Starkville-Oktibbeha Teacher Academy Students Provide ‘Helping Hands’ During Development Days

Students in Patty Newsom’s Teacher Academy class at the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District provided child care services to approximately 90 children in grades K-8 on during district staff development days this academic year.

The Helping Hands program began when SOCSD Superintendent Eddie Peasant approached Millsaps Career and Technology Center Director Lenora Hogan about utilizing Teacher Academy students during delayed-start days that feature professional development for teachers from 7-10:30 a.m.

Although delayed starts allowed a window for educators to sharpen their skills, it proved problematic, as many teachers did not have a place outside of school for their children to go those mornings.

The 21 Teacher Academy students filled that void and initially provided care and learning activities for approximately 40 children on the first delayed-start day in September 2018. Specifically, Teacher Academy students planned age-appropriate learning activities, utilized board games, created educational worksheets for remediation, and provided child care in five schools throughout the district.

Enrollment grew to approximately 90 children during delayed-start days in October and November 2018.

Peasant stressed that it is important for educators to step beyond their comfort zones and explore new methods of operation, and Newsom said Helping Hands provides invaluable teaching experience to her students.

“They come back to my classroom with all sorts of stories and questions about the younger students. My students are making real-world connections about human growth and development, as well as understanding classroom management skills needed when working with young children,” Newsom said. “It is a great service learning project and a win-win for all involved.”


Connections is the magazine for K-12 career and technical education (CTE) in Mississippi. The biannual publication features students, educators, schools, and organizations from approximately 50 career pathways across 16 career clusters. This Mississippi Department of Education publication is produced by the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University. Issues are disseminated in print and electronic forms in May and December each year.

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