Thirteen Mississippi school districts will receive thousands of dollars to boost science and math activities and participation in the classroom, the Mississippi Department of Education announced Wednesday.

The districts will split $886,000 from a K-8 STEM Initiative Enhancement Project Grant. The grant dollars will help the districts create science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities, upgrade technology and train educators, according to a news release from the Department of Education. The funding will go into effect for the 2018-19 school year.

“These dollars will help schools get students interested in the STEM field at an earlier age,” Jean Massey, executive director of secondary education, said in the release. “This will allow us to expand opportunities for students at the high school level to be ready to enter STEM related fields either in college or in the workplace.”

The board gave priority to districts that already offer STEM activities such as engineering, robotics, and computer science.

The participating schools and districts:

• Booneville School District — Booneville Middle School

• Cleveland School District – BL Bell Academy, DM Smith Elementary School, Hayes Cooper Center and Pearman Elementary School

• Columbia School District – Columbia Elementary School, Columbia Primary School and Jefferson Middle School

• Corinth School District – Corinth Elementary School

• DeSoto County School District – Horn Lake Middle School

• Lauderdale County Schools – Clarkdale Elementary School, Northeast Lauderdale Elementary, Southeast Lauderdale Elementary and West Lauderdale Elementary

• Long Beach School District – Reeves Elementary School

• Natchez-Adams School District – McLaurin Elementary School, Susie B. West Elementary School, Joseph Frazier Elementary School and Robert Lewis Magnet School

• Neshoba County School District – Neshoba Central Elementary School

• Rankin County School District – Florence Middle School, Highland Bluff Elementary School, Northshore Elementary School and Northwest Rankin Middle School

• Stone County School District – Perkinston Elementary School, Stone Elementary School and Stone Middle School

• Water Valley School District – Davidson Elementary School

• Wayne County School District – Beat Four School and Waynesboro Riverview School


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Kayleigh Skinner joined the Mississippi Today team in January 2017 as an education and legislative reporter and advanced to a senior staff member in her four years with the company. Before joining Mississippi Today, Kayleigh worked at The Hechinger Report, Chalkbeat Tennessee, and The Commercial Appeal. She has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, and BBC Newsday Radio to discuss her reporting.