Mississippi First is proud of our many accomplishments since our founding. Some of our major wins include the following:
Passing the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013: Mississippi First is proud to have proposed and drafted the legislation establishing the state’s pre-K program. The National Institute for Early Education Research ranks Mississippi’s program among the top ten programs in the country for quality. Annually, children in the program are twice as likely to be ready for kindergarten as the average Mississippi child. In 2021, we were able to help secure the largest investment into state-funded pre-K thus far— $16M was appropriated for collaboratives!
Passing the Mississippi Charter Schools Act: Mississippi First was one of the leading organizations that advocated for the passage of the Mississippi Charter Schools Act. We served as an expert advisor to the legislature in drafting the law and helped the sector start after the law’s passage. Our work continues through supporting charter schools and working to expand high-quality charter schools in Mississippi.
Creating Resources for Families and School Districts for the Future of Schools: Mississippi First developed a database of 2020-2021 school re-opening plans for families that was viewed by thousands across the state. We created two guides: Learning from the Moment—helping school districts effectively communicate with families and Establishing a One-to-One Technology Initiative—helping school districts establish one-to-one technology initiatives with their new devices and worked with partners to support broadband access.
Focusing on Setting High Standards with High-Quality Curriculum: Mississippi First worked with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) to provide teachers with access to high-quality curriculum. We worked with teacher ambassadors to raise awareness about the approved curriculum options for English and math, and we helped design and publish materials for teachers that allow them to be a part of the material selection process at their schools.
Analyzing the Educator Pipeline: Mississippi First collected and analyzed data about the current educator pipeline to understand the barriers to preventing aspiring teachers from entering the profession. With this data, Mississippi First published a report examining Mississippi’s educator pipeline and providing recommendations for policymakers. During the 2021 legislative session, we worked with the legislature to increase teachers’ and teacher assistants’ salaries and supported a new teacher loan repayment program.
Creating other nonprofits: Mississippi First has directly supported other nonprofits in their critical founding years. We created and launched Teen Health Mississippi, which is now an independent nonprofit.