The Mississippi State Board of Education has plans for the Hinds County School District to become Mississippi’s newest District of Innovation. This now brings the total number of Districts of Innovation to seven.
Jean Massey, executive director of secondary education at the Mississippi Department of Education said the Hinds County School District innovation model will create Career Academies that will allow students to earn up to 18 college credits and/or nationally recognized industry credentials while in high school.
Students participating in the program will choose career pathway courses in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Arts and Business, or Health and Human Services.
High school students will receive ongoing career counseling and will have the opportunity to participate in worksite visits, job shadowing, internships and work-based learning experiences in their chosen career field.
Elementary and middle school students will explore career pathways through the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum. Middle school courses also will include introductory offerings in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science.
“Mississippi’s Districts of Innovation are restructuring and enhancing their academic and career preparation programs to better prepare students for success in college, career, and life,” said Jean Massey, executive director of secondary education at the Mississippi Department of Education.
Legislation passed in 2015 allows districts to apply for District of Innovation status, which enables the district to request exemptions from state regulations to improve student achievement. Through the innovative model, districts have flexibility in areas such as seat time and teacher certification to allow for innovative scheduling and instruction.
Hinds County’s District of Innovation partners include Hinds County Community College and Entergy.
Mississippi’s other Districts of Innovation include Corinth, Gulfport, Vicksburg-Warren, Grenada, Baldwyn, and Booneville.