Grantee Corner  |  Cleveland School District




B.L. Bell Academy students in the Beautification Club plant pansies by the school entrance


B.L. Bell Academy students make healthy snacks


B.L. Bell Academy students learn about plants


Beverly Hardy, Cleveland School District Project Director

Cleveland School District (CSD), in the Mississippi Delta, is the largest district in Bolivar County, Mississippi, serving 3,530 students. The district’s students come mostly from agricultural families. Two-thirds (67 percent) of the students are minorities, and most of the minority students are Black.

Due to the high rates of juvenile diabetes and asthma in both the county and the state, Bolivar County citizens care deeply about health education. Based on this interest and other community feedback, the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant project at B.L. Bell Academy offers its preK through grade 6 students a magnet theme of mathematics, science, and health education. The Academy nurtures a culture of learning and community, and aims to motivate students from diverse backgrounds to work together, think critically, solve problems, and master rigorous academic standards.

B.L. Bell Academy immerses students in engaging environments that integrate research-based programs in reading, mathematics, science, and all other subjects. Learning is supported by innovative technologies and authentic project- and problem-based learning.

Community partnerships play an important role in assuring that the program and curriculum are relevant and that B.L. Bell Academy students have real-world educational experiences. The school partners with local organizations, including the Delta Health Center, Bolivar Medical Center, Bolivar County Extension Office, Bolivar County Health Department, and the Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce. In addition, the Academy partners with several departments at Delta State University: the Center for Science and Environmental Education; the Division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation; and the Nursing School.

Beverly Hardy, a veteran teacher and administrator in CSD, has served as Project Director for the magnet program since 2003. She is an adjunct professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at Delta State University. Her wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of curriculum development, student assessment, and professional development ensure great success for this project.

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