NEH grant to take Gill Elementary administrator to Mississippi Delta

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In a few short weeks when classes end for the summer, Charles A. Gill Elementary Assistant Principal Carlos Walcott will pack his bags for what might be considered an unusual study trip.

While some colleagues use the summer to seek rest and relaxation or review test data in preparation for the next school year, Walcott will devote a week to an altogether different line of study. Funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities summer study grant, Walcott will travel to Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, for a course titled, “The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, Culture and History in the Mississippi Delta.”

An avid proponent of lifelong learning, Walcott said he’s drawn to the seminar because of what the Mississippi Delta represents. The workshop literature describes the Mississippi Delta as “a place of privilege for some and disadvantage for many, a land of contrasts with many economic, racial and educational challenges.”

Walcott said he is intrigued by the Delta’s legacy.

“This area of our country has produced Richard Wright, James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, Jim Henson, Oprah Winfrey, Faith Hill, John Grisham and next generation writers Kiese Laymon and Jesmyn Ward,” Walcott said. “How is the Delta, with its many economic, racial and educational challenges able to produce such noteworthy Americans?”

“This is a connection I see the Delta sharing with us in Dallas ISD,” he added. “Our students have many impediments facing them, but with high expectations for them, I see all of them being successful in and out of the classroom.”

Walcott says he expects to learn a lot and to return to Dallas to apply his discoveries to help students.

“All of my learning experiences have helped me in the classroom as a teacher, as a school counselor, and definitely in my present position, as an assistant principal,” he said.

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