ABERDEEN – Last week, U.S. Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker and U.S. Congressmen Bennie Thompson and Michael Guest announced a $3.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the Mississippi Public School Consortium for Educational Access.

The Aberdeen School District is one of 12 rural, high-poverty districts to share in the grant. It will go towards Aberdeen High School’s A.P. Physics I class.

“The consortium works with the Global Teaching Project out of Washington D.C. It provides resources and access to the A.P. Physics class we’re offering,” said ASD Superintendent Jeff Clay.

Through the class, teachers and students interact online, and students from institutions such as Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Virginia Tech offer tutoring.

All of Aberdeen’s nine participants are seniors, and the course has math and science pre-requisites.

“Our biggest concern is providing access to rigorous courses. I think this is a great opportunity for the kids to take a very rigorous course. It would be difficult to recruit a physics teacher with an advanced placement endorsement,” Clay said.

According to a press release about the federal funding, the consortium is in its third year and has served high-achieving students in Aberdeen, Booneville, Coahoma AHS, Holmes County, Houston, Humphreys County, Lauderdale County, North Bolivar, Philadelphia, Pontotoc County, Scott County and Quitman County.

The University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Jackson State University, and Millsaps College are among the universities involved in the project.

“The students had a 10-day summer camp at Mississippi State this summer. Traditionally, they’ll have another camp in January in Jackson,” Clay said.

The grant was made possible by the Education Innovation and Research Program through the U.S. Department of Education. Members of the Mississippi congressional delegation actively supported the application with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who visited the consortium’s A.P. Physics I class at Holmes County Central High School last October, according to the press release.

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