Delta State Receives $ 1.9 Million MDE Grant to Support People Seeking Graduate Degree in Primary and Secondary Education – Picayune Item

CLEVELAND, Miss—Delta State University is one of five universities in the state to receive a portion of $ 9,886,468 in grants from the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), through its Mississippi Teacher Residency (MTR) program, to cover the tuition and expenses of up to 240 people seeking a graduate degree in primary and secondary education.

According to MDE, funds from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief are used to cover the grants. Delta State is expected to receive a total of $ 1,902,926.40 over two years.

“Delta State’s excellent teacher education and graduate programs are well positioned to administer this important initiative which will have a direct impact on elementary and secondary education statewide,” said Delta State President , William N. LaForge. “I am very happy that Delta State can make a significant contribution to improving education in Mississippi.”

The MTR will provide grants to college educator preparation programs to enroll various participants to work toward their Mississippi graduate degree and teacher certification.

MTR will include training alongside a mentor teacher, testing support, professional development, ongoing assessment and a commitment to teach in a geographically critical school or district serving low-income children, racial / ethnic minorities and children with disabilities disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

“At MDE, we are committed to developing more effective teachers, especially in critical areas of Mississippi,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “We are delighted to work with these five universities to not only eliminate student financial costs for a graduate degree, but also to equip potential educators with the necessary tools inside and outside the classroom. class. “

Those accepted into the MTR program will receive full scholarships, testing fees, books, and mentoring allowances. Applications will be available on the MDE website by April 2022.

MTR is one of the state’s strategies for dealing with the national teacher shortage. An MDE survey of all public school districts in the state from Aug.21 to Oct.11, 2021 to assess the educator shortage showed that there were 3,036 certified teacher positions vacant in Mississippi.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of testing sites for licensing exams, in March 2020, the Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) temporarily waived many licensing exam requirements for new teachers and test score requirements for students entering teacher preparation programs.

The data indicates that the exemptions for entry into the programs contributed to an overall increase of 143% in the total number of students entering the preparation for teaching programs. The exemption period from March 2020 to summer 2020 was a major factor in more than doubling the number of candidates admitted, from 1,427 in 2018-19 to 3,468 in 2019-2020.

The MDE Education and Leadership Office has been operating MTR since 2018 to increase the number of qualified teachers entering and remaining in the profession. The project is funded by a $ 4.1 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation. MTR is part of a statewide strategy to expand and diversify the teacher pool, so that all students have well-prepared, licensed teachers who can serve as role models.

In previous years, MTR was available to undergraduate and graduate students, which has enabled 85 participants to date, of which 17 have graduated and graduated from teaching. The program also helped up to seven educators who had provisional licenses to obtain a full license. In a recent survey, 87% of MTR mentor respondents indicated that their assigned residents would be ready to take on primary teaching responsibilities after graduation.

To learn more about MDE’s MTR program, visit

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