Spring 2020  
From the Director 
Dear colleagues,
As the staff here at the Research and Curriculum Unit begins to phase back into the building, I find myself repeating an idea: Prepare for whatever the fall may bring.
Like all of us, Mississippi's educators were caught off guard by the spring outbreak of COVID-19, but they rapidly transitioned to online methods of instruction and successfully graduated yet another class of students. While we all hope life will return to some semblance of normal sooner rather than later, we must prepare ourselves to be flexible with how we provide our services to educators across the state - just as they had to adapt for their students - as our day-to-day work lives continue to be fluid.
Our staff will be here - whether that's in the office or virtually - to support teachers as part of our continuing partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education, which was renewed for three years this June by the State Board of Education.    
As always, our primary point of contact remains through the  Help Desk . You can also call our office at 662.325.2510. 
Our  online teaching resources are still available on our website . These resources provide overviews, tips and tutorials; schedules of pathway-specific webinars; and even help to parents as physical classrooms shift to virtual learning communities.
In addition, please continue to monitor our various channels of information distribution, including our website, newsletters, social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - and emails.
Information typically provided by our assessment newsletter, the MS-CPAS Minute­, will be folded into this newsletter in the future. Stay tuned for assessment-focused MS ACTE sessions for continuing instruction and information. As for curricula updates, please continue to visit our website for documents specific to your pathways.
I'm proud of the effort our staff put into assisting teachers this spring and summer, from our curriculum and online project managers' scramble to provide support for digital instruction to our professional development specialists' transition to virtual conferences that ensure teachers continue to grow in and excel at their craft no matter the situation.
Now more than ever, Mississippians see how important the entire structure of education - from the concept of it to those who provide it - is to the fabric of our society, and I'm excited that this organization serves such a pivotal role in its continued success.
Betsey Smith
Research and Curriculum Unit
 MS ACTE Conference Registration Ending Soon    


Registration for the 2020 Mississippi Association of Career and Technical Education Summer Conference, the state's best resource for CTE professional development, ends July 17.

Out of an abundance of caution for our participants and presenters, this year's conference will be held online July 22-23. Attendees will participate in sessions broken out by pathway or career cluster, MS ACTE business and affiliate meetings, an update from the Mississippi Department of Education and a keynote presentation by Brooks Harper, a noted soft-skills and college- and career-readiness speaker.  
The RCU Goes Digital: How Programs and Conferences Moved Online During COVID-19     
New Teacher Induction participants and Research and Curriculum Unit project mangers celebrate the successful graduation of the program's eighth cohort this July. Like many other RCU-led projects, the final phases of NTI moved online this summer due to the ongoing global pandemic. 

Thanks to technology, Research and Curriculum Unit staff successfully transitioned the Innovative Institute and New Teacher Induction to online formats this spring and summer after the global coronavirus outbreak.
Originally scheduled for two days in Meridian, the one-day online Innovative Institute recognized the Tupelo and Rankin County school districts as the newest Districts of Innovation and gave almost 300 attendees an opportunity to engage in an inspiring keynote address and work session with George Couros, a leader in innovative leading, teaching and learning.
Couros took attendees' comments and personalized his guidance on the importance of educator-student relationships to their own districts. While he was scheduled for the Innovative Institute prior to it being moved online, his presentations were even more significant as educators strengthen relationships with students during online learning.
Participants ended the day collectively reflecting on how this time of modified learning might redefine innovative education in their schools and districts. Many responses centered around strengthening relationships with students, moving beyond traditional education to make it more student-driven, incorporating collaborative teaching and social-emotional learning strategies and embracing technology tools and data.
"We were part of Couros' model of an innovator's mindset by empowering educators to examine their experiences of teaching online to explore and develop something better that will, in turn, empower their students," RCU Project Manager Cindy Ming said.
The pandemic presented new challenges for all educators, from veterans to those new to the teaching ranks. After gathering face-to-face in the Summer I session, more than 60 new career and technical education teachers finished the eighth NTI cohort online June 1-12.
Through Zoom sessions, participants gathered virtually for online learning with NTI instructors and online assignments geared to help them teach students. The final week of the cohort included classroom demonstrations adjusted for the online audience.
The experience proved valuable as it could be a way these rising teachers interact with their students in the future. The cohort wrapped its training with pathway-arranged virtual field trips and collaboration on how curricula could be further adapted for online learning.
While cohort members couldn't reconnect in person for the final two weeks, the newest NTI participants supported each other during a June 12 online graduation ceremony.
When the 60 graduates logged into the Zoom session, they were welcomed by commencement speaker Marcia Tate, author of the cohort's book study focus Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites. Tate discussed the 20 strategies for comprehending and retaining information from her book, providing the educators valuable insights that they can use with their students - whether online on in person.
Following her speech, cohort members donned their homemade caps and became the newest graduates of NTI.
Although their plans were altered, educators were able to come together and collaborate on ways to help students through hard work and innovative mindsets. 
Have You Read the Latest Edition of Connections?
The spring edition of Connections is available for download. It spotlights some of the great things happening in and impacting Mississippi's CTE classrooms and centers, including new construction projects providing additional teaching spaces in two counties, three women cultivating the next generation of agriculture students and a public-private partnership building a pipeline leading students from the classroom to the job market.

Be sure to visit our website for access to all of our current and past stories, features and spotlights.

To submit stories for the magazine, fill out this form or email the Help Desk. You can also nominate individual teachers and students for profiles in future editions.

For more information and tips on how to submit stories, watch our webinar on the topic. Visit this link to request physical copies of the magazine.


Our communication team wants to help CTE directors, teachers and students effectively promote their schools and share their unique stories with the entire state.
Visit our website to catch up on all of our past episodes!

If you have topics you would like covered in a webinar, please email us via Help Desk!  

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