By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
Last week, Mississippi State University and the CREATE Foundation announced that public high school students in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties will be able to take a web application development course from MSU. It is part of the partnership between school districts in the three counties created by a $50 million endowment from Toyota. Daily Journal education reporter Chris Kieffer spoke with CREATE Senior Advisor Charles Garrett about the new class.
Q: Why did the Toyota Education Enhancement committee want to offer this class?
A: The terms of the Toyota “gift” were that the money was to be spent “fairly, equitably and to enhance” education in our area. We are blessed with very good schools in Northeast Mississippi. It is our charge to bring “enhancements” to our educational systems; to provide opportunities that currently do not exist. In a partnership with Mississippi State University, we will provide a web applications class that will include instruction in programming, marketing and entrepreneurship. The students will earn three hours of university credit at MSU and one high school credit in a state-of-the-art program available to very few high school students in this country.
Q: Who will be able to take the class? How will students be chosen?
A: The class is available to juniors and seniors enrolled in the 14 public high schools in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties. Prerequisites include algebra I, good skills in logic and critical thinking and the recommendations of the school counselor and principal. Each of the 14 high schools is guaranteed one seat. The remaining seats will be filled through a lottery.
Q: What plans are next involving the Toyota Education Enhancement Fund?
A: Our challenge is to continually develop both short- and long-term enhancement opportunities for students. This summer, we are offering scholarships to students for academic camps at both Mississippi State University and Ole Miss. Information about those camps will be sent to guidance counselors later this week. Also, the information is available on the web at www.diveintocamps.com.
Other courses in development for high school students include the areas of health care and advanced manufacturing. Additionally, we are examining opportunities in aviation, aviation mechanics, computer forensics, law and architecture.
We will send 32 administrators to Washington, D.C., this summer for the Model Schools Conference.