IHL grant to MSU-Meridian helping more local teachers

MERIDIAN, Miss.—Two dozen middle and high school teachers are learning new ways to encourage students in grades 6-12 to develop better critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The training by faculty members in the Division of Education at Mississippi State University-Meridian is made possible by a $90,000 Title II grant awarded by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.  Only 12 such IHL grants were awarded this year.

This is MSU-Meridian’s second Improving Teacher Quality grant. Awarded in 2013, the first targeted middle school teachers in grades 6-8.

The 2015 grant supports a 20-day summer institute that included a first half taking place during June and the second scheduled July 6-17. Participants include educators from Meridian Public Schools, Lauderdale County Schools and the East Jasper School district.

Kimberly Hall said the grant’s purpose is to help educators further develop various methodologies for integrating literacy across multiple subject areas.

An associate professor of counselor education and the grant’s principal investigator, Hall said the training “emphasizes the integration of English language arts literacy with mathematics, fine arts and technology.”

She and other grant-team members are working to help their professional colleagues become more effective, both in guiding students to a deeper understanding of specific courses and helping them become more excited and invested in their own learning.

“This training is extremely valuable,” said Alvin Taylor, MPSD superintendent. “We would like to thank MSU-Meridian for their generosity in providing such in-depth and unique training to secondary teachers in Meridian.”

After completing the training, Summer Institute participants also will take part in two follow-up sessions during the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016.

The Meridian-based East Mississippi Center for Educational Development, a grant partner with the university and school district, will post institute-derived lesson plans to its website and make them available to other educators in the district, region and state.

“We are delighted to be a part of this collaborative effort among MSU-Meridian, EMCED, and our two local school districts as well as those in East Jasper,” said Meghan Millea, interim MSU-Meridian administrative dean. “Strengthening education in our region is an important goal that we all share.”

Working with Hall on the grant project are Lindon Ratliff, assistant professor of secondary education; Sallie Harper, associate professor of elementary education; and Penny Wallin, assistant professor of education leadership.

For more about MSU-Meridian, visit www.meridian.msstate.edu.

Mississippi State University, the state’s flagship research institution, is online at www.msstate.edu.

Cutline:  The educators participated in a wrap-up session of the Summer Institute sharing best practices and insights they learned over the 20-day institute.

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