OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi school kids will see new changes this year in the classroom. The MS Dept. of Education is changing the requirements for the 3rd grade literacy test and requiring 7th graders to complete a five-year career exploration plan.
In Ocean Springs, school leaders said the changes are helpful building blocks for young learners. Ocean Springs Middle Schoolers are learning water cycle vocabulary. This year, students statewide will start seeing some new changes all aimed at helping them succeed in grade school and college.
According to State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright, this year third graders will need to score higher on their literacy test meaning they'll need to score above the lowest two achievement levels.
"We're pushing and pushing trying to get our students to perform at a higher level for us. So that we're ready for the fourth grade and ongoing subsequent grades for them," said Director of Student Services Grant Dickinson.
"Starting this year they have to score in the top three levels, which is considered passing, proficient and advance and that really raises that bar allot," said Lori Brennan who is the Assistant District Test Coordinator and the Literacy Curriculum Coordinator.
Another change this year is the five-year career exploration plan called the Individual Success Plan. Before the end of the school year, 7th graders must complete the plan with the help of teachers and school counselors.
According to Ocean Springs Director of Student Services Grant Dickinson, the school was already doing something similar with 8th graders. "We're really working with our students and our families to figure out what their career interests are and make sure that we can take their career interests and align it with what courses we have available," said Dickinson.
Dickinson believes the Individual Success Plan will make students want to do better in class. "We expect students will be more engaged, attend school on a more regular basis. Anybody that has buy-in actually performs at a better rate for us," said Dickinson.
The Ocean Springs School District is introducing it's own change this year in ready curriculum for kindergartners, which works on reading comprehension. Dr. Wright said some of the changes will be rolled out as the school year progresses.
There are many more changes that were discussed in Dr. Wright's editorial. Click here to see the rest of her editorial.