Cool Schools: Mississippi Department of Education’s #NextLevelUpChallenge


CANDACE: IN THIS WEEK’S COOL SCHOOL SEGMENT, WE’RE NOT GOING TO FOCUS ON JUST ONE SCHOOL. YOU MIGHT HAVE SEEN THE #NEXTLEVELUP CHALLENGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. IT’S OKAY IF YOU HAVEN’T, I’LL EXPLAIN IN 5-4-3- 2-1. NATS: music from school videos CANDACE: FROM VERONA ELEMENTARY IN LEE COUNTY…TO MCNEAL ELEMENTARY IN MADISON COUNTY…TO HINDS COUNTY AT UTICA ELEMENTARY — SCHOOLS ARE STEPPING UP TO LEVEL UP. KYMYONA BURK, STATE LITERACY DIRECTOR: “What better way to reach the parents, instead of stuffing that card or that sheet of paper in the book bag, than to do a challenge on social media?” CANDACE: THE #NEXTLEVELUP CHALLENGE ISN’T JUST FOR FUN — ALTHOUGH TEACHERS AND STUDENTS ARE OBVIOUSLY ENJOYING IT. IT’S TO BRING AWARENESS TO A CHANGE IN THE MISSISSIPPI THIRD GRADE READING ASSESSMENT. THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS CHALLENGING SCHOOLS TO SHOW HOW THEY ARE GETTING STUDENTS READY FOR THE RAISED EXPECTATIONS. KYMYONA BURK, STATE LITERACY DIRECTOR: “Initially, students had to score a level two or above, which is really just scoring at the basic level. So we wanted to increase our expectations for our students. And now students must score a level three or above.” CANDACE: THAT’S TO PASS TO FOURTH GRADE. NATS: from school videos KYMYONA BURK, STATE LITERACY DIRECTOR: “And we do want to showcase that learning can be fun.” CANDACE: BASED ON LAST YEAR’S 3RD GRADE READING ASSESSMENT SCORES, LITERACY COACHES AND TEACHERS ACROSS THE STATE DO FACE A CHALLENGE. KYMYONA BURK, STATE LITERACY DIRECTOR: “In 2018 we actually topped out at about 93% of our students who were able to pass the assessment. That number would have been approximately 74% percent had students been required to score a level three.” CANDACE: M-D-E IS SPOTLIGHTING SCHOOLS WHO DO THE #NEXTLEVELUP CHALLENGE. SO IF YOUR SCHOOL DOES A VIDEO, BE SURE TO TAG THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND CHALLENGE ANOTHER SCHOOL IN A DIFFERENT DISTRICT. CANDACE: SO I KIND OF HIGHLIGHTED MISSISSIPPI SCHOOLS AS A WHOLE THIS WEEK. BUT REMEMBER IF YOU KNOW OF A SCHOOL DOING SOMETHING UNIQUELY COOL, NOMINATE THEM FOR OUR COOL SCHOOLS SEGMENT BY SENDING AN EMAIL TO COOLSCHOOLS

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