Ground breaking for the Starkville Oktibbeha School District Partnership School at Mississippi State University will be held Wednesday on the MSU campus in Starkville.

The new school will serve all sixth and seventh graders in Oktibbeha County while also providing experience for student teachers in MSU’s College of Education. The school’s tentative opening date is January 2019.

“The purpose for the new school is education, a site for student-teacher education, research and teaching practices collaborative of the schools,” said Dr. Devon Brenner, the assistant to the vice president for education initiatives at MSU.

“The state will give $10 million, the university will give $10 million and the local schools will give $10 million. Everyone has a piece in this,” said Rep. Rob Roberson, R-Oktibbeha, an advocate for the county school’s consolidation and the university’s partnership.

During last year’s session, the Mississippi Legislature approved House Bill 1729 to provide $5 million in funding last year for the proposed partnership school. Despite the state’s major budget cuts this year, the university expects another $5 million in state funds to be given during the upcoming construction phase. 

Slated for completion in January 2019, the Starkville Oktibbeha School District Partnership School at Mississippi State University will serve as a demonstration site for student teachers in MSU’s College of Education and serve every SOSD sixth and seventh grade student.

In the past, public schools for elementary through high school students have been housed on state university campuses. Roberson says the new partnership school at Mississippi State is a different model with distinct goals unlike, for example, the developmental schools once administered on colleges campuses.

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Ashley F. G. Norwood, a native of Jackson, earned a bachelor's degree in English from Jackson State University and a master’s degree from the Meek School of Journalism at the University of Mississippi. Norwood, who specializes in multimedia journalism, has been recognized nationally for her documentary film the fly in the buttermilk, which covers the history, perceptions and principles of black Greek-lettered organizations at the University of Mississippi.