Tribal celebration with BOE at GSES

Unveiling their “tribe pride” t-shirts at  Gum Springs Elementary School during the September meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education are, from left, Michael Cronic, BOE vice-chair; Dr. April Howard, superintendent of schools; Lynne Massey-Wheeler, BOE chair; and BOE members Carol Anglin and Beau Hollett.

Unveiling their “tribe pride” t-shirts at  Gum Springs Elementary School during the September meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education are, from left, Michael Cronic, BOE vice-chair; Dr. April Howard, superintendent of schools; Lynne Massey-Wheeler, BOE chair; and BOE members Carol Anglin and Beau Hollett.

Some “sorting” took place when Gum Springs Elementary School hosted the Sept. 9 meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education.

Principal Todd Graichen explained that the school organizes its staff and students into six tribes for service, support, and social activities. The groups promote positive behavior and social-emotional learning opportunities that strengthen the sense of community within the school.

With a nod to the “Harry Potter” book series, Graichen said BOE members had been sorted to each of the school’s tribes, and Assistant Principal Amy Wright presented them with envelopes containing a tribe t-shirt and wrist band.

BOE vice-chair Michael Cronic, BOE vice-chair, got the red t-shirt and wristband for his designation as part of the Runasimi tribe, while Dr. April Howard, superintendent of schools, was assigned to Geronimo and green.

Lynne Massey-Wheeler, BOE chairman, noted that purple was her favorite color as she opened her envelope. “I knew that, we knew that,” Graichen said, drawing another laugh.

BOE members Carol Anglin, who got the Yamasee tribe assignment and a bright yellow t-shirt, and Beau Hollett, who got Bella Coola and blue, were all smiles. Hollett’s smile widened when Graichen pointed out that Bella Coola was “the best tribe,” noting that he and Hollett “just happen to match.”

“We’re keeping it real with Bella Coola,” he added.

Not present was BOE member Don Clerici, who was assigned to the orange-wearing Ottawa tribe, “because he’s such a big Georgia fan,” Graichen said, drawing a warm laugh from the crowd.

Graichen invited the board members to visit GSES anytime with their “tribe pride on.”

Graichen’s presentation also included information on student advocacy, and members of the GSES student council and Panther Helpers led the Pledge of Allegiance and shared information about their school and its activities.

The board’s next meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at East Jackson Elementary School, 1531 Hoods Mill Road, Commerce. The agenda is available online at bit.ly/JCSS_BOEdAgendas. The meetings are live-streamed on the school system’s YouTube channel, bit.ly/JCSS_YouTube.

The Jackson County School System serves more than 8,300 Pre-K through 12th-grade students in 10 schools across the county.