PRESS RELEASE, Courtesy of WCBI
COLUMBUS, Mississippi —
MSMS, The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, was recently awarded a generous grant by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to the tune of nearly $500 thousand. The money will be used to create a distance learning network within the state. MSMS has already partnered with seven other middle & high schools in this endeavor, and plans to add more over the next few years.
“Our mission goes beyond offering the brilliant young minds who attend MSMS incredible educational opportunities. Our mission is to enhance the future of the state of Mississippi, in part, through aggressive outreach programs. This grant will allow us to extend our impact on other high-achieving students in Mississippi by offering advanced STEM courses. The MSMS family is excited about the impact this initiative will have on STEM education in Mississippi.”
- MSMS Executive Director Dr. Germain McConnell.
The grant will be made available in the form of mobile, modular equipment that can be moved among disparate locations easily, rather than as a cash grant.
Kelly Brown, the MSMS Director for Academic Affairs, stated that “Many school districts in Mississippi have a hard time recruiting and holding onto teachers who have the expertise to teach many advanced topics. We believe we can fill that gap.” She is in charge of the curriculum for this project, which will allow students at the outlying schools to connect to classrooms on the MSMS campus remotely. “Teaching bright kids from all over Mississippi is what we do,” she went on to say. “We don’t have to start from scratch. We already have the faculty and expertise here on our campus.”
The program is planned to formally launch this Fall, with the partner schools each having access to a math class and to a science/computer science class. The intention is to add another two classes for each school every year. The hope is that they will be able to reach several thousand students per year by the time things really get rolling in a few years.
The current grant is scheduled to last for three years, beyond which time MSMS will need to solocit other means of funding in order to continue to maintain and grow the project’s scope. The ultimate goal is to further MSMS’ already-impressive outreach efforts. Their already-existing outreach efforts help roughly 3,100 students.
“We exist not only for the students who choose to attend this school,” said Dr. McConnell. “But for the entire state of Mississippi. Similar to other school for mathematics and Science such as those in North Carolina and South Carolina, we are uniquely situated to help other schools in the state provide challenging academic opportunities for high achieving students. In order to maximize the number of students we serve, we are working with the Mississippi Department of Education to secure funds to hire additional faculty.”
The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is Mississippi’s only public, residential high school specifically designed to meet the needs of the state’s most academically gifted and talented students. Located in Columbus, Mississippi on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women, MSMS has been a national leader in STEM education since its 1987 founding. The school serves Mississippi high school juniors and seniors, and is a member of the National Consortium of Specialized STEM Schools. Regularly recognized as one of nation’s best high schools, the graduating class of 2015 alone was offered more than $21 million in academic scholarship dollars from universities all over America. MSMS has recently been singled out for its work by national publications like the Atlantic and National Public Radio.
For more information about MSMS, please visit www.themsms.org.