Covington County Schools on the Rise

The new round of assessments for public schools in Covington County revealed improvement in every school and in the district overall as compared to last year.  Two of the local elementary schools, Collins and Seminary, both received A ratings., and Seminary was the 10th highest elementary or middle school in the state.
A report released by the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Accountability provides data on each school’s score and ranking.  Grades  range from A – F.  Elementary and middle schools can score up to 700 points, and high schools up 1000 points.
Comparison of the report for 2018 and 2019 revealed the following improvements:

Seminary Elementary:  2018 – A (510 pts), 2019 – A (582 pts)
Collins Elementary:   2018 – C, (357 pts) 2019 – A (445 pts)
Seminary Middle School:  2018 – D (302 pts), 2019 – C (334 pts)
Hopewell Elementary:  2018 – D (282 pts), 2019 – D (302 pts)
Carver Middle School:  2018 – F (265 pts), 2019 – D (277 pts)
Seminary High School:  2018 – C (619 pts), 2019 – B (659 pts)
Collins High School:   2018 – C (611 pts), 2019 – C (629 pts)
Mount Olive High School:  2018 – F (483 pts), 2019 – C (593 pts)

Covington County School District:  2018 – D (533 pts), 2019 – C (581 pts)

Local school officials are understandably proud.  Dr. Arnetta Crosby, Superintendent of the Covington County School District, said, “We are very excited about the “C” rating of the district.  Everyone worked really hard for this! When I came into the Superintendent’s office in 2016 the district had a “D” rating.  We were allowed to keep a rating of “C” because of a waiver given to the district. This waiver was given to make adjustments to the accountability system because of the different test that had been used in previous years. The waiver year allowed the state time to work out problems with the new accountability system, the one that we presently use.  The next year, we did not show enough growth or proficiency to move to a “C”, so once the accountability system became somewhat consistent and reliable, we began implementing strategies to make improvements that would show growth and proficiency in our assessment results. Last year we were three points away from a “C” rating. This year we made it!  It was the hard work of the administrators, teachers, students, and parents who made the difference.
Before the academic year of 2018-2019 started, some strategic decisions about how we would monitor our student’s performance and achievement was put into place.  We needed this monitoring to be consistent and on a daily basis so that we might be able to do interventions at the appropriate time so that learning gaps would not linger too long.
Needless to say, that we are beginning to see the results of our hard work!  We are a long way from where we need to be, but in these four years, we are very proud of the accomplishments of our administrators, teachers, students, and parents.
We started this year off in a much better place academically than we have been in a very long time.  We are on course, if we follow the trajectory that has been laid out, to show continued growth and proficiency at all of our schools.”
Seminary Elementary School was one of the two county schools to receive an A rating.  Angie Palmer,  Principal of the Seminary Elementary School, said, “Seminary Elementary School is proud to have achieved the status of an “A” school for the second year in a row.  We are especially excited to be the 10th highest elementary or middle school in the state, based on the 700 point scale of which our school is rated.
We earned 582 points this year.  Our points were earned from our last year’s 3rd and 4th graders’ achievement in Reading and Math and from the growth of our 4th grade students in the same areas.
The staff at Seminary Elementary School works extremely hard to make sure students are learning the skills they need to be successful in school and in life.  This hard work begins in Kindergarten and only deepens as the students grow and progress through the years.  Our staff members in the lower grades work to build a foundation and an understanding of the skills and concepts needed for success as they develop.”
Collins Elementary School also received an A rating, up from a C rating last year.  Missy Rogers,  Principal of the Collins Elementary School, said, “How wonderful it is to be recognized and rewarded for our hard work, dedication, and determination to make CES “A” success.  Students, teachers, faculty, and staff moved Collins Elementary from a rating of “F” to “A” in only two years.
Collins Elementary School serves approximately 350 students- kindergarten to fourth grade, including district community based classes. CES focuses on achievement: academic and behavioral.  Learning for all students is ensured by assessing individual needs, using data to drive rigorous instruction, and consistently monitoring student growth and success. The elementary school serves as the foundation for learning and academic success; it is the first step on the road to graduation.  CES takes this responsibility very seriously.
A major factor in turning CES around has been PBIS, a positive behavior system.  Established behavior guidelines and expectations, and a system of incentives and rewards promote smart student choices.  With improved student behavior, CES teachers are able to focus more on academics and less on behavior issues in the classroom.
The community played a vital role in helping improve the school.  CES partnered with businesses and individuals to collect incentives to reward growth and advanced scores on state tests, and community members and church members have donated time to read with students, clean/paint outside and in the gym, and create a new discovery garden that students love!
Our students and this city deserve the best, and we will continue to give our best daily.  We are consistent – rules, procedures, consequences, quality instruction, high expectations never change at CES.”

Butch Bailey speaks to Rotary Club

    Butch Bailey with the Mississippi State Extension Service spoke at the September 16, 2019 meeting of the Collins Rotary Club.  He was the guest of Rotarian Thomas Brewer. Membership chair Zane Collins presented Rotary information packets to new members Johnathon Anderson and Dr. Evan Stout.  Collins Rotary President Noah Sanford presided over the meeting.

Richard Roberson Speaks to Rotary Club

Richard Roberson with the Mississippi Hospital Association was the speaker and guest of Rotarian Gregg Gibbes at the September 9, 2019, meeting of the Collins Rotary Club.  Also, visiting was Pam Smith with Rotary District 6820. Pictured are Gregg Gibbes, Richard Roberson, Pam Smith, and Collins Rotary President Noah Sanford.

Mitchell Farms 2019 Corn Maze


God Bless America!

The 2019 Mitchell Farms Maze will be open to visitors during their Pumpkin Patch hours.  The Maze and Pumpkin Patch will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from September 28 through November 10, 2019.  The Mississippi Peanut Festival will be held October 5 and 6, 2019.  For more information, go to

(Photo by Ronnie Bishop)

Walt Grayson Special Guest of Covington County Chamber

The Covington County Chamber of Commerce will be holding its General Membership Meeting on  Monday, September 16, 2019.  The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and  will be held at Woodland Trails, 27 Dan & Joyce Lane, in Seminary.

Walt Grayson, renowned writer and broadcaster, will be the special guest speaker for the evening.

Other highlights of the evening will be the introduction of Covington County’s Miss Hospitality, Larsen Sanford, the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year Award, and the transition of officers.

The cost of the dinner is $25.00 per plate.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP by Thursday, September 12.  Your check and reservation should be sent to:

Covington County Chamber of Commerce                                P.O. Box 1595 Collins, MS  39428

New Superintendent Named

The Covington County School District Board of Education has named Ms. Babette Duty as the next Superintendent of Schools starting January 1, 2020. Ms. Duty is currently employed as Assistant Superintendent of the Covington County School District. She has worked in the District since 1993. Her previous roles include serving as a teacher, special education director, principal, and federal programs director.
The selection is the result of a statewide search conducted with the assistance of the Mississippi School Boards Association (MSBA) that produced 17 applicants from diverse geographic and professional backgrounds.
We are extraordinarily pleased with the outcome of the search process. Ms. Babette Duty proved herself the best fit to carry forward the vision of the District. Her professionalism and her reputation of driving academic excellence within our school district for the last 25 years, along with her passion for working with students, parents, administrators as well as the community, demonstrates her capability to succeed in this new role, board President Lynn Smith said.
Ms. Duty completed her Bachelor of Arts in English as well as her Master of Education from William Carey University. She is currently pursuing her Specialist in Instructional Leadership from that same University.

Properties delinquent in taxes to be sold at auction


I, SUZETTE DAVIS, City Clerk of the City of Collins, Mississippi, in said state and county
will sell on the last Monday of August being August 26, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. in the Board Room at City Hall, 300 Main Street, Collins, Mississippi, to the highest bidder for cash, all real property upon which the Ad Valorem Taxes be delinquent and unpaid for the year 2018 and listed as follows, to-wit:

Jones updates Rotary members about city

Fellow Rotarian and Mayor Hope Magee Jones, left, highlighted progress and projects in and around the City of Collins at the July 29, 2019 meeting of the Collins Rotary Club. Lillian Thomas, center, hosted the meeting, and Collins Rotary President Noah Sanford is pictured on the right.

CCSD superintendent list cut by 10

The Covington County School District Board of Education has cut 10 from the list of candidates for the next superintendent, going from 17 to seven.
The board met in executive session at the school district’s central office on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Although the meeting was behind closed doors, Board President Lynn Smith has previously committed to being as transparent as possible through the process. He wasn’t able to provide personal information or many details, but did say the seven candidates will be interviewed between August 1 and August 15.

“We’re in the process over the next week of setting up interviews,” Smith said. “There could be second interviews, but we hope to make an offer to a candidate by August 31.”

The Covington County School District Board contracted with the Mississippi School Boards Association (MSBA) to assist in the search for the first appointed superintendent of the Covington County School District.

The vacancy announcement was sent to the National School Boards Association, which posted it on their website. All inquiries to MSBA regarding the position were answered, and a brochure outlining the procedures to apply for the position was sent to each. Telephone and email responses were made to those who had been recommended or who had expressed an interest in the position.

Among the original applicants were four superintendents, one assistant superintendent, three directors, two coordinators, five principals, one assistant principal, and one teacher. Eight of the applicants have a doctorate degree. Ten of those applicants are male, and seven of the applicants are female. Fourteen of the applicants are from Mississippi, two are from Alabama, and one is from Tennessee.

Each application was reviewed, analyzed, and evaluated according to the established criteria, and references were checked.

Reference letters for each applicant were received. Telephone calls and personal contacts were made to gain additional information about each applicant. A determination was also made as to whether each applicant met the qualifications to be a superintendent in Mississippi as defined in the Mississippi Code of 1972, 37-9-13, which went into effect on July 1, 2017 or met the Mississippi Department of Education Alternative Qualifications for Prospective District Superintendents of Education.

Shirley’s sets plans to rebuild

The news of which bargain fans have been waiting is finally set in stone, or concrete in this case.

After month’s of anticipation, Shirley’s of Collins has announced plans to rebuild their popular discount warehouse after one of the largest commercial fire’s in Collins history destroyed the previous building.

“We’re building back!” owner Tammy White told The News-Commercial. “We’re going to get in there as soon as we can. I’m hoping before Christmas.”

Concrete work is starting very soon, making a place for the new facility being built by Davis Construction of Collins.

“”We’re going to be bigger than before,” she announced. “It’s going to be 25,000 square feet instead of the 17,000 or 18,000 square feet. The building has been ordered. We also have to overlay the existing slab because of the damage.”

Even though Shirley’s will be larger, there will be another major change.

“We’re definitely not bringing back the furniture store,” she said. “We may have a few small pieces, but everything else will be back.
The March 10, 2019 fire was ruled an arson after a burglary.

The people arrested were also tied into several other burglaries that were solved through the investigation, including a local school and discount store. Camera footage at the discount store, according to its owner, was able to provide evidence to help identify suspects.

Kendrick Jordan, 19, of Collins, faces commercial burglary and other charges from the Collins Police Department in relation to the Shirley’s of Collins burglary and fire.

An unidentified juvenile also faces similar charges.