Three districts earn ‘innovation’ status

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Students enrolled in Grenada, Booneville and Baldywn School Districts will soon see a wealth of new options in how they are educated.

The school districts were granted “District of Innovation” status by the Mississippi State Board of Education Thursday, according to a news release.

To earn the title, districts must apply. If approved by the state board, districts are exempt from some state regulations, which allows schools to be more innovative in tackling the challenge of achievement gaps.

The Grenada School district will launch a new “Walls to Windows Innovation Plan” which will expand pre-Kindergarten and offer blended learning opportunities for middle school students. Students will be able to attend career academies, as well as an early-college program with Holmes Community College, among other opportunities.

In North Mississippi, Baldwyn and Booneville School Districts will join forces to create “Building Bridges,” a program which will provide students with access to specialized courses in both districts.

Baldwyn will offer career and technical courses, and students can earn certification in specific trades. In Booneville, students can take Advanced Placement courses.

“The collaboration with Baldwyn School District ensures that students from both districts will be prepared for tomorrow’s opportunities,” Todd English, superintendent of the Booneville School District said in the release. “The collaboration leverages each district’s strength, respectively, with the student being the primary beneficiary of the collaboration.”

Districts of Innovation were made possible by a bill passed during the 2015 legislative session. Corinth, Gulfport and Vicksburg-Warren School Districts were named Districts of Innovation in 2016.