When the Mississippi Department of Education reached out to AMLE to partner on a transitions toolkit for schools across the state, we jumped at the opportunity to support the work. The multi-disciplinary team they assembled aimed to create a roadmap for schools that supported consistent, positive transitions for middle school students while allowing each individual district and school the ability to tailor the plan to their unique community needs.
The end result is the robust Mississippi Middle School Transition Toolkit released by the Department in February. Developed in partnership with AMLE, Mississippi State University, the Southern Region Education Board, and Mississippi educators and leaders, the toolkit provides families and schools with activities and information needed to effectively support students transitioning into middle school, during the middle school years, and transitioning into high school. The toolkit also provides guidance for developing a transition team at the local level.
The toolkit is offered in easy-to-navigate digital and PDF formats and is comprised of five themed sections, each with a recommended timeline, implementation strategy, tips for success, and additional resource. The five sections are:
- Family engagement, and
- Social and emotional learning.
To facilitate implementation, each public school in Mississippi that serves students in grades 6-8 will also receive a color, spiral bound copy of the toolkit via ground mail.
Importantly, the toolkit integrates key middle level education best practices recognized by AMLE in its foundational text and position paper on transitions. This includes components like family partnership, student-led approaches, cultural responsiveness, career exploration, and attentiveness to the unique developmental needs of young adolescent students. “We know how tremendously important the transitions into and out of middle school can be for student outcomes,” said Stephanie Simpson, CEO of AMLE. “I believe the work the Department has done in creating this valuable resource can serve as a model for other states and school districts to emulate.”
“Providing this Toolkit statewide will strengthen our efforts at the middle grades,” added Dr. Marla Davis, Associate State Superintendent at the Mississippi Department of Education. “Working with AMLE on this toolkit just made sense! As the national leader on middle school education, we knew it was vital for us to have AMLE at the table providing additional guidance as we developed this Toolkit. In the end, we have created a great resource to support our students, parents, and educators across the state of Mississippi; and we look forward to the impact this Toolkit will have.”
The electronic version of the toolkit includes an interactive table of contents and is accessible here.