State of Region to spotlight education

By NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The link between education and economic growth will be the subject of this year’s State of the Region meeting on May 27.
Speakers for the 14th annual meeting, sponsored by the CREATE Foundation’s Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi, include University of Mississippi Chancellor Dr. Dan Jones and Mississippi State University President Dr. Mark Keenum.
Also on the program are William Raspberry, an Okolona native and former Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post, and Dr. Laurie Smith, executive director of Mississippi Building Blocks.
“We want this meeting to focus on future educational opportunities and partnerships,” said Lewis Whitfield, senior vice president for CREATE. “We are hopeful that regional leaders will respond by utilizing innovative approaches to education and community and economic development programs throughout our region.”
Jones and Keenum will discuss ways in which their schools can improve the quality of life in Northeast Mississippi.
Both Raspberry and Smith will discuss early childhood education. Raspberry will present information and initial results from his Baby Steps initiative in Okolona, which is aimed at preparing children from at-risk families for kindergarten.
Smith will talk about Building Blocks, an initiative that supports and encourages day care centers to get children ready for school.
The state and regional economic forecasts, a staple of the meeting, will be presented by Dr. Darrin Webb, senior economist with the state Institutions of Higher Learning.

About the meeting
- The State of the Region meeting on May 27 is free and open to the public. It will be at the BancorpSouth Arena, with registration at 8:30 a.m. The program will start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. For details, call CREATE at (662) 844-8989.