State deploys digital learning coaches to schools

Published 4:52 pm Wednesday, August 18, 2021

JACKSON — The Mississippi Department of Education will deploy digital learning coaches to Natchez-Adams School District along with more than 60 schools across the state.

The coaches are part of the Mississippi Connects initiative, created to help build the capacity of teachers and administrators to use educational technology to improve student outcomes.

With this program, the district was able to distribute Chrome Books to more than 3,000 students for them to learn from home due to the threat of COVID-19.

Now that students are required to be physically present in the classroom, or present medical documentation if they are at risk for severe illness, schools continue to use this technology to enhance the learning experience in their classrooms.

These coaches will work with school leadership to select a cohort of four to six teachers to receive individualized coaching support throughout the 2021-2022 school year.

The teachers will receive weekly coaching conferences, classroom observations, collaborative lesson planning, modeling and co-teaching. Coaches will also provide school-wide support, including digital learning planning and professional development.

The schools selected for digital learning coaches are in the 29 school districts that submitted applications to MDE for digital learning coaching support. Schools were selected based on the highest level of need and the expertise and the proximity of coaches, according to a release from MDE.

“Educational technology provides teachers with new opportunities to help students learn and collaborate in innovative ways,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “The digital learning coaching program is designed to help teachers effectively use technology to advance student learning.”

With the Mississippi Connects initiative, Mississippi is the only state in the nation with a digital learning program that includes computer devices for all students and teachers, software to deliver instruction, enhanced internet connectivity, professional development for digital teaching and learning, and increased access to telehealth or teletherapy, MDE states.

Other school districts selected for the 2021-2022 Digital Learning Coach Program include: Columbus Municipal School District, Covington County School District, East Jasper School District, East Tallahatchie School District, Franklin County School District, Greenville Public School District, Hazlehurst City School District, Hollandale School District, Itawamba County, Jackson Public School District, Scott County School District, Laurel School District, Lawrence County School District, Leland School District, Marshall County, Nettleton School District, North Bolivar Consolidated School District, North Tippah Schools, Noxubee County School District, Okolona Municipal School District, Pearl River County School District, Perry County, Pontotoc City School District, Pontotoc County School District, Wayne County School District, West Bolivar Consolidated School District, West Tallahatchie School District and Winona-Montgomery Consolidated School District.