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Katie Pannell, pre-K teacher at the Early Childhood Education Center in Tupelo, reads "My First Thanksgiving" to her class last Wednesday morning. The Tupelo School District's pre-K program enrolls nearly half of a kindergarten class. That's important, experts say, because many of the state's students who could most benefit from pre-K do not enroll in any program.

By Chris Kieffer Daily Journal TUPELO – Two 5-year-old students stood at an interactive projector screen at the front of their classroom last spring, holding a plastic pen and writing their names by sounding out the letters. Other students spread throughout Melinda Lee’s pre-K class at Tupelo Public School District’s Early Childhood Education Center in […]

By Chris Kieffer Daily Journal One Mississippi group is trying to address the state’s early-learning challenges by helping communities better serve their youngest citizens. Excel By 5 certifies participating locations who meet a series of standards as being “early-childhood friendly.” The process to earn that distinction forces communities to analyze and improve services for children […]

By Chris Kieffer Daily Journal TUPELO – Tupelo High School students will be able to study Japanese next fall. The school has reached a partnership with the University of Mississippi to become the first in the state to offer a Japanese language course. “I’m excited,” said THS Principal Jason Harris. “I think it is a […]

By Chris Kieffer Daily Journal TUPELO – Lee County School District teachers will use grant money to purchase iPads, take students on field trips and add graphing calculators to their classrooms. ExPECT announced on Tuesday it will fund 20 grants this year totaling $28,659.81. Exceptional Progress in Education through Curriculum and Technology, or ExPECT, is […]

By Chris Kieffer Daily Journal As Mississippi tries to better prepare its youngest children for kindergarten, one of the most important places for it to start is its private child care centers. More than 50,000 of the state’s children under age 6 are enrolled in one of its 1,391 private centers. That represents about 20 […]

By Chris Kieffer Daily Journal The need to improve early childhood education in the state has caught the attention of Mississippi’s business community. That was manifest in 2008 when businesses and foundations across the state came together to launch Mississippi Building Blocks, a Mississippi-only initiative that tries to help the state’s child care centers improve […]

By Chris Kieffer Daily Journal TUPELO – One morning last spring, three 4- and 5-year-old children explored the science center at Tupelo’s Kids Landing Child Care and Learning Center. There they could look at plastic insects, wind up a toy measuring tape or use magnifying glasses. Nearby, two more children started a makeshift competition using […]

Daily Journal reports HERNANDO – DeSoto County School District Superintendent Milton Kuykendall announced on Monday he will not seek re-election for a fourth term and will retire when his term ends in December 2015. “I plan to leave politics,” said Kuykendall, 67. “I know what it takes to run an campaign, and I want to […]

By Chris Kieffer Daily Journal Having well-trained teachers is good. Over relying on television and worksheets is bad. With as much as 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurring in his or her first five years, parents face an important decision when finding an early-childhood program for their children. That challenge is magnified by […]