ABOUT THE LATEST ISSUE
The 2019-2020 academic year will forever be remembered as a school year interrupted.
Once the COVID-19 outbreak reached Mississippi, educators scrambled to figure out how to get students to their individual academic finish lines as classrooms sat empty and unused. Methods of instruction we took for granted — from picking up a wrench in an automotive repair class to taking a group outside for a hands-on lesson in the dirt for horticulture — were suspended overnight; however, our teachers and administrators proved to be resilient with transitions to online learning, and members of the Class of 2020 received their diplomas just like their predecessors — albeit without the pomp and circumstance of traditional graduation ceremonies.
This issue of Connections contains a small sample of what our talented students, teachers and administrators were doing before our everyday life was interrupted. These snippets are a small sampling of the good things that happened in our high schools, career academies, career and technical centers and communities in the recent past and are an indication of how Mississippi is making progress in preparing the next generation to lead our great state.
Our main story features three female agriculture teachers in Monroe County (p. 12) who are showing young women that they, too, have a place in one of Mississippi’s largest job sectors. Not only do those of us at the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) want to prepare students for their next steps in life, we also want to show our youth that they’re capable of entering any field regardless of their background.
This issue also features new developments in curricula and teaching. Two new health care-related pilot programs (p. 11) — one for health information technology and another for fitness and nutrition — and a revamped business curriculum (p. 24) will be implemented in the 2020-2021 academic year and are featured in this issue. Additionally, we highlight a successful partnership between the MDE and Ingalls Shipbuilding that developed a new curriculum that will teach students the skills they’ll need to join one of the Gulf Coast’s biggest industries and job providers (p. 18).
No matter how we deliver it — from traditional, face-to-face classrooms and workshops to e-lectures and demonstrations — CTE will remain a necessity for a well-rounded and educated student body, a diverse workforce and the overall progress of our society. We here at the MDE will continue to work tirelessly with local school districts to ensure all students graduate college and career ready, no matter the obstacles of the day.
Director, Office of Career and Technical Education
Mississippi Department of Education