosks for jobs and educational opportunities in a ...

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Black, Hispanic Kids React to Trump Win

The electorate of the United States, and the voters who elected Donald Trump, do not resemble the demographics of the country's public schools.

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Amid Bitterness, State Leaders Invite Public to Comment on Education Funding

State leaders are inviting the public to attend a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 4 p.m. in Room 113 in the State Capitol to comment on a potential new ...

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Mississippi Expands Pre-K Education

Just two weeks after Halloween, hundreds of four-year-olds in high-need areas around the state will receive a new treat: pre-kindergarten.

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JPS Board President Talks Transparency, JPS Future

Though Jackson Public Schools is just a month shy of the Christmas holidays, Superintendent Dr. Cedrick Gray's resignation is effective Nov. 14.

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Mayor Proclaims Season to Help Students Pay for College

This morning at Murrah High School, Mayor Tony Yarber proclaimed October through May "FAFSA Completion Season" for the City of Jackson in an effort to increase those numbers across the ...

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JPS Students Confront Police Brutality With Art

When Forest Hill High School teacher Paige Watson taught 9th-grade English last year, her students read law professor Michelle Alexander's book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age ...

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MAEP Co-author Calls Tinkering with Public-School Formula 'Terrifying'

"Like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic." That's the way Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, described the joint meeting between the House and Senate Education Committees yesterday.

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JPS Board, Supe Under Fire Over Scores

When Cedrick Gray took the reins as superintendent of Jackson Public Schools in 2012, he had three preliminary goals attached to his three-year, $200,000 contract.

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State Accountability Ratings Gloomy for Jackson Schools

For the first time in several years, Jackson Public Schools has joined the Mississippi Department of Education's list of failing districts in the state, with 17 JPS elementary and middle ...

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UPDATED: Would a New Formula Fund Public Schools Better?

After a litany of lawsuits, public outcry and legislative drama, Mississippi's GOP leaders have joined forces with a New Jersey-based nonprofit to see if the state's public-school funding formula should ...

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New Washer and Dryer A Big Deal for Jackson Elementary School

Third-graders at Jackson Public Schools' North Jackson Elementary School received a lesson beyond reading, writing and arithmetic today: separating, loading and folding.

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Shirt Company Surprises JPS Elementary Students with Donation

At Watkins Elementary School yesterday, students took saying "thank you" to a whole new level.

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Making Their Own Space

NunoErin, a design studio based in downtown Jackson, glows with color and light. With its pristine light-up furniture and colorful gaming tables illuminating restaurants, hospitals and hotels all over the ...

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Teen, Expelled from School and the State, Back as Adult to Push Education

Summit Town Councilman Joe Lewis said that when Brenda Travis was expelled from Burglund High School on Oct. 4, 1961, it took his classmates minutes—"not days or weeks"—to decide they ...

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Pop-Up Makerspace at FFT Showcasing JPS Elementary Students' Creations

One robot fires miniature red plastic cannons with fierce accuracy; others imitate dogs. With the tap of a keystroke, a 3-D printer develops families of little filament creatures. Student-designed computers ...

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Unmet Needs: Children with Disabilities Caught in the Voucher Crossfire

Private School Review, a website that vets private schools, says that the state has 250 private schools. Out of these, the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, or MAIS, reports that ...

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Is Mississippi Too Selective with Charters?

Some parents in Mississippi who don't want to send their children to district schools or private schools have another option: charter schools. But as these publicly funded, privately run schools ...

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Mississippi Subsidizes Advanced Placement Test Fees

Historically under-served students will have increased access to advanced-placement tests, thanks to a $189,781 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

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Ridgeland, HUD Reach Settlement in 'Shifting Demographics' Dispute

Just a few months after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development filed a complaint against the City of Ridgeland for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act, it ...

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State Stiffs After-School Programs

In addition to project-based learning, SR1 kids travel statewide and compete in robotics tournaments and visit college campuses. They perform well on state-testing assessments across all subject areas, not just ...

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State Fund Mismanagement Threatens Afterschool Programs Like Shoestring

A month after the Mississippi Department of Education announced it would slash 21st Century Community Learning Center grants, kids at Operation Shoestring, a nonprofit afterschool program in Jackson, still make ...

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Public-School Rankings Present Concerns for Districts, Families

Even though Davis Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary School in the Jackson Public School District is ranked an A by the Mississippi Department of Education—and the best elementary school in the ...

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Jackson Elementary School Ranked Best In State, a popular school-ranking website, has rated Davis Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary School the best elementary school in the state of Mississippi.

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Raining Paper Cats and Dogs

Inside Cassandre Connolly's Siwell Middle School art class on a recent Thursday morning, it was raining paper cats and dogs.

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Youth Judge Fights School-to-Prison Pipeline

Just a few years ago, sagging pants and disrupting instruction at school were almost certain to land a kid in front of Jackson County Youth Court Judge Sharon Sigalas. At ...

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Opponents of Charter Schools Ready for Quick Judgment in Lawsuit

In a small room in the Jackson office of the Southern Poverty Law Center, challengers to the state's funding portion of the charter-school law spoke out about the negative impact ...

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Teach For America and the Retention Problem

Schools across Mississippi struggle to keep teachers, which educators and experts say is due in part to low salaries and an overall inability to keep Mississippi's most promising young adults ...

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JPS Improves, Stays Stable in Language Arts, Math; Average ACT 15.6

Jackson Public Schools remained stable or saw improvement across the third- through eighth-grade English language arts and math assessments in 2015-2016 Mississippi Assessment Program, or MAP, results that the Mississippi ...

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JPS On Probation, Full Audit Ahead

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Cedrick Gray says that the district plans to install GPS systems on buses to track their routes, ensure that each school has working fire extinguishers and ...

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JPS Superintendent Defends District, Award

Serving nearly 4,000 employees and more than 28,000 students, 78 percent of whom receive free or reduced lunch in the state's largest city, Jackson Public Schools often faces loud internal ...

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JPS Dads Make the Million Father March

Early this morning, a handful of bright-faced elementary-school students and their tired but happy-looking dads participated in the Million Father March from Jackson Public Schools' Enoch building to Poindexter Elementary ...

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Cedrick Gray of JPS Named Superintendent of the Year

The National Association of School Superintendents named Cedrick Gray, who has been JPS superintendent for four years, as one of two 2016 Superintendents of the Year, along with Timothy Purnell, ...