News

Mississippi Exemplar Units for ELA and Math Released

The Mississippi Department of Education is pleased to release the first of twenty-four exemplar units in English Language Arts and Mathematics.  These units are being made available to Mississippi teachers through a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The MDE has worked with practicing teachers throughout the state to develop exemplar lessons in ELA and Mathematics in grades Pre-K through high school. The units are designed to assist teachers in understanding how to teach the most difficult English Language Arts and Mathematics standards in the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards.  Additionally, each unit has been vetted by a nationally recognized vendor for curriculum development and instructional resource audits.  All units will be posted at the Mississippi Exemplar Unit website. District curriculum coordinators will receive an email alert when additional units are posted. The Exemplar Unit website may also be accessed from the Mississippi Department of Education’s webpage at www.mdek12.org under MDE Quick Links. District leaders are encouraged to introduce these valuable resources to their teachers using these Exemplar Math and Exemplar ELA worksheets if so desired.  Additionally, Math and ELA unit templates are available for teachers to use to design their own exemplar units. Finally, to make the units truly exemplar, teachers and school leaders are encouraged to provide MDE with feedback on each lesson in each unit upon implementation of the unit.  We will use this feedback to help make all 24 units stronger.  Links to give feedback will be added to the website soon. If you have questions regarding the site or the exemplar units, please contact Wendy Clemons (wclemons@mdek12.org) in the Office of Professional... read more

Tool Available to Help Children Find Great Books to Read this Summer

The Mississippi Department of Education, through the Office of Elementary Education and Reading, would like to encourage parents to use the “Find a Book, Mississippi” search tool to support summer reading. It is a fun and easy way to build custom reading lists based on students’ interests and the reading Lexile measure.  “Find a Book, Mississippi” is a free tool for parents and students and includes access to certificates for reaching a summer reading goal! Download the Find a Book, Mississippi flyer... read more

MDE to Host First Literacy Coaching Symposium

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Elementary Education and Reading will host its first Literacy Coaching Symposium on June 7, 2016, in association with the 2016 Making Connections Conference at the Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.  The symposium is a one-day pre-conference institute designed to provide a focused professional learning opportunity for K-12 literacy coaches, reading specialists, instructional coordinators, and administrators who work directly with teachers to support literacy instruction. “Literacy coaches provide on-site support to build teacher knowledge and skills in order to improve student outcomes. This symposium will give educators who serve in coaching roles the opportunity to explore successful strategies for transferring the theory of coaching into every day practice,” said Dr. Kymyona Burk, state literacy director. This event is designed to promote collaboration among literacy coaches and to provide professional learning opportunities and resources, which will strengthen coaching capacity. “With the implementation of the Literacy Based Promotion Act, we have seen first-hand the powerful impact that a skilled coach can have on instruction.  Drawing on this experience, we have secured some of the most  highly regarded trainers in the nation to design an intensive institute.  It is our goal to equip participants with the skills  necessary to support teachers in their respective districts as they provide students with rigorous reading instruction,” said Dr. Kim Benton, MDE chief academic officer. Nationally renowned presenters including: Patti Montgomery, author and former executive director of the Office of Literacy for the state of Colorado; Dr. Enrique Puig, director of The Morgridge International Reading Center at the University of Central Florida; and, Kevin Smith, research... read more

Read to Ride!

OBE Principal Sunnie Barkley is congratulating bicycle winners. Thirty students received bicycles for reading from Academy Sports and Outdoors in Olive Branch. There was an extra incentive to read at Olive Branch Elementary School this holiday season.  If a student read and completed a “reading log,” the student was eligible to win a new bicycle and helmet, compliments of the Academy Sports and Outdoors in Olive... read more

3rd Grade Reading Test Results Available for Final Retest

Statewide, an estimate of 92 percent of 3rd graders have achieved a passing score on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment. The passing rate incorporates the results of the first test administration in April, the first retest in May, and the final retest over the summer. The statewide passing rate for the initial test was 85 percent. Students need to score at least 926 on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment to be eligible for promotion to the 4th grade. The number of students who did not pass the test is 2,907. Local school districts are responsible for determining which of their students who did not pass qualify for one of the good cause exemptions for promotion to 4th grade. Once all districts have documented those students who were promoted with a good cause exemption, the Mississippi Department of Education will release a report on the number of exemptions by district. Mississippi’s Literacy-Based Promotion Act requires that a student scoring at the lowest achievement level on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment be retained in 3rd grade, unless the student meets one of the good cause exemptions specified in the law. The 2014-2015 year was the first year that a reading test was required for 3rd graders to be promoted to 4th grade. For the full article click the link below.... read more

Be a Champion and Read Contest

The Mississippi Association of Educators believes reading is the child’s key to success in school and life. That’s why MAE is emphasizing reading through its Be a Champion and Read contest. The goal of the contest is to get your child excited about reading. Entering your child in the contest is simple! Choose six reading-level appropriate books and encourage your child to read all of them before the final date to qualify as a “champion reader” on Friday, October 23. Students who meet the six-book challenge qualify for the contest drawing. The grand prize winner receives tickets to the Egg Bowl with two guests, a visit to the field during pre-game activities and a school prize pack! There will be two winners, one for MSU and one for Ole Miss. Other prizes will be awarded to four students from each team. Students can only choose one team and enter the contest one time. Only K-8 Mississippi public school students can participate and win. Additionally, four participating teachers or librarians will win $500 for their classroom. There is also a $250 cash prize which will be awarded to four teachers who have the best decorated bulletin board, door, or classroom promoting the contest. Be sure to mark which team your child is reading for – MSU or Ole Miss! Students completing the challenge will receive a MSU or Ole Miss bookmark and certificate highlighting that your child is a championship reader! Don’t forget that your child’s reading list is due to the teacher by Friday, October 23.... read more

Summer Camp Boosts Reading Skills

  By Chris Kieffer Daily Journal TUPELO – Tupelo elementary school students who are struggling with reading skills are getting extra help this summer from a church-based program. This is the fourth year The Orchard has hosted SummerSALT, a summer-reading program that serves nearly 115 students, ranging from those who are entering kindergarten through those entering third grade. The acronym SALT is for studying and learning together. “We are being proactive,” said Merissa Rambo, missions director at The Orchard, noting that community supporters made the program possible. “We looked around, and we live in Mississippi, which ranks at the bottom of the country in literacy. We need to do something about it, so what can we do?” Students who need extra help in reading are referred to the free program by teachers, principals and others in the Tupelo School District, as well as by four local daycares. Each classroom has a certified teacher, assistant teacher, volunteer helper and no more than 12 students, ensuring small-group instruction. “I love it because it is a concentrated time to focus on reading skills,” said Carver Elementary first-grade teacher Anita McGraw, who is one of the program’s 10 teachers. “Everything is so well organized so when we get in there with the kids, we can focus on teaching them.” The program uses contributions from local businesses to hire the teachers and assistant teachers to work with the students. The plan is to counter the summer slide, the idea that students forget during the long summer break some of the skills they learned and then begin the new school year behind where they ended... read more

Worried about kids and summer reading? Three Experts are here to help.

A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old son said to me matter-of-factly, “Mom, if you need me, I’ll just be in my closet.” I was thrilled. Because in his closet he has set up a little nest of sorts. A sleeping bag squished into a small space on the floor, two flashlights sitting on the shelf and, most exciting for me, a book or two tucked in there among his shoes. This is his hideaway reading spot, and since he’s a kid who is more interested in throwing a baseball in the front yard for hours than tucking in with a good story, it makes me think that perhaps this reading thing might catch on after all. That said, summer is here. And that little dark closet might be a tough sell for a boy who will be tempted by sprinklers and ballgames, swimming pools and bikes. Oh, I want summer to be filled with those things and more. But with school out of session, that means no silent reading in a classroom every day or book reports and library time built into the schedule. How do we encourage our kids to keep up with their reading over the summer when it’s not part of the curriculum? For some, that’s easy, and in fact they might have to be shooed out of the house and away from the books to get a little fresh air. But for others, it can be more of a challenge. Read on for a few tips and suggested reads from the people who get it: a children’s author, a middle school librarian and the book... read more

School- and District-Level 3rd Grade Reading Test Results Available for First Retest

JACKSON, Miss. – Cumulative school- and district-level passing rates for the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment are now available to the public. Passing rates can be found here. Statewide, an estimate of 91 percent of 3rd graders have achieved a passing score on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment. The passing rate incorporates the results of the first test administration in April and the first retest in May. The statewide passing rate for the April test was 85 percent. Students need to score at least 926 on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment to be eligible for promotion to the 4th grade. The number of students who have not passed the test is currently 3,415. These students will be given a second retest opportunity during the assessment window of June 29 through August 7, 2015. Local school districts will determine which of their students who did not pass qualify for one of the good cause exemptions for promotion to 4th grade. Mississippi’s Literacy-Based Promotion Act requires that a student scoring at the lowest achievement level on the 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment be retained in 3rd grade, unless the student meets the good cause exemptions specified in the law. This school year is the first year that a reading test is required for 3rd graders to be promoted to 4th grade. For information about summer reading programs, contact local school districts. For more information about the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, visit www.mde.k12.ms.us/literacy. Resources: LBPA Next Steps Parent Guide to Understanding 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment Score Report Strong Readers=Strong Leaders... read more