Academy of Innovation students to begin school year in new building

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VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Vicksburg Warren School District announced the new Academy of Innovation (AOI) middle school building will open for 7th and 8th grade students for the 2021-22 school year.

The building was made possible by the facilities improvement bond, which passed in March 2018. The first day of school for students will be Friday, August 6. Teachers and staff will return on Monday, August 2.

“This is such an exciting time for AOI teachers, students and staff. Being able to teach and learn in a building they helped to imagine and design is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We are so grateful to the community for supporting students with this modern learning space.” said Academy of Innovation principal, Dr. Jason McKellar. 

“Students that are interested fill out an application and they come,” explained superintendent Chad Shealy. “It serves both Vicksburg Jr. High and Warren Central Jr. High.”

One goal that staff have set is to make sure that many historically underrepresented students in the field of stem apply to the program — particularly students of color and girls.

“That was one of the biggest pushes that our superintendent decided to do,” said James Stirgus Jr., school board president. “There’s far more people of color at our stem school.”

The Academy of Innovation is a STEM based program of study that provides project-based learning opportunities for students. It began in 2014 with 80 students and has grown to serve nearly 400 students.

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