By Emma Crawford Kent
TUPELO – The Baldwyn and Booneville school districts are teaming up as a “District of Innovation” with a plan to share resources designed to maximize learning opportunities for students.
The districts’ application was approved at Thursday’s state board of education meeting.
Legislation passed in 2015 allows districts to apply for District of Innovation status, which enables them to request exemptions from state regulations to achieve performance targets.
Baldwyn and Booneville will collaborate on the “Building Bridges” program, which will enable students to access specialized courses in both districts.
The two districts are in proximity to each other.
Baldwyn will provide students the opportunity to take career and technical courses and earn industry certification in industrial maintenance or furniture manufacturing.
Booneville will offer students the opportunity to take online Advanced Placement courses taught by Booneville High School teachers who have AP certifications.
Todd English, superintendent of Booneville Schools, said the partnership will ensure that students from both districts will be prepared for their futures.
“The collaboration leverages each district’s strength, respectively, with the student being the primary beneficiary of the collaboration,” English said.
Jason McKay, superintendent of Baldwyn Schools, said those shared classes will be available to students starting in the fall of the 2017-2018 school year.
Working with Booneville, McKay said, allows the districts to be creative and broaden educational opportunities for students.
“We feel like this is a good thing that we’re able to work together to give our students the best chance to succeed,” McKay said.
Mississippi’s other Districts of Innovation include Corinth, Gulfport and Vicksburg-Warren, which earned the designation in 2016.
The Grenada School District’s application was also approved Thursday.