October 2012 Update

In This Issue

Executive Director’s Note

Mississippi First has been working hard to advance education in the last several months, whether in the Capitol, at the State Department, or in local districts. You may have noticed that Mississippi’s top politicians are now calling the upcoming 2013 legislative session a year for education, and we’re proud to say that our hard work is a part of placing education front and center with policymakers.

We hope that this rebirth of our update will keep you better informed of our progress. Remember that you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for minute-by-minute information!




MSF Releases Title I Pre-Kindergarten Preliminary Report

Mississippi First released a preliminary report in September that contains details about the use of federal Title I funds to provide classroom-based pre-Kindergarten.  This report was the product of hours of research by MSF Executive Director Rachel Canter and MSF Ole Miss Chapter President Blake Schrouf.  By examining each district’s consolidated federal programs application and budget, MSF found that 51 of the state’s 152 districts (34%) use Title I funds for pre-K.

The next phase of this project will be to conduct a survey of Title I pre-K districts, which will clarify our questions about program design, collaborations, and teacher qualifications.  The survey will be complete by the end of the year, with a new report to be released early in 2013.

Visit the MSF Pre-K page to download this report. You can also read Leaving Last in Line, our collaborative pre-K issue brief.

Creating Healthy and Responsible Teens (CHART)

CHART Update: Moving Ahead with Implementation

This past summer, we accomplished our major CHART advocacy goal of getting 75% of our Priority 1 school districts to adopt the CHART abstinence-plus policy. By the June 30th deadline for district policy adoption, 82% of Priority 1 districts had adopted CHART. The grand total of CHART districts, including a few districts from Priority 2 and 3 counties, currently stands at 34.

Deputy Director Sanford Johnson worked with the Mississippi State Department of Health to train teachers over the past four months. Sanford has also conducted 10 parent meetings, which CHART districts are hosting before they begin teaching the sex ed curricula. In the coming months, we will begin to share success stories from the CHART districts around the state.


County-By-County Map Updated

The County-by-County Map on MSF Sex Education page has been updated with recently released health data. For each county, we have included 2011 rates and rankings for teen birth, along with Chlamydia and gonorrhea infection data. We have also included the sex ed policy choice for each public school district in our 82 counties.


MSF in the Media


Those of you that follow MSF on Facebook may have noticed that our work has received lot of media attention in recent months. The success of the CHART policy was highlighted in Time Magazine, RH Reality Check, and National Public Radio.  You can also see Rachel respond to the State Board of Education’s decision about graduation rates, as well Mississippi’s need for pre-K.

These and other reports can be found on the MSF Facebook Page.



MSF Ole Miss Chapter

Six members of the MSF Ole Miss Chapter attended the Mississippi Economic Policy Center’s Annual Conference on October 25th. Chapter President Blake Schrouf was one of the attended, and wrote about her experience on the website.



Coming Soon


Although Mississippi First is a nonpartisan organization and will not endorse a candidate for any office, we would like to remind you that the policy decisions made in Washington have a profound impact on our state. We encourage you to select the candidates whose policy proposals appeal to you the most, and head to the polls.

Save the Date: 2nd Annual Teen Pregnancy Prevention Conference

The Mississippi State Department of Health and the Women’s Fund of Mississippi are hosting Proven Solutions to Preventing Teen Pregnancy: A Statewide Conference on Abstinence-Plus, Evidence-Based Sex Education. This conference will take place Thursday, December 6, at the Jackson Convention Center.  Registration is free, but space is limited. Click here to learn more.

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