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Mississippi Public Universities Help Mississippi Children Succeed in the Classroom

Mississipi Public Universities

Mississippi Public Universities support the state’s children and K-12 schools across the state in numerous ways. In addition to preparing the teaching workforce through the education academic degree programs, the universities support teachers, students, and schools through outreach efforts ranging from a partnership school for middle school students located on a university campus to a clinic housed at a high school to help teens stay well so they can perform at their best in the classroom and beyond.

The Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program (METP) is a collaboration between the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University to attract top-performing students into the education profession with full financial support, travel abroad opportunities and invaluable professional incentives. METP aims to increase the import—and reduce the export—of talented educators to create a pipeline of new teachers committed to Mississippi’s future. All students who enter the program make a five-year commitment to teach in Mississippi after graduation. Funded by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation of Jackson, METP is designed to create a unique “honors college-style” learning experience for high-achieving education students and promote collaboration between students and faculty at both universities.

The Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction (CELI) at the University of Mississippi’s School of Education provides exemplary instruction, relevant research, and effective service through collaboration with schools, businesses, community organizations, and the public at large. With a primary focus on birth to grade three, CELI’s literacy experts provide Mississippi communities, schools and families with learning opportunities, as well as resources, to ensure children enter school prepared to succeed and that they reach reading proficiency by the end of grade three. CELI staff lead and support multiple research-based projects focused on high-dosage tutoring, kindergarten readiness, third-grade reading proficiency and educator professional learning, as well as supporting families with young children. Additionally, the CELI supports and leads projects to build educator capacity at state, district and school levels to improve student outcomes.

For more than three decades, the Mississippi Teacher Corps, a graduate teacher preparation program at the University of Mississippi School of Education, has trained and placed hundreds of professionals in high-need public schools through an alternate route to teacher certification.

Since 2015, the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Nursing has operated the Lanier Teen Wellness Clinic at Lanier High School. At the clinic, they provide holistic care through screenings, consultations, wellness visits, sports physicals, and behavioral care. In 2021, the school-based clinic and the School of Nursing received the Governor’s Award through the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is ranked 12th in the nation and first in Mississippi for producing new National Board Certified Teachers. This distinction further distinguishes USM as one of the nation’s top institutions for training outstanding educators. 

Remaining true to its founding mission as a teachers college, USM has a long-standing tradition of training exemplary educators. Housed within the College of Education and Human Sciences, USM’s teacher education pathways include elementary education, special education and dual education licensure, alternate route, and the fully online Teacher Assistant Program.         

The fully online Teacher Assistant Program (TAP) at USM is designed specifically to offer teacher assistants a convenient pathway to earning a Bachelor of Science degree and becoming a certified teacher while continuing their job as a teacher assistant. The online program meets the unique educational needs of teacher assistants who desire to advance their knowledge and become exemplary, licensed teachers.

Alcorn State University has joined the fight to end the teacher shortage in Mississippi. The University’s School of Education and Psychology plays a significant role in equipping new teachers to thrive by scheduling tutorial sessions and workshops and offering classes to assist teacher candidates with testing challenges. The School also provides alternate route programs—Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) for certification—at the elementary and secondary levels. This initiative is designed to encourage aspiring educators who hold non-teacher degrees to receive certification at the “AA” level with only 33 credit hours. The School has developed programs and partnerships with schools within the University, state education agencies, and school districts. To meet the demands for highly qualified new elementary teachers, the School has revised its curriculum to include coursework that addresses the changing demographics of communities and allows for an easier transition of teacher education candidates from community colleges. 

The Elementary Education program at Delta State University is well-known for producing high-quality educators. Students who successfully complete the program will fulfill requirements for K-6 licensure in the state of Mississippi with additional licensure for grades 7-8 and 7-12 available with supplemental endorsements. Through Delta State’s clinical model of preparation, graduates are certified and prepared to enter the classroom immediately post-graduation.

The Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) at Delta State hosts the America Reads – Mississippi (ARM) program and the Delta Educational Opportunity Center (DEOC). The ARM program is an AmeriCorps program administered through the Academic and Student Affairs Office of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning in partnership with Delta State University. It is dedicated to improving the reading skills of students in grades K-3, encouraging public awareness and support of literacy, and helping to increase the number of certified teachers in Mississippi. ARM DSU members are serving students at I.T. Montgomery and Brooks Elementary Schools. The DEOC, a TRiO program funded by the Department of Education, is a participant-focused center of excellence that serves as an invaluable resource for underrepresented and disconnected high school students with a mission to increase postsecondary institution enrollment. Free services include ACT Prep, ACT Registration, FAFSA and MAAPP completion, and postsecondary application assistance. Services are provided to 1,000 participants in 12 Delta Counties: Bolivar, Coahoma, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tunica and Washington.

The College of Business at Jackson State University holds Get2College Sessions to help students prepare for college. The team presents ACT preparation sessions to high school students. The purpose of Get2College is to provide best-in-class college planning services to Mississippi families and educators to help students get to college and be successful there.

The CSET Scholars Academy within the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Jackson state helps with college retention and provides free tutoring for high school students, and ACT and GRE preparation. 

Mississippi State University’s Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education offers nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs in elementary education, secondary education, special education, and curriculum and instruction. Students can pursue bachelor’s, master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees. The Secondary Education undergraduate degree program leads to endorsement in secondary teaching (grades 7-12) in several content areas, including biology, chemistry, English/language arts, mathematics, physics, and social studies. Secondary students can also choose a concentration in foreign language education, which leads to K-12 licensure.

With its World Class Teaching Program that guides and mentors teachers seeking advanced certification, Mississippi State ranks 15th nationally in producing National Board Certified Teachers. This year, the Columbus School District is using Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, COVID-19 relief funding, to fully fund the teacher’s National Board Certification and candidate support through the MSU World Class Teaching Program. Through the partnership between Mississippi State University’s World Class Teaching Program and the Columbus Municipal School District, Columbus teachers receive full support in their journey to become National Board Certified Teachers.

A unique collaboration between MSU and the Starkville Oktibbeha School District, the Partnership Middle School at MSU serves as an innovative, state-of-the-art center for research in curriculum, teaching and learning to address real-world education challenges. Opened in August 2020, the school serves every sixth and seventh grade student in the school district.

Mississippi State University is home to three centers that provide partnerships, mentoring, and professional development to abate Mississippi’s teacher shortage and strengthen teachers’ pedagogical skills throughout the state. Mississippi State University’s branch of America Reads – Mississippi (AmeriCorps) Program’s male membership and number of members gaining teacher certification in the service area have grown. The MSU Mississippi Writing Thinking Project continues its support of teachers through district partnerships, and regional workshops.

The School of Education at Mississippi University for Women is dedicated to innovation from early childhood through post-graduation in a complete lifelong learning mode of education. As missioned, the School of Education is organized to enhance The W’s degree-based teacher preparation programs while also providing critical outreach to the region and state through development opportunities for working professionals, life enrichment programs for members of the community, early childhood and parent education and development and enrichment programs for Pre-K – 12 students. The School of Education is comprehensively designed to serve student populations from Pre-K through retirement.

At the undergraduate level, Mississippi Valley State University’s Department of Education offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, and Early Childhood Education. The Early Childhood Education degree is not designed for school-based early childhood education and does not currently lead to licensure. Through the coordination by the Department of Education, the department also oversees the B.S. degree in Biology Education, English Education, Mathematics Education, Vocal Keyboard and Instrumental Music Education, and Social Science Education. These programs, all located in the College of Arts and Sciences, lead to K-12 licensure.

Master of Science programs in Special Education and Elementary Education are offered by the Department of Teacher Education. The department also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching, with an emphasis in Elementary Education (4-8), Social Sciences, Science/Biology, Math, Music, English, and Physical Education. Students may receive alternate route “A” certification in any area in which alternate route licenses are offered in the State of Mississippi.

The Teacher Education Department has the preparation of teachers for the public schools in Mississippi and other states as its primary mission. This mission is achieved by offering a well-balanced general education program selected from the sciences and liberal arts, specialized education, and professional education. The aim of teacher education programs at Mississippi Valley State University is to produce holistic transformers: scholars, facilitators, and reflective thinkers, and responsible professionals. The vision for the College of Education is to become a key producer of classroom teachers and, therefore as a critical agent of economic growth, hope, and change for the Mississippi Delta region.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.


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