Cool Schools: Mississippi Department of Education’s #NextLevelUpChallenge

Cool Schools

In this week’s ‘Cool School’ segment, we’re not focusing on just one school. We’re highlighting a social media challenge in which many schools are participating.

It’s called the #NextLevelUpChallenge.

This year, the Mississippi Department of Education changed the requirements for the state-wide 3rd grade reading assessment.

Students are required to score a level three or above on the test to be promoted to 4th grade. Whereas students used to be required to score a level two.

The #NextLevelUpChallenge, is the department’s way of bringing awareness to the change.

“What better way to reach the parents, instead of stuffing that card or that sheet of paper in the book bag, than to do a social media challenge,” State Literacy Director Kymyona Burk said.

From Verona Elementary in Lee County to McNeal Elementary in Madison County, schools across the state have been stepping up to show off how they are leveling up.

The fun videos are usually set to R&B singer Ciara’s song ‘Level Up.’

Based on last year’s 3rd grade reading assessment scores, literacy coaches and teachers across the state face a challenge. That’s why the department wants to make sure parents are aware of the changes.

“In 2018 we actually topped out at 93% of our students who were able to pass the assessment. That number would have been approximately 74% had the students been required to score a level three,” Burk said.

To participate in the challenge, have your school make a video and challenge another school in a separate district. Be sure to tag the Mississippi Department of Education and #NextLevelUpChallenge.


Is your child’s school doing something cool? Nominate them for our ‘Cool Schools’ segment by sending an email to They could appear on our weekly segment!

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