MSU/MDAC Partnership, i.R.O.C.K. Grant and Marjorie Spruill Book Drive at USM | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

MSU/MDAC Partnership, i.R.O.C.K. Grant and Marjorie Spruill Book Drive at USM

Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson announced a promotional partnership between the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce and Mississippi State University on Monday, March 7. Photo courtesy MSU

Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson announced a promotional partnership between the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce and Mississippi State University on Monday, March 7. Photo courtesy MSU

Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson announced a promotional partnership between the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce and Mississippi State University on Monday, March 7.

The partnership is part of an initiative to promote universities within the state through MDAC’s Bureau of Regulatory Services inspection stickers. Each sticker represents a division within the Bureau of Regulatory Services and will feature the school colors of the chosen university for one year. The system informs the public when inspections took place and provides contact information for MDAC’s Weights and Measures Division, State Metrology Laboratory, Petroleum Products Inspection Division and Consumer Protection Division.

MDAC awards inspection stickers to ensure fairness and equity in the marketplace. In 2021, MDAC’s Bureau of Regulatory Services tested 11,431 scales and 56,314 devices found at gas stations and obtained 1,919 samples for analysis by the State Chemical Lab, a release from JSU says.

For more information, visit mdac.ms.gov or msstate.edu.

USM Secures Grant for i.R.O.C.K. Academy + Program

The University of Southern Mississippi recently received a four-year, $350,000 Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant will support the i.R.O.C.K. Academy + program at L.J. Rowan Elementary School in Hattiesburg and expand its ability to offer literacy-based academic support and mentoring to at-risk youth.

i.R.O.C.K. Academy's name is derived from the phrase “I am Resilient, Optimistic, Charismatic and Kind.” Leaders at Rowan Elementary created the program after sharing with a group of faculty from USM about their needs for academic support in math and literacy and mentorship for upper-elementary female students, a release from USM says.

After the program's launch, teachers paired mentees with positive role models who engaged in book talks with them. Both the mentees and mentors also received culturally-relevant texts to add to their libraries.

The 21st CCLC program also invests in community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly those who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.

Through the grant, i.R.O.C.K. Academy + will provide literacy-based academic support and enrichment opportunities for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students and their families, a release from USM says. The program will also introduce a literacy-based mentoring program for third through fifth-grade students; a Family Academy to encourage family literacy and parent engagement; a literacy-based summer camp that will provide STEAM education, skill building and career exploration; and expanded library resources such as new tablets and a collection of culturally-relevant books.

For more information about the School of Education at USM, visit usm.edu/education.

USM Hosting Marjorie Spruill Book Drive

The Committee on Services and Resources for Women at the University of Southern Mississippi is hosting the Marjorie Spruill Book Drive to teach students at Thames Elementary School in Hattiesburg about the contributions of women and girls in history.

Former USM history Professor Marjorie (Wheeler) Spruill created the book drive as part of Women’s History Month programming at the university. CSRW coordinated with Thames School Principal Christie Moss and Librarian Tamara Smith to provide books for the students. In 2021, CSRW partnered with Burger Middle School in Hattiesburg on the donation of 52 books.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, rather than accepting donations directly, CSRW has set up an Amazon Wish List for guests to purchase books and ship them directly to a CSRW member who will deliver them. Smith has vetted all books in the program. CSRW requests that only books from the wish list be purchased. The book drive will continue through the end of March.

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