The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox.

The Mississippi Board of Education honored Hinds County School District and Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District as AP Honor Roll Districts at their Thursday board meeting in Clinton. Hinds County School District and Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District are the only two districts to achieve this distinction in the state.

The College Board, a nonprofit organization that focuses on higher education, designs AP, or Advanced Placement, courses to give high school students access to college curricula.

Students who pass the AP examination that corresponds with their course may achieve course credit at participating colleges and universities. Starkville High School boasts 65 percent of students achieving the passing score of 3 or higher on AP examinations, which is 4 percent higher than the national average and 28 percent higher than the state average. Hinds County School District saw its number of AP courses and students enrolled in AP courses and passing AP examinations grow by more than 50 percent in 2015.

Terry High School sophomore and AP English student Alea Jones, who spoke of her experiences at the Board of Education meeting Thursday, says she enjoys being in an AP class. She cites her mother as influencing her to take AP English, even though math is Jones’ favorite subject.

“She told me I should take AP classes because of what you can gain from it,” Jones said, saying that she gained “more social skills, because we do so many group activities.”

The state board of education also adopted small changes to the state’s academic standards, set to take effect in August, when the academic year begins for Mississippi public schools, the Associated Press reported Jan. 21.

The changes include requirements such as third-grade students learning cursive, and first-grade students learning to count money and read calendars.

State Superintendent Carey Wright called the process “tweaking” a review she ordered of guidelines in summer 2015.

“Our children are finally being held to high, rigorous standards, and they’re perfectly capable of achieving those standards,” Wright told the Associated Press.

Sierra Mannie is an education reporting fellow for the Jackson Free Press and the Hechinger Report. Email her at

The Hechinger Report provides in-depth, fact-based, unbiased reporting on education that is free to all readers. But that doesn't mean it's free to produce. Our work keeps educators and the public informed about pressing issues at schools and on campuses throughout the country. We tell the whole story, even when the details are inconvenient. Help us keep doing that.

Join us today.

Letters to the Editor

At The Hechinger Report, we publish thoughtful letters from readers that contribute to the ongoing discussion about the education topics we cover. Please read our guidelines for more information. We will not consider letters that do not contain a full name and valid email address. You may submit news tips or ideas here without a full name, but not letters.

By submitting your name, you grant us permission to publish it with your letter. We will never publish your email address. You must fill out all fields to submit a letter.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *