Mississippi to use COVID relief funds for statewide access to digital learning and safety platforms – THE Journal

Coping with learning loss

Mississippi to use COVID relief funds for statewide access to digital learning and safety platforms

the Mississippi Department of Education at announced it would spend $49 million in pandemic relief funds on four new statewide initiatives to boost learning and safety, including providing 24-hour access to a 1:1 digital tutoring for all students in grades 3-12 at no cost to school districts or students.

The first initiative aims to provide free access to a school safety platform so districts can “create and manage emergency operations plans that meet state and federal requirements,” MDE said in a statement. Press. Every K-12 public district in the state will have the ability to use the nSide free school safety platform; nSide’s features include an emergency alert system, a communications network connected to first responders with precision geomapping and school floor plans, and surveillance cameras.

Initiatives 2-4 aim to help students overcome learning losses resulting from pandemic school disruptions.

The state has pledged to spend $10.7 million to provide 24-hour online tutoring via Paper.co for the 350,000 public school students in grades 3 through 12, MDE said. Paper offers unlimited, on-demand 1:1 tutoring as well as a written feedback service called “essay review.”

Paper said in a press release that Mississippi was its first statewide tutoring contract; the company already has contracts with dozens of districts in 30 states and has trained 2 million students to date, according to its website. Tutoring is available in four languages, Paper said, and its platform gives teachers full visibility into student activity on the platform so teachers can track their progress and close learning gaps at the time. needed during school hours.

Over the past year, several state education departments have announced new free digital tutoring programs for students across the state: Texas said last fall that he had entered into a contract with VEF tutor; Caroline from the south signed a three-year contract with Tutor.com; and Rhode Island announced last year an agreement with Schoolhouse.world for grades 6-12 tutoring services.

Mississippi’s third new initiative focuses on college and career readiness. MDE said it would spend $1.4 million to provide free statewide access to the MajorClarity platform for students in grades 7-12. MajorClarity “helps students explore careers, select courses that will help them achieve their goals, prepare for work-based learning, and coordinate college and post-secondary applications,” MDE said in its announcement. .

The state’s fourth initiative to boost learning outcomes is a $23 million commitment to provide school districts with free subscriptions to Discovery Education, Homer Learning, Newsela, imagine learning, engageand News-O-Matic, MDE said. The platforms offer a wide variety of online lessons, hands-on activities, and educational content in English, math, science, and social studies for K-12 students; teachers can use the subscriptions as part of their classroom instruction or assign homework from the platforms, or students can use the resources outside of the classroom if they choose, the department said.

Districts that opt ​​into one of the new services will have free access until September 30, 2024, MDE said.

“These student and school support services will help all district and school leaders navigate the challenges of the pandemic and help students accelerate their learning,” said Dr. Carey Wright, superintendent of education for the state. “We urge all districts to take advantage of these valuable services. Along with a system to make schools safer, we are offering district services that will give students access to high-quality content, academic and career planning tools, and 24-hour live tutors, seven days on seven. “

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is the editor of 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].

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