Connecting the Dots to Innovation
If there's one word to describe the cmrent direction of Grenada School District, it's INNOVATION. Thanks to a team of visionary administrators and passionate teachers helping execute our ever-improving cmriculum, GSD is fast becoming one of Mississippi's most innovative districts.
Let's face it - our students are competing with kids from all over the world for the best jobs in tech and science. How can we distinguish ourselves way out here in Grenada, Mississippi?
We believe the only way to trnly prepare kids for the evolving demands of the modem work force requires aggressive implementation of advanced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) classes. Few districts in the state have invested as much into this mission as Grenada.
Innovation at GSD begins at the most fundamental level, by shaping young minds to believe they can achieve anything. The next step is to give them the tools to do just that.
Our new Pre-K Learning Blocks program is a critical piece to the puzzle, giving four-year-olds an early introduction to the classroom environment as well as math, language arts, and science skills. The goal is to prepare these kids to perform above the state average when they enter kindergaiten and first grade. In grades 2-6, Project Launch was implemented this year with 300 students, who learned problem-solving skills using engineering and critical-thinking processes. The program will expand next year into all fifth-grade science curriculum.
At the middle school, we introduced Project Gateway. The crown-jewel of this initiative was Ryan Melton's modeling and design class, where students developed foot orthotics, puzzle cubes, and specially designed toys and cups they produced on a 3-D printer. Next year will see the implementation of several new innovative programs, including robot-ics, computer technology, and Medical Detectives in focused courses as well as traditional science classes.
This heightened focus on science, advancing at every grade level, stems from Project Lead the Way (PLTW), an organized national effort to develop in-demand skills and contribute to global progress. With a generous grant from Novipax, a local manufacturer of food safety packaging, our PLTW program had a stellar first year.
We hosted an open house this April to reveal two new classrooms affiliated with our PLTW initiative. Parents, prospective students, local business people, and community leaders were invited to Grenada High School to tour our new engineering and biomedical labs.
Among the most impressed visitors was Shabaka McKey, a director of school engagement for Novipax. McKey believes the partnership between GSD and Novipax, through implementation of PLTW, will transform the community. He recognized that Grenada was in front of the pack with our labs and described our Engineering Lab as "a first-class facility that provides students with industry-standard equipment and a truly inspiring classroom environment."
Novipax has done more than just cut a ch.eek for PLTW. They recently invited our high-school engineering students to their plant in Grenada, where they shut down the production line (no small cost and commitment) and allowed students to see every aspect of their manufach1ring operation. They even invited the students to share ideas for tackling specific problems with the production.
The folks at Novipax are so committed to our PLTW program that employees contributed items for a community yard sale as a fundraiser, scheduled for May 6 at the old National Guard Armory. Their parent company,Atlas Holdings, has agreed to match funds.
The folks at Novipax are so committed to our PLTW program that employees contributed items for a community yard sale as a fundraiser. scheduled for May 6 at the old National Guard Armory. Their parent company, Atlas Holdings, has agreed to match funds. Now these kids are not only receiving real-world experience and classroom instruction, they're learning how to cooperate within their own community. It's more than we imagined for the first-year of our program. And it's a testament to the power of innovation.