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Education

MDE providing $23.1M of digital subscriptions to school districts at no cost

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The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is providing $23.1 million of digital subscriptions to school districts at no cost to enhance the digital learning experience.

In December 2021, the State Board of Education (SBE) approved MDE’s supplemental digital subscription plan. This plan provides access to digital subscriptions in English language arts, mathematics, social studies and science for students, teachers, schools, and districts. The plan supports the Mississippi College- and Career-Readiness Standards and complements a school’s high-quality instructional materials in the aforementioned content areas.

Through its Mississippi Connects program launched in 2020, MDE ensured every student and teacher in the state had access to a laptop computer. The new digital subscriptions will further support MDE’s efforts to ensure a high-quality digital learning experience.

North Bolivar Consolidated School District is already utilizing the subscriptions. Interim Assistant Superintendent Xandra Brooks-Keys said the district is elated to have the content.

“A large majority of students began school with more than average deficiencies and in need of additional interventions and engaging learning opportunities,” Brooks-Keys said. “The digital subscriptions provide individualized learning paths to increase math fluency and overall mathematical competency, exposure to literary content to increase overall reading comprehension, and discovery of hands-on activities and science exposure to help students better understand and apply scientific concepts to reality. Most importantly, the students are engaged, having fun while closing learning gaps and increasing mastery of standards and overall student achievement.”

The SBE approved using MDE’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II/American Rescue Plan federal funds to purchase the digital subscriptions from six vendors.

The list of vendors, subject content area, cost, number of districts that opted in for the digital subscriptions and timeline of districts acquiring subscriptions are below. To see a complete list of all the school districts, go to this link Districts with Digital Subscriptions.

Homer (K-2 English Language Arts) – Designed to improve reading fluency, increase academic vocabulary and develop independent reading skills​ Cohort 1 (started in January 2022): 37 districts Cohort 2 (starts in July 2022): 48 districts Total districts: 85 Total cost: $1,192,939.32

Newsela (3-12 English Language Arts) – Designed to provide content specifically for ELA​, expand content curation to support academic standards and includes instructional supports​ Cohort 1 (started in January 2022): 38 districts Cohort 2 (starts in July 2022): 55 districts Total districts: 93 Total cost: $3,957,975.05

Imagine Learning (K-8 Math) – Designed to build problem-solving skills, provide personalized learning and includes scaffolded instruction for all students​ Cohort 1 (started in January 2022): 35 districts Cohort 2 (starts in July 2022): 52 districts Total districts: 87 Total cost: $7,929,765.50

News-O-Matic (K-8 Social Studies) – Publishes daily news articles with multimedia features and provides a teacher dashboard to help track and monitor students’ progress​ Cohort 1 (started in January 2022): 41 districts Cohort 2 (starts in July 2022): 48 districts Total districts: 89 Total cost: $370,854.96

Discovery Education (K-6 Science) – Provides multimodal resources, aligns with academic standards and includes virtual STEM activities​ Cohort 1 (started in January 2022): 38 districts Cohort 2 (starts in July 2022): 65 districts Total districts: 103 Total cost: $4,665,241.11

Gale (7-12 Science) – Includes interactive labs for biology, chemistry, and human anatomy; provides Lexile-level articles and includes multimedia content​ Cohort 1 (started in January 2022): 38 districts Cohort 2 (starts in July 2022): 51 districts Total districts: 89 Total cost: $4,990,965.93

Total: $23,107,741.87

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