Mississippi Connects is a program to provide every public-school student in Mississippi with the technology to learn at school and at home. The unexpected need for distance learning provided Mississippi with an opportunity to reimagine the digital learning experience and create an innovative approach to getting students what they need to learn, whether in a classroom or at home. Mississippi sees the urgent need for technology and is ready to meet that need to ensure every student can succeed. Contact your local school district for details about its plan for Mississippi Connects.
- Students will be able to easily transition from in-person to distance learning.
- Students will have access to telehealth and teletherapy services for their physical, social and emotional health.
- Students will be prepared for digitally advanced careers.
- The divide between students with and without digital access will be narrowed, increasing equity among students.
- Districts with approved digital learning plans are expected to receive their computer devices between late September and mid-November.
- Districts decide which type of devices will best meet the needs of their students. Their choices include Chromebooks, Windows laptops, MacBooks and/or iPads.
- Districts that already provide computer devices to their students may use Mississippi Connects funds to support other parts of the program.
- Mississippi Connects provides money to districts in areas of the state where students do not have broadband service.
- Districts will use those funds to purchase services to increase student access to the internet.
- Services could include data plans, hotspots or expanding broadband access in community locations accessible to students.
- Students will use their computer devices to access high-quality instructional materials.
- Instructional materials will be organized in a learning management system such as Canvas, Blackboard or Google Classroom.
- Learning management systems enable students to participate in lessons, take tests and complete and turn in assignments.
- Teachers will take part in ongoing professional development to learn the best methods for teaching online, including supporting students with disabilities.
- Districts will train parents and caregivers how to support their children with technology at home.
- Districts will ensure computer security and accessibility and will provide families with technology support.
The Mississippi Legislature allocated $200 million for Mississippi Connects through two laws, the Equity in Distance Learning Act (SB 3044) and the Mississippi Pandemic Response Broadband Availability Act (HB 1788). The goal is for every student to receive the technology needed to learn at school and at home. These tools will enable students to continue making historic academic gains.
Mississippi students’ academic achievement is growing at the fastest rate in the U.S., surpassing many of the goals of the Mississippi Succeeds Plan. Mississippi was able to exceed expectations by closely partnering with district leaders, educators, parents and students, and state legislators.
In every area of focus for improved public education - early childhood education, reading, advanced courses, and career and technical education - we are challenging students to reach higher, and they have surpassed goals. Now it’s our turn to ensure they have the resources they need to excel in a digitally advanced workforce. It will take time to roll out the initiative – but we can’t think of a more worthy cause than the futures of our students.
Resources to Support Students Learning at Home