Alcorn Student National Education Association participates in local Community Conversation Event

Nearly 100 adults packed the school cafeteria at A.W. Watson Elementary School in Claiborne County for a community conversation to discuss solutions to improve schools. The conversation was convened by a group of educators who are focused on improving the quality of teachers, improving schools, and improving the teaching profession. In attendance to help assist with this project was Alcorn State University chapter of Student National Education Association(SNEA). Approximately twelve education majors were in attendance from the organization to help serve in the capacity of a moderator or recorder. The model, called a community conversation, was a facilitated approach to bringing in a diverse cross-section of education employees and citizens to address student achievement.

“Our students and our schools can be better. Solutions must come from those working in schools and those who care about the future of Port Gibson,” said Woodrow Price, president of the Claiborne County Association of Educators.

From its work to refurbish the library at A.W. Watson Elementary School and ensuring every elementary student received his/her own book to take home over the summer, CCAE has been working tirelessly to organize educators in the district to work together to improve the student success by focusing on improving working conditions for educators to retain and attract high quality educators to the district.

The community conversation model, sponsored by the National Education Association, explores three approaches to school transformation: improving accountability, increasing resources, and parent and community involvement.

“One thing that Student National Education Association is working to do is build its chapter on the campus of Alcorn but more importantly get involve with helping the surrounding communities with educational needs,” shared DeAnte Spann, president of Alcorn chapter of Student National Education Association.

“We are striving to promote community partnerships, foster leadership through pre-professional opportunities and peer mentoring, promote membership, and provide networking opportunities. It has been through this community conversation project that we have been able to carry out those tasks for SNEA members. We really appreciate Claiborne County Association of Educators for working and thinking about us, along with the National Education Association (NEA),” added Spann.

The community conversation is one major strategy toward transformation. From the meeting, a group of educators and stakeholders will develop a plan of action that will involve the entire community. Proven effective in similar school districts, the community conversation model has been the catalyst that has led to revive entire communities across the country. There is already commitment to form a planning group to continue the work that was started at the conversation.

“Only through collaboration can we ensure that every student in Claiborne County succeeds. We are determined to demonstrate to our students, ourselves, and the state that school transformation can work when educators take the lead on instruction and professional issues and work alongside parents to create a partnership that extends from the home to the classroom,” added Price. “As educators we believe that now is the time to create dialogue that moves us past blaming and focusing on developing a plan that will move our students forward.”

To learn more about what NEA is doing to transform America’s public schools, visit