Managing Bullies is Topic of New Series at JSCC

Jackson State Community Colleges Community Education department will be host to a newly created Situational Options Series. The purpose of the series is to equip both victims and witnesses of bullying or harmful behavior with appropriate choices and ways to respond to those who either physically or emotionally threaten others. Located on JSCCs main campus, the event will be held in the McWherter Center Saturday, April 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is open to the public, but it is designed primarily with middle school through high school students, their parents and educators in mind. It is noted that anyone interested in learning more about this topic is also encouraged to attend.

The first part of the series is entitled Tips and Tools for Managing Bullies. Several breakout sessions are planned which are designed for teens, parents and educators to help provide information about the different ways bullying is manifested and optimal ways to deal with the issue. Speakers for the sessions include professionals from counseling, juvenile justice, education, and others.

Event organizer Leah Gray, Director of Community Education, saw a need for this series and was compelled to make this available to the public. Everyone has seen and heard of various events at the national level where teens have been driven to suicide as a result of bullying, notes Gray, continuing, At the local level, we have been confronted with some of our own youth making these same decisions with disastrous results. As a parent of two young children myself, I could not, in good conscience, sit idly by and do nothing.

Gray mentioned that the series is based on making good or right choices. Growing up as a teen is a tough time in life, she notes, Peer pressure can lead to irrational decisions. The goal of the series is to give the victims of bullying tools to better cope with and respond to threatening behavior. At the same time, the series will help others identify this type of behavior as it is happening and give them appropriate ways to manage and possibly intercede on behalf of a victim.

As previously mentioned, this is the first in a series of events being planned. There are two camps planned for teens this summer. In the fall, there are sessions in the works for counselors, teachers and those in the field of juvenile justice.

Anyone interested in this first event on managing bullies should contact Leah Gray. The first 50 to pre-register will receive a free lunch. For more information, call 731-425-2627 or email Leah at

Governor Haslam to Discuss College Completion Strategies with Higher Ed, Business Leaders at Summit

Governor Bill Haslam will provide the keynote speech and participate in a town hall conversation about strategies to improve college completion with higher education leaders from the states public universities and community colleges this Thursday.

Haslam will join business leaders, higher education system officials and campus teams from the states 22 public community colleges and universities for the Tennessee College Completion Summit. Organized by the Tennessee Business Roundtable, the Summit is designed to examine successes and lessons learned about strategies to accelerate degree production, improve college completion and stimulate more innovative workforce development initiatives.

Haslam will join the Summit from 11 a.m. to noon Central Time on Thursday, March 27, at the AT&T-Tennessee headquarters in downtown Nashville.

Currently in Tennessee, only 32 percent of Tennesseans have a certificate or degree beyond high school, and studies show that by the year 2025 that number needs to be at least 55 percent for us to keep up with job demand, Haslam said. We must have qualified Tennesseans to fill those positions, and I look forward to Thursdays discussion about best practices and shared strategies for college completion as we pursue our Drive to 55 initiative.

The Summit will highlight progress in the Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee systems and identify challenges and opportunities ahead as the campuses and systems work toward meeting the goals of Haslams Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans who earn college credentials.

Other speakers at the summit include: William Fox, director of the UT Center for Business & Economic Research; John Morgan, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents; Joe DiPietro, president of the University of Tennessee; Tristan Denley, TBR vice chancellor for Academic Affairs; and Katie High, UT vice president for Academic Affairs and Student Success.

The Summit builds on the work of the Tennessee College Completion Academies in 2011 and 2012. The two-day intensive meetings allowed campus leaders to learn from national content experts and helped them develop strategic plans and goals in areas such as improving time-to-degree, designing new structures to help students balance education with careers and families, aligning resources for success, engaging campus leaders, and building community support.

Our institutions have been keenly focused on identifying strategies and sharing best practices to enhance student success without sacrificing quality, said Morgan. The results are impressive already, and this Summit provides an opportunity to highlight the most effective efforts and examine how to scale them across our systems.

The University of Tennessee remains committed to enhancing educational excellence across all of our campuses and providing students with resources to help them succeed and graduate with a valuable degree, said UT President Joe DiPietro. I am proud of the work our campuses have done to increase retention and graduation rates, and I look forward to exploring and identifying more ways we can make an impact in college completion that will improve the future for all Tennesseans.

The Tennessee Business Roundtable is the statewide organization of CEOs and business leaders who are committed to sound public policy, especially in education and workforce development.

The Roundtable is pleased to host the Tennessee College Completion Summit for institutions to share and learn from each other as we strive to meet Governor Haslams goal to improve degree production in the Volunteer State, said Charlie Howorth, the Roundtables executive director.

First Scholarship Banquet for JSCC Foundation

Christy Wright of the Dave Ramsey Speaker’s Group

For the first time in its history, the Jackson State Community College Foundation is hosting a scholarship banquet to generate awareness for the organization. Dee Henderson, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at JSCC, states, ‘Most students who go to and graduate from JSCC remain in West Tennessee. They are productive members of our economy and contribute to its success. Jackson State has been a key to workforce development and continually provides employees to healthcare, business, and industry. When asked why individuals should contribute to the JSCC Foundation, Henderson replies, An investment in Jackson State is an investment in our communities.’

Christy Wright of the Dave Ramsey Group will be the guest speaker at the Jackson State Scholarship Banquet. This inaugural event, in partnership with FirstBank and other sponsors, will be held the evening of Tuesday, April 1, at the DoubleTree Hotel.

The Foundation is instrumental in providing funding assistance to students and the college. Every year, state funding decreases and community colleges must make up the difference to meet financial needs. The JSCC Foundation is becoming more and more essential to the funding of the institution.

Dr. Bruce Blanding, president of JSCC, states, The Jackson State Foundation is vital to the students success and the success of the college. We have benefactors from the area who understand the importance of Jackson States role in the community. He added, We are beginning a more public campaign with this event in hopes of educating the public about Jackson State and gaining their support.

Jim Ayers, Chairman of FirstBank and JSCC Foundation Board Trustee

Educations role is to provide people with more opportunities to succeed and improve the quality of life in our communities. This sentiment is echoed by Jim Ayers, Chairman of FirstBank and JSCC Foundation Board Trustee, stating, As a West Tennessee native, I have a special fondness for the college and the impact it has throughout the region. I believe Dr. Blanding, the faculty, and the staff have done a tremendous job. Jackson State graduates have gone on to have successful careers and made their communities and the state of Tennessee a better place to live. I am proud to support the college in its efforts to create those opportunities.

Anyone interested in a sponsorship, donations, or purchasing tickets to the JSCC Scholarship Banquet, please call JSCC at (731) 425-2625 or (731) 425-8825.

Youth Technology Summit Hosted at JSCC

Thursday, March 13 marked a special day at Jackson State Community College as more than 120 participants from 16 area high schools attended the first ever Youth Technology Summit. JSCC hosted this event in hopes of encouraging and inspiring area students in careers of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The summit kicked off at JSCCs McWherter Center at 9am and ran until 2pm. Students were registered in one of three pathways: science and math; computer technology; or engineering and manufacturing technology.

Teachers and counselors identified the students attending this event as excelling in STEM courses. The attendees had an opportunity to hear representatives from area industry discuss potential career opportunities and what they are looking for when selecting people to fill these positions.

But it was much more than just talk. Participants attended demonstrations and labs on such topics as radiography, science, industrial technology and computer technology. Much of the activity took place on the JSCC campus, but, depending on the pathway for which they were registered, students also went to area industry for facility tours and a first-hand look at what a career in their chosen field might look like.

Area businesses participating in this event included Pinnacle Foods, Toyota Bodine, Delta Faucet, Stanley Black & Decker, Jackson Energy Authority, Lifeline Blood Center and UT Ag Center.

This event is one of a number of initiatives in which Jackson State is an integral part that promotes technical education and the promotion of local workforce development. Terri Messer, Dean of Industrial Technology, explains, It is a mission of Jackson State to provide the people of our communities with resources that enable them to have productive and meaningful careers. In turn, our partnerships with local industry ensure that we are providing businesses with the quality and caliber of employees they need to maintain and grow their businesses in West Tennessee.

Dangerous Behavior at Schools to Headline Discussions

Brian Van Brunt

Disruptive and dangerous behavior is more prevalent than ever in our society. This behavior is naturally reflected in our youth and in our schools systems. Jackson State Community College will host Dr. Brian Van Brunt to speak to area educators, support staff and anyone else who has an interest in learning how to better cope with and address these types of behavior.

Dr. Van Brunt is currently Senior Vice President for Professional Program Development at The NCHERM Group, LLC. The NCHERM Group is the umbrella for eight linked organizations that serve to advance holistic, proactive prevention and risk management within K-12 schools and on college and university campuses. Van Brunt teaches and writes on topics ranging from suicide prevention, cyber bullying, and campus violence.

Dr. Van Brunt is the former President of the American College Counseling Association and author ofEnding Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention. He has been featured on CNN and in theNew York Times.

Dr. Liz Mayo of Jackson State Community College has coordinated this event and has made the event available to the public free of charge. Education professionals are the obvious candidates for this discussion, but education students and anyone else interested in the topic are welcome to attend. Considering the relevance of the subject matter, it is an event of which Mayo feels local educators will appreciate the timeliness.

The event will be Wednesday, March 19 in Ayers Auditorium at the McWherter Center on JSCCs main campus at 2046 North Parkway in Jackson. There will be four one-hour, repeating sessions on dealing with dangerous and disruptive behavior both in and outside of the classroom. Staff-focused sessions are scheduled at 9:00am and 3:30pm. Faculty-focused sessions are scheduled at 2:00pm and 5:00pm. Anyone wanting more information should contact Dr. Mayo at 424-3520 ext#50258 or email her