Category Archives: Starkville/Oktibbeha CCSD

Kids Become Makers in Starkville Schools

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Sudduth Elementary first graders Gianna Russell and Sirita Chanachai build with plastic cups in their Makerspace Friday afternoon – Mary Politz, The Dispatch

Sudduth Elementary librarian Leslie Hunt helped to bring a Makerspace to the school – an area filled with myriad materials that can help to inspire young minds to build, solve problems, and even get some learning in without them even realizing it. “I just started thinking, it would be awesome to have it all in one room for everyone to utilize,” Hunt said. “(The kids) love it with just being creative and it helps them with behavior issues. It is amazing (because) some of the kids … have had difficulty doing certain things, but in here it’s kind of like everyone is on the same level.”  she also noted that students tend to get more creative and imaginative when using simpler materials such as plastic cups and unsharpened pencils.

First grade teacher Mya Floyd said that she makes an effort to book a weekly session in the Makerspace weekly whenever possible. “It helps them analyze and work on communication,” Floyd said. “The communication skills they learn here, they take that back to the classroom in academics. They’ve started working better together in both reading and math and are even helping each other. I love bringing them here … We talk about things that aren’t academic in here. I ask them about their family and weekend, and I get to tell them about myself, too.”

Hunt isn’t the only educator who is helping to bring the concept to local schools. Brandi Burton, Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District grants and innovative strategy specialist, has been working on expanding the program throughout the district: “Maker movement is pretty much across the nation, and we wanted to bring that to Starkville,” Burton said. “The libraries are supposed to be the hub of each of the schools, so that’s where we started.”

Librarians from each of the SOCSD schools met recently to discuss the project. The current hope is to bring a Makerspace, in at least some form, to every school in the district by the end of the school year. For campuses that are short on space, this may simply be a cart packed to bursting with materials, but it’s a start. Burton went on to say, “I think it’s so important for us to join this movement, so that the kids that are hands-on learners and out-of-the-box thinkers, that they have just as much of an advantage as the students that are just academic … We just need to make sure we have opportunities for every type of learner, and with the things that will be available in these spaces, every type of learner will be catered to in some way.”

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SOCSD Breaks Ground on Partnership School

SOCSD Breaks Ground on Partnership School

Mississippi State, Starkville Oktibbeha School District and statewide officials broke ground Wednesday on the new SOCSD Partnership School at MSU. Photo by: Russ Houston

The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District broke ground on its new Partnership School Wednesday morning near Hwy 182 & George Perry Blvd. Once construction is complete, the $27.5 million facility will serve all SOCSD sixth and seventh grade students, and also act as a laboratory for the Mississippi State University College of Education. SOCSD has contributed $12.5 million toward the project; the state of Mississippi has given another $10 million, in addition to MSU’s $5 million plus the land the school will be built on.

“This was a challenge,” said School Board President Keith Coble. “It took a lot of leadership on all sides to make this happen, the university, the school district, the state legislature, a lot of cooperation. In the end people made this happen. If we had not had these people I don’t think it would have happened.”

Courtesy Photo

“This wouldn’t have happened without collaboration and true partnering,” MSU President Mark Keenum said. “There’s no way the Starkville-Oktibbeha School District could do this on their own. We had to work together in tandem . . . I think you’re going to see a great deal of interest, and who knows, we may see other schools like this in other areas of our state or across the country.”
Dirt work at the site is set to begin at once, as the school board’ has approval of a $2,493,903 bid from the Tremont-based Cademy Construction, LLC, at its last meeting. Completion is projected for January 2019.

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New Partnership School in Starkville Closer to Becoming Reality

New Partnership School in Starkville Closer to Becoming Reality


Plans for the partnership school between Mississippi State University and the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District (SOCSD) are moving further forward; a memorandum of understanding to receive state bond funds for the project was passed during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Once it’s up and running, the new middle school is expected to have about a thousand 6th and 7th graders enrolled. The intended location is near the intersection between George Perry Street and Highway 182, on the north end of MSU’s campus. The new school was first proposed as a way to help alleviate overcrowding at SOCSD schools.

“We’re really excited the final approval came through for the design just recently and we anticipate putting out the bid for the site preparation, the dirt work sometime in the month of April and we’ll break ground in the early summer,” said Dr. Devon Brenner, head of the curriculum, instruction and special education department at MSU. “Our vision is that in partnering with the university and the school district, we’ll be able to provide really powerful education for the students,” she said. “They’ll also have the opportunity to take their classes right here on a college campus, so they’ll get to know what college life is like and begin to imagine themselves attending college.”

The new partnership school has been in the works for three years now.

“One of the things we know is that middle school is a particularly challenging age range,” Brenner went on to say. “Sixth and seventh graders kind of set the tone for the rest of their high school careers and through graduation in those grades, and it’s an important great to provide really quality education in.”

The school is expected to be open in January of 2019.

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Starkville School Shuffle Could Impact Real Estate

Starkville School Shuffle Could Impact Real Estate


stk-ok schoolFor the second time in just two short years, parents of students in the recently-consolidated Starkville Oktibbeha County Consolidated School District may find their children in a new school. I’m not here to opine about the causes of the issues that the schools and government leadership in Oktibbeha have on their hands, but the effect it could have on home prices.

Starkville is keeping pace with major market trends nationwide, with many homes selling at peak prices, and in a very short time. The recent school moves in 2014-15 saw many homeowners selling their properties to move up or over in order to insure that their child was in what they consider a top school district. As price trends continue to rise in the area,  fueled by the continued growth of the university, many parents with children in public schools find themselves unable to afford homes in the realigned districts – or even unable to find a home for sale. Now, the changes to the school districts appear to be forcing a few families to switch around again.

Oktibbeha County and Starkville are in a difficult spot, especially with the Justice Department’s involvement. Let’s hope they can keep the changes to a minimum.



(Courtesy of WCBI) –

Some students and schools would be realigned in order to comply with federal guidelines on racial balance within the new district … The proposal would move all K – 5 students at East Elementary School into existing elementary schools of the district. The plan moves rising fifth graders to Overstreet and rising second graders to Ward Stewart. The plan, which would go into effect in August, does not include changes at West Elementary School.

The board will have a special called meeting on February 23rd. There are also several sessions for employees, parents and stakeholders. The first is Thursday night at East Elementary at 5:30pm.

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