Tupelo Middle School students walk the hall as they change classes. The school on Friday received a $2,500 STEM Pipeline educational grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

TUPELO • Tupelo Middle School received a $2,500 STEM Pipeline educational grant on Friday from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Mississippi Sen. Hob Bryan and Rep. Shane Aguirre joined PhRMA deputy vice president of state advocacy Pete Martinez at the middle school on Friday morning to announce the grant.

“The STEM curriculum at Tupelo Middle School prepares students to have rewarding careers and to be good citizens,” Bryan said in a statement. “Thanks to PhRMA for recognizing this program and for contributing to it.”

TMS principal Mark Enis said he’s grateful for PhRMA’s support and commitment to initiatives that sustain STEM teaching and learning in classrooms.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our teachers to enhance our STEM curriculum and provide future resources to foster innovation and technical skills,” Enis said.

The STEM program aligns with the Tupelo Public School District’s mission “to serve the community by providing each student an excellent education that develops skills and citizenship needed for success in a global society.”

Martinez said PhRMA hopes to ignite interest in learning STEM skills that can lead to successful careers.

“PhRMA represents the nation’s leading biopharmaceutical research companies and we want to invest in STEM-related talent and innovators of the future,” Martinez said.

The TPSD Board of Trustees will vote Nov. 5 on whether to move forward with an application to receive the District of Innovation designation from the Mississippi Department of Education, which will recognize and improve innovative programs that help prepare students for work and life.

The District of Innovation application includes requests for waivers that allow more autonomy for certain programs.

One waiver TPSD is set to request is for Project Lead The Way, a program allowing students to pursue engineering, biomedical science and computer science tracks at a middle and high school level.

The waiver would allow middle school students to pair two semester-long courses to count as a Carnegie unit towards high school graduation –}meaning they could earn high school credit during middle school.

Twitter: @AlsupTheWriter

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