US Department of Education renews REACH MS grant for $5.6M

Pine Belt

The US Department of Education building building is seen in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2019. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – According to leaders with the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), the Mississippi Department of Education’s (MDE) proposal has been accepted by the United States Department of Education’s Office of Special Education to renew funding for the Realizing Excellence for ALL Children in Mississippi (REACH MS) project.

With more than $5.6 million in support over the next five years, REACH MS will continue serving as Mississippi’s State Personnel Development Grant. To date, REACH MS has trained staff from 673 schools in Mississippi.

“Implementing PBIS has had a huge impact on the overall culture of our school,” said Libby Young, principal of North Pontotoc Upper Elementary. “By having clearly defined expectations, modeling for students what appropriate behaviors are, and being consistent throughout the school with processes, procedures, and consequences, our students are more successful academically and socially. They spend more time in the classroom where instruction is occurring, and they have teachers who are focused on positive, not negative behaviors.”

The goal is to continue improving student performance and educator effectiveness.

“REACH MS is a great example of how The University of Southern Mississippi and its School of Education maintain strong partnerships with the Mississippi Department of Education, as well as P-12 educational partners across the state. The services provided by REACH MS are incredibly important for numerous Mississippi school districts, particularly those who otherwise would not have access to specialized training and support in UDL, PBIS and SEL,” said Dr. Noal Cochran, interim director of the USM School of Education and associate dean for educator preparation in the College of Education and Human Sciences. “The USM School of Education is filled with innovators and leaders in education, and the United States Department of Education’s long-term commitment to this project speaks to the world-class excellence they see in our faculty and staff who have written and implemented this grant over many years.”

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