Vicksburg, Mississippi

Vicksburg-Warren School District is transforming their teaching and learning experience & seeing results with far-reaching benefits for individuals, families, and the community.

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In collaboration with parents, the business community, early childhood providers, and institutions of higher learning the district team developed an innovative education model focused on workforce engagement aligned to the philosophy that all education leads to employment.

Pieces of the puzzle

Students in the district begin as early as pre-K in:

  • exploring their interests
  • exercising agency over their learning
  • acquiring the knowledge and  developing the skills and attitudes required to succeed in college, career, and life

Learners graduate with a plan to thrive in one of four postsecondary strategies, known as the four E’s:

in postsecondary education

in a field of the students’ choice, making a livable wage

in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces

with a business model, including financing

Vicksburg-Warren School District’s efforts have resulted in:

  • the highest graduation rates in the history of the district: 88% in 2022, compared to 56% in 2013.
  • a B grade on the state accountability system in 2022, moving up from a D in 2018.
  • high school students earning 6,915 semester hours of college credit during the 2021– 22 school year, an estimated savings of over $6M.
  • successfully passing the first bond issue for school improvements in 50 years.
  • trust built with families and the community and an embraced culture of inclusion.

Thinking of leading change in your district? 

Here are a few reflection questions to get started:

Make learning more student-centered

Who or what is the current system centered on?

What would change in the district context if learning was truly organized around the needs of learners?

What are the barriers to and/or opportunities for making learning more learner-centered?

Understand Teacher and Student Agency

How well understood are the concepts of agency and co-agency in your district?

How do learners shape their own learning, and how are educators supported to innovate?

How does your systems support, learn from, and share local innovations?

Strengthen the link between the learning science and teaching practice

What opportunities exist for educators, learners, and families to learn about the latest developments in learning science?

To what extent does evidence from learning science inform education policy and practice?

What incentives and support could enable educators to work together to use evidence from learning science to develop their practice?