Mississippi Ed Talk

Mississippi Ed Talk



Mississippi Ed Talk, an audio podcast produced by the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University, takes a deep dive into the innovative practices underway in Mississippi’s public schools and districts.

Each month, we talk to K-12 administrators, teachers, and key stakeholders to gain insight into promising practices and understand how they came about. Whether you are an educator, a parent, or an individual interested in education, this podcast will keep you informed about some of the most unique education stories in Mississippi and connect you to valuable education resources.


Season 2

  • School Improvement Success
    In November’s episode, we speak with a principal who implemented holistic improvements to elevate her school’s state accountability rating. For more information about Mississippi’s school accountability grading system, visit mdek12.org/OCGR/mact.
  • Education Policy Fellowship Program
    This month, we sit down with state and national leaders of the Education Policy Fellowship Program. Fellows of this nine-month program concentrate on three major topics: public policy, leadership, and professional networking. Fellows remain in their full-time positions and use their environment as the context for examining important leadership and policy issues in Mississippi.
  • Summer Training
    Each summer, hundreds of career and technical education instructors and administrators come together in person and online to receive additional training. These educators represent a wide swath of teachers, ranging from veterans needing continuing education units to first-time teachers entering the classroom. In this episode, we interview Research and Curriculum Unit training leaders to learn about the process for preparing these courses and trainings, and the benefits these programs bring to participants.

Season 1

  • Science Saturdays
    How do you interest students in science topics at a young age? One group in Hattiesburg is accomplishing this by pairing elementary and middle school students with high schoolers through a Science Saturdays for Young Einsteins program. In this episode, we talk with James Brownlow, Hattiesburg’s polymer science instructor, and several of his students to learn about the program, which began in the fall of 2017. We also hear from the RCU’s own Kenny Langley for an overview of polymer science. Finally, in our Research Minute, Jailaih Gowdy shares how schools are implementing character education and the research behind this growing trend.
  • Madison's Model Career Academies
    Career academies continue to grow across the Magnolia State, and one district has achieved national recognition for its academies. The first district to achieve this status in Mississippi, Madison now has model academies in engineering and health sciences. In this episode, we interview district and school leaders to learn about the process for achieving model status and the benefits this designation brings to students.
  • Performance-Based Assessment
    In the modern age of education, testing is commonplace, but those assessments come in multiple forms. This episode looks at performance-based assessment, or PBA. PBA requires students to demonstrate what they know through a project or presentation, and we talk with our guests about the national and state outlooks for the testing method. In our Research Minute, we hear from Holly Holladay about Teaching English as a Second Language trends.
  • Districts of Innovation
    School districts across Mississippi are thinking outside the box on their approach to many aspects of the classroom through the Districts of Innovation initiative. In this episode, we speak with the three newest districts to hear what they are doing and how they are progressing. Additionally, in our Research Minute segment Alexis Nordin shares findings from a recent ACTE study on the impact of national certifications to students’ skills, employment status, and earnings.
  • Gulfport Design Team
    We often hear about the need for buy-in from teachers and principals on district-level goals, but what does that look like in practice? This month, we talked with administrators and teachers in the Gulfport School District to learn about their district’s design team. Comprised of teachers, principals, and district officers, the design team meets regularly to tackle big issues for the district.
  • Mississippi's Special Schools for Math, Science, and the Arts
    How does a specialized residential high school differ from a traditional high school? This month, we talk with teachers, students, and administrators from the Mississippi School of Mathematics and Science (MSMS) and the Mississippi Schools of the Arts (MSA) to hear their take on those difference and their schools. Each group discusses what sets apart their students and some of the projects they complete. Additionally, find out more about Mississippi’s approach to physical education during the Research Minute and share how career and technical centers can prepare for CTE Month.
  • National Certifications
    Hundreds of Mississippi students take advantage of national certifications each year. This episode takes a look at what national certifications are, their relevance, and the approach to certifications in Mississippi’s high schools and career and technical education centers. We talk with curriculum and assessment professionals for national and state level outlooks, and hear for an industry representative and instructor on how one pathway tackles certification. Additionally, find out more about a technical online math class in the Research Minute, and hear about School Focus, the magazine for K-12 education in Mississippi.
  • Dispatches from New Teachers
    What is it like to enter a classroom for the first time as a teacher? This month we hear from four brand new teachers in Mississippi. Three women tell us what it’s like to be elementary teachers, and another recounts her experience growing a sports medicine program for high schoolers. We also provide research-based strategies for supporting new teachers. 
  • 100 Years of CTE
    In this episode, we look back at the foundations of CTE and how it has maintained its roots in agriculture while broadening to fields such as engineering, health sciences, marketing, and more. We also take a look at the next phase of CTE Testing in Mississippi. Finally, we mention updates to our free CTE promotional toolkit and ways to get your students featured in the Connections magazine.
  • Corinth's Modified School Calendar
    This episode takes a look at the Corinth School District and their quest to think outside the box and redesign their school calendar. Corinth just completed their first year under this modified calendar, and early results look promising. We talk to educators about why they decided to change the structure of the school year, the major challenges they confronted, and how the modified calendar was greeted by students, parents, and teachers.
  • Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidation
    In this episode, we explore a hot topic in the Mississippi education world: school consolidation. In recent years, the Mississippi legislature has required districts across the state to consolidate and pool resources in order to create a more efficient new district and, hopefully, boost outcomes for students. In order to examine this issue, we take a close look at how the consolidation process played out in a district that has already completed the process: the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District.
  • Impact Learning
    Impact Learning is a network of schools and districts dedicated to instituting personalized, student-centered learning. This network encompasses a variety of tools and programs, including career academies, Coach University, Districts of Innovation, early college high schools, High Performance Leadership Institute, and innovation and acceleration strategies.
  • Vicksburg Advisory Classes
    In this episode, we explore advisory classes - an innovative, holistic approach Vicksburg Warren School District is piloting to curb the high school dropout rate. We interview Lucy DeRossette, director of innovative programs in the Vicksburg Warren School District; Eric Green, principal of Warren Central High School; and Susan Stanton, instructor at Warren Central High School.
  • Career Academies
    More and more schools in the Magnolia State are incorporating career academies into their high schools. This unique educational model connects the classroom to real-world experience. Tune in to learn how career academies are impacting students by working in conjunction with career and technical education.
  • Computer Science for Mississippi- Part 2
    What happened after the CS4MS pilot program made it out of the theoretical stage and into Mississippi’s classrooms? We speak with elementary and high school teachers across Mississippi to find out what their computer science classes look like and how their students are responding to CS4MS.
  • Computer Science for Mississippi- Part 1
    In our inaugural episode, we explore Mississippi’s new computer science pilot program that aims to introduce students to subjects ranging from robotics to coding. We talk to the founder of Kids Code Mississippi, Randy Lynn, and RCU project manager, Shelly Hollis, about how the Computer Science for Mississippi (CS4MS) project was jumpstarted and its potential impact on both students and the state of Mississippi.

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Brock Turnipseed
Marketing and Communications Manager