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State Board of Education calling for more study before eliminating U.S. history exam

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From the Mississippi State Board of Education:

The Mississippi State Board of Education decided today that further study is needed before a decision can be made regarding the potential elimination of the U.S. History end-of-course exam.

The SBE directed the Mississippi Department of Education to work with the Accountability Task Force to research the impact that eliminating the U.S. History assessment would have on the statewide accountability system without changing the cut scores.

The Accountability Task Force is scheduled to meet Dec. 5.

The SBE’s decision followed a public comment period that opened Sept. 19 after the Mississippi Student Testing Task Force recommended eliminating the exam on the heels of an opinion poll of secondary education teachers. The opinion poll favored eliminating the exam. The U.S. History end-of-course exam is the only state test not required by federal or state law.

During the public comment period, MDE received 108 written comments: 27 comments favored keeping the exam, 42 favored eliminating the exam and 39 comments were off-topic or unclear.

Mississippi’s A-F accountability system evaluates how well schools and districts are performing each year. Grades are based, in part, on how well students perform and progress from year to year on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program tests for English language arts and mathematics. Accountability grades for high schools and districts also include the four-year graduation rate, student performance on biology, U.S. history and ACT tests, and student participation and performance in advanced coursework such as advanced placement and dual credit/dual enrollment courses.

The U.S. history assessment is the only statewide accountability measure of the academic standards for social studies. The other required assessments, MAAP and the ACT, measure student learning in English language arts, mathematics and science only.

The U.S. history exam is currently given to high school students upon completion of the course. It is one of four end-of-course assessments that board policy requires students to take to graduate. The other tests, in biology, algebra I and English II, are required by federal law. Students don’t have to pass the subject-area tests to graduate, as the SBE offers several options for students to earn a diploma.

U.S. history will remain a required course for graduation even if a decision is reached to eliminate the U.S. history exam.

Education

Mississippi native elected as Harvard student body president

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(photo courtesy Noah Harris)

A Mississippi high school graduate has been elected as Harvard University’s student body president.

Noah Harris, a 2018 graduate of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the first African American to serve in the role at prestigious Harvard University in Massachusetts.

“I’m really grateful that the student body is entrusting me with such a historic and unprecedented moment,” Harris told WDAM. “To make the right moves and to really bring their voices to the forefront. I just never expected that I would be in a position to run for this.”

Harris is a junior and a political science major at Harvard. He served as treasurer on the finance committee in his first two years. His vice president and running mate is neuroscience major Jenny Gan. Both plan on making a difference at the university.

Harris and Gan will be sworn in Dec. 6.

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Education

Corey Wilson is Warren Central’s Teacher of the Year

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Warren Central's Principal Eric Green, left, presents teacher and coach Corey Wilson Sr. with a basket of goodies. (photo courtesy WCHS)

Warren Central High School teacher and football coach Corey Wilson Sr. has won the WCHS Teacher of the Year award for the 2020-2021 school year.

Wilson has been teaching at Warren Central for 19 years and has helped educate thousands of students over the years. He teaches introduction to architecture construction mechatronics and engineering.

Wilson is also a football coach for the school and has helped plenty of young athletes gain athletic scholarships. He is well respected by his students, colleagues and the Vicksburg community.

“A well deserved award for a guy that goes beyond the limit. Proud to be mentored and work with him. Great coach,” said fellow teacher and coach Ced Jackson in a text message.

Wilson will help lead the Vikings football team Friday as they travel to face Tupelo High School.

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COVID-19

Vicksburg Warren School Districts reports three new COVID-19 cases

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For the week of Nov. 2 through Nov. 6, the Vicksburg Warren School District reported two new COVID-19 cases and four individuals quarantined due to possible exposure to the virus in the same time period.

Cases were reported at the following schools:

Warren Central High School
Two new positive cases – teachers/staff

Warren Central Intermediate
Four quarantined – teachers/staff

For the prior week, Oct. 26 through Oct. 30, the district reported one new COVID-19 case, a student, at River City Early College High School.

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