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State Board Approves Laurel High School as School of Innovation, Renews Approval for Corinth, Gulfport School Districts and Vicksburg’s River City Early College High School
JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) today approved plans for Laurel High School in the Laurel School District to become a School of Innovation and approved the continued innovation status for Corinth School District, Gulfport School District and River City Early College High School in the Vicksburg Warren School District.
Laurel High School will partner with Jones County Junior College to operate a middle college program, which allows high school juniors and seniors to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree at the same time. This model expands learning opportunities for highly motivated students and provides up to 60 hours of college credit transferable to universities, and/or an industry certification credential.
Corinth School District will continue implementing its Cambridge International curriculum and extending the school year by scheduling its 180 instructional days across most of the year. The modified calendar provides opportunities in quarterly intersession periods for internships and remedial and accelerated learning. Corinth will also offer project-based learning in middle and high school, gifted education opportunities to all students in grades 2-8, and dual credit/dual enrollment options. To reward teachers, it will use local funds to provide performance-based pay supplements.
Gulfport School District will continue its career pathways model, in which students starting in grade 4 combine rigorous academic work with goal setting and career exploration based on academic strengths. The district will continue offering high school courses in middle school, district-wide ACT testing to sophomores, and open enrollment for Advanced Placement classes with district-financed testing. It also offers a middle college program for high school juniors and seniors in a community college setting. Its five-period academic day in high school provides opportunities for training, internships and externships in highly skilled areas, such as shipbuilding, transportation, logistics and electricity.
River City Early College High School will continue partnering with Hinds Community College to provide students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and transferable college credits through concentrated dual credit opportunities. High school teachers teach grade 9 and 10 students on the Hinds campus. Juniors and seniors are fully enrolled in Hinds working toward a career and technical education degree, an associate degree, or two years of college credit in their selected career pathway.
“The district and school of innovation designation exempts districts from certain state regulations to implement programs to improve student achievement,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.
Corinth, Gulfport and Vicksburg Warren School districts were the first in the state to be approved for District of Innovation status in 2016. Since that time, Corinth improved its letter grade from a C to B, Gulfport improved from a B to an A, and Vicksburg Warren remained a D.
In 2020, juniors in Corinth and Gulfport exceeded the state average ACT for score of 17.7, with Corinth students averaging 19.3, and Gulfport students averaging 19.8. Vicksburg Warren students averaged 16.1.
Vicksburg Warren was approved to continue its innovative status at River City Early College High School only because the district-wide plan did not reach its intended goals.
Legislation passed in 2015 allows districts to apply for District of Innovation status. Through the innovative model, districts have flexibility in areas such as seat time and teacher certification to allow for innovative scheduling and instruction within select schools or districtwide.
Along with Corinth and Gulfport, Oxford, Grenada, Baldwyn, Booneville and Hinds County school districts currently operate as Districts of Innovation.