Interactive learning may help students more, reduce dropouts - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson, MS 04/03/09

Interactive learning may help students more, reduce dropouts

By Jon Kalahar - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - State educators say the best way to keep students interested in learning is to get more creative in the classroom.

  In fact, today , the classroom wasn't needed at all.

It's not everyday fifth graders get this close to an air ambulance helicopter or see exactly how rescue personnel save lives. It may be a job they'd like to perform one day. What about studying to be a surgeon, nurse or even a geologist? All these jobs have one thing in common.

"In order to do any of these jobs that they are being presented with today they've gotta stay in school," said Dr. Hank Bounds, Mississippi Superintendent of Education.

This educational fair give students an up close and sometimes hands on opportunity to check out jobs that may inspire them.

"We needed to put a greater emphasis on education," said Dwight Luckett, Canton Public Schools Superintendent.

When Dwight Luckett took over as superintendent of Canton Public Schools more students were dropping out than graduating. Now, his community based approach has connected a student's education to success later in life.

"With business leaders coming in and sharing, I want to hire you and I'll start you out making 30, 40, 50 thousand dollars a year, but I'm not gonna hire you if you drop out of school," said Luckett.

And this interactive teaching has worked. In Canton, the graduation rate is up over 35 percent and state wide more students graduated last year than ever before. But the fight to reduce the number of students who drop out is still going.

"I think it's pretty critical we meet kids where they are in terms of where they are on a learning continuum, but it's also important we help spark an interest and find out what excites them," said Bounds.

The educational fair is a yearly event that will eventually become the Mississippi Children's Museum when it opens in the fall of 2010.

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