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MDE launches middle school pilot program

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The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is launching a professional learning pilot program to help middle school teachers and leaders support their students’ social, emotional and academic development to improve student outcomes.

The pilot program, called Middle School: A LAB for Success, will build the capacity of teachers and leaders to develop the whole child. This includes strengthening the middle school academic experience, creating strong social and emotional development supports for students, and mentoring students as they explore authentic career pathways.

“Middle school is an important time for students to prepare for high school and advanced learning opportunities,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “This pilot is designed to ensure middle school students are well prepared and have equitable access to advanced courses once they reach high school.”

The middle school pilot program will include a year-long set of professional learning activities for 20 middle schools. The program will start in the 2019-20 school year and includes a series of convenings for teachers and leaders to collaborate on solutions to problems that hinder middle school student success.

The pilot is the result of a two-year planning process that included an MDE-led task force and collaboration with state and national partners including the Barksdale Reading Institute, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and the College Board.

The 20 middle schools in the pilot will be selected through a competitive request for proposals (RFP). Proposals are due May 30, 2019. Schools will be notified of their selection in June.

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