Implementation for the Mississippi Scholars program is not difficult. It requires leadership, organization, and a passion for education. The program is designed to be community sponsored and business led. The local school district and business community must fully support the program and encourage students to participate by signing up for the Mississippi Scholars Course of Study.
There are five program components: presentations, incentives, senior recognition, publicity, and parent education. Each component encourages the student to complete the Scholars Course of Study and to graduate as a Mississippi Scholar. Mississippi Scholars presentations give students good reasons to select the Scholars path. Incentives motivate. Senior recognition provides an opportunity for recognition and fun at the end of the process. Publicity keeps the business and school communities engaged and provide recognition for the students and program. Parent education shares the Mississippi Scholars message with the parents or guardians of students.
Basic Steps of Community Implementation
- School district and representatives of business community agree to implement the program.
- Local sponsorship is sought through a local Chamber of Commerce or other business organization.
- Mississippi Scholars Steering Committee is recruited and formed. This committee provides leadership, organization and follow-through to the implementation process. This committee should consist of:
• Several business leaders who possess a strong commitment to education
• Several educators—high school principal(s), middle school principal(s), school counselor from each middle and high school, school district curriculum coordinator
- Business presenters are recruited by the steering committee.
- Business presenters are trained by Vickie Powell, Vice President of Foundation Programs, or by a trained local business leader.
- 8th grade classroom presentations are scheduled with the school district. Someone on the local steering committee needs to work with the school district on this.
- Presentations are made several weeks prior to students selecting their high school coursework plan.
- A senior recognition event is planned and carried out. The business community/school district recognizes those students who graduate having completed the Mississippi Scholars Course of Study.
- Data is collected after presentations are made and provided to the Public Education Forum. Vickie Powell provides the form for data collection.
- Incentives from the business community and school district are provided, if desired. Incentives help to motivate and reward students in their efforts.
- Process is repeated again in subsequent years. The program can be built upon in the following years. How? By providing incentives and gathering community support for the Mississippi Scholars program.
These tools are designed to provide information and help in implementation planning. Vickie Powell, Vice President of Foundation Programs, is available to answer questions and to give guidance to the implementation process in your community.