District of Innovation
There’s something different happening in Grenada.
We hear it from experts in education around the state, and we hear it from other districts. The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) confirmed this in the spring of 2022 when they renewed our status as a District of Innovation.
Grenada was first granted this rare distinction in 2016. It offers our district exemptions from certain state regulations in the pursuit of broadening our academic goals. It also compels us to expand learning choices, to implement rigorous standards, to reduce achievement gaps and student remediation, and to increase student engagement, thereby raising the number of students who are ready for college and/or career.
Only nine other districts in Mississippi are able to claim this distinction, and even among those high-performing school systems, Grenada is doing things differently.
For starters, our plan for innovation — outlined in our proposal, “Walls to Windows” — is comprehensive. It covers all students, Pre-K through 12th grade, and we have proven that our ideas work at every level.
In our revised proposal, we describe how GSD has implemented all of our innovation plans and present data that proves it’s been effective. Our programs not only show remarkable improvement in student performance over the past five years, those programs — including the Learning Blocks Pre-K program and our Project Lead the Way classes — have expanded to reach more students.
As for the next phases of innovation at GSD, we are broadening our Middle College program. We’ve teamed with Holmes Community College so that qualifying students will have the opportunity to pursue an associate’s degree or national certification by the time they graduate high school. This is terrific news for ambitious scholars who can’t wait to earn a college degree, students eager to enter the workforce with accreditation, and first-generation college students with limited means who may be able to achieve an advanced education at a drastically reduced cost.
Our new plan offers both an academic path — in which students can earn a full junior college degree, both on the GHS and Holmes Grenada campuses — and a Career and Technical Education (CTE) path. As the Middle College continues to grow and more pathways toward college and career open up, this will revolutionize education in our district.
MDE knows that we can make it happen, and they continue to endorse our innovative practices.
In fact, after MDE and Mississippi State University’s Research and Curriculum Unit read our innovation plan, they noted aspects that could help other districts. Earlier this year, they invited a team of innovators from GSD to discuss elements of our plan at the Innovative Leadership Summit in Tupelo. The organizers were especially impressed with the way our district handled distance learning through our extensive library of video lessons for grades PreK-12, as well as our partnerships with local industry.
The word is out about the difference in education at Grenada. As our community partners help us grow and evolve, our students and families will be surprised at what’s available right here at home.