Award Year: 2021

Brandon Elementary School

125 Overby Street
Brandon, MS, 39042-3022

(601) 825-4706

Mrs. Vallerie Lacey, Principal at time of Nomination

Rankin County School District

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To intentionally establish an inclusive environment which empowers students to reach maximum potential by embracing individual uniqueness while cultivating a tradition of distinction in education.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 32%
  • White: 62%
  • Hispanic: 3%
  • Asian: 1%
  • Two or more races: 2%
Brandon Elementary School 20/21 Snapshot

Brandon Elementary School 20/21 Snapshot

On Friday, March 6, 2020, students, teachers, and staff left Brandon Elementary School with great anticipation and excitement for our upcoming spring break. We never could have predicted what was on the horizon. Had we known the COVID-19 pandemic would rob us of our 4th quarter, we would have hugged a little longer, smiled a little bigger, and shouted "I love you" a little louder. At what should have been the conclusion of spring break, our school faced a mandatory shutdown due to the pandemic.

Emphasizing the importance of the social/emotional needs of our students, we kicked off the 2020/2021 school year with "Start with Hello". This initiative teaches skills needed to reach out to and include those who may be dealing with chronic social isolation and create a culture of inclusion and connectedness. Monthly character traits are spotlighted, and students are encouraged to incorporate them into daily practice.

Procedures have changed as a result of COVID-19. However, we remained committed to holding recognition ceremonies and programs, just as in years past. One highlighted event includes our partnership with Unified Champion Schools, which is part of Special Olympics of MS. We are proud to be the first school in our district to utilize this program. Unified Champion Schools promotes social inclusion by bringing together students with and without disabilities to interact and compete in different ways.

COVID-19 has taught us the value of the "little things", which has yielded stronger relationships with students and higher levels of student success.