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Innovative Class Leads to Visit from U.S. Secretary of Educa

Innovative Class Leads to Visit from U.S. Secretary of Education
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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos with High School Students
Desare Frazier

The nation's U.S. Secretary of Education is in Mississippi to see how one rural community is using an innovative approach to teaching classes for college credit. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.

The nation's Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is with students at Holmes County Central High School watching a recorded physics lesson. The lecture is given by a Yale University professor. The session is part of an advanced placement physics class offered through an initiative with the Global Teaching Project. The project trains teacher to teach the class. Students are tutored twice a week by a graduate student at Yale online. What is happening in this rural school district is what DeVos wants communities to do across the country.

"Start new things and do things that haven't been tested and tried before because doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is just not going to work," said DeVos.

The teaching project is in at least 10 high schools in the state. They provide lesson plans, online homework, textbooks, summer camp and other resources. Seventeen-year old Tawanna Jefferson is in the advance placement physics class.

"The class makes it special for me because I want to major in architecture and architecture has everything to do with math and physics," said Jefferson.

Dr. James Henderson is Superintendent of Holmes County Consolidated School District. He says advanced placement classes are needed to prepare students for college in a global economy.

"We want our kids too, to attend the Harvard, Yale and we want to prepare our kids to do that and these AP classes will assist in that area," said Henderson.

During a roundtable discussion, school board members, administrators and teachers shared their concerns about education with DeVos including the need for more funding and the teacher shortage.