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GEAR UP Mississippi partners with Betabox for STEM outreach

STARKVILLE — Mississippi’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) initiative is partnering with North Carolina-based Betabox Learning to provide a STEM outreach initiative for the Meridian and Greenville public school districts in the 2021-2022 school year.

The collaboration provides students and teachers in Meridian and Greenville — two districts served under the GEAR UP Mississippi initiative administered by Mississippi State University — access to high-quality, hands-on STEM experiences and curriculum. It marks the first endeavor between Betabox and Mississippi public schools. 

“GEAR UP Mississippi is excited to partner with Betabox to expose students in Meridian and Greenville to interactive STEM experiences. We hope the experience will be memorable and students will look forward to more STEM opportunities through the duration of the GEAR UP grant,” said Judy Middleton, MSU Research and Curriculum Unit’s GEAR UP Mississippi director. 

The partnership includes on-site field trips in Betabox mobile labs, standards-aligned STEM curriculum, professional development opportunities, and individual instructional coaching through Betabox’s Educator Member portal.

“We are extremely excited to have Betabox on campus next week.” Dr. Tiffany Fisher, MHS Associate Principal said. “Allowing our ninth-grade students to experience the hands-on STEM activities will only help them as they are deciding what they want to do in the future.”

Betabox’s mobile lab will stop in Meridian on Oct. 13-15 and Greenville on Oct. 18-22.

“Betabox is thrilled to be partnering with the GEAR UP program at MSU to expand our services into new territory. Our shared goal is to make this pilot program as impactful as possible, and we are excited to implement our hands-on STEM solutions with the students and teachers in Meridian and Greenville. We are hopeful this pilot will prove the need for more STEM resources across the state of Mississippi, and we look forward to working with Mississippi State University over the long-term to address these issues,” said Greg Pearlman, Betabox’s chief success officer.

GEAR UP Mississippi, which serves the Greenville, McComb, and Meridian school districts, strives to increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education opportunities; increase the rate of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education, and increase GEAR UP students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education preparation, options, and financing.

About GEAR UP MS

The U.S. Department of Education awarded MSU $28 million in funding to support college access through the GEAR UP grant. During the 2019-2026 grant term, students and educators in the Greenville, McComb, and Meridian public school districts will receive targeted services with the goal of increasing readiness for college, high school graduation rates, and access to information on the postsecondary school, financial aid, career options, and college enrollment. Other grant partners include Get2College, the Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, and ACT.

For more information about GEAR UP Mississippi, visit www.rcu.msstate.edu/GEARUP or contact Middleton (judy.middleton@rcu.msstate.edu or 662.325.2510).

About Betabox

Since 2015, Betabox has been busy bringing memorable hands-on learning experiences to K-12 schools. Its on-site field trips have impacted students in 25 states. Betabox partnered with brands including Red Hat, Boeing, MilliporeSigma, and more to unlock millions in funding for schools to augment their technology education programs. Betabox is trusted by states like South Carolina to help rural counties, as well. To learn more, visit betaboxlearning.com or contact Pearlman (greg@betaboxlearning.com).

About Meridian Public School District

The Meridian Public School District prepares all students, in a parent and community partnership, to be literate, self-directed learners with the confidence and character to compete in a complex and ever-changing world. MPSD serves 5,000 students on 13 school campuses. For more information, please visit us on the web at www.mpsdk12.net or contact Matt Davis at mtdavis@mpsdk12.net or 601-482-0423.