What's New at MSMS

The Brainstorm

MSMS Social Studies Instructors Receive Honors from MPE and MCSS

Ms. Julie Heintz, social studies instructor here at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, recently received a classroom grant from Mississippi Professional Educators (MPE) Association. As a member of MPE, Ms. Heintz submitted an application to take advantage of the $40,000 MPE awards member teachers who wish to enhance instructional offerings or educational experiences for their students. Ms. Heintz intends to use her grant funding to support a project she initiated at MSMS entitled, “Some Gave All: Fallen Heroes-Mississippians in World War II.” This project encourages students to research and write a story on the life of a World War II solider. As their final project, students develop a website to honor their particular solider. Congratulations to Ms. Heintz for this recent honor and for continuing her work on this very worthy project!

 An artifact from the Some Gave All project. 

An artifact from the Some Gave All project. 


Mr. Chuck Yarborough, also in the social students department here at MSMS, was recently inducted into the Mississippi Council for Social Students (MCSS) Educator Hall of Fame at their annual conference. MCSS emphasizes social studies as a key component in developing good citizenship in students and also provides professional development opportunities for social studies teachers across the state. The theme for this year’s conference was “Mississippi Moments: 200 Years of Social Studies Content and More.” Congratulations to Mr. Yarborough on this wonderful achievement!

Janie ShieldsComment
Dr. Crook Presents at the Mississippi Counseling Association Fall Workshop

Dr. Tylon Crook recently presented at the Northwest Region of the Mississippi Counseling Association Fall Workshop at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia. Dr. Crook’s presentation was entitled, Halting the School-to-prison Pipeline among African American Boys: Strategies for Professional Counselors, and emphasized the family, community, and school factors that contributed to the rise of this important social justice issue. Dr. Crook provided a detailed account of how African American students, students from lower social-economic families, and students with known learning disabilities are statistically more likely to enter the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems as a result of recent shifts in educational practices such as zero tolerance policies and school-stationed police officers. These practices, that were originally intended to reduce violence in schools and foster a safe learning environment, have had the inadvertent effect of increasing the criminalization of youth in schools. Additionally, the school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately affects African American and Latino students. Dr. Crook provided a variety of strategies to halt these disturbing trends to his fellow counseling practitioners.  

Dr. Crook believes strongly in participating in professional development opportunities such as those provided through the Mississippi Counseling Association. He stated that professional associations provide, “individuals with the opportunity to strengthen their professional identities by collaborating and interacting with others from within their profession.” He went on to say, “it is imperative for school counselors to participate in workshops such as this in order to continue their development with regard to multicultural competence.” 

Dr. Crook, along with his colleague, Dr. Heath Stevens, make up the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science School Counseling Department. Together, they provide comprehensive development counseling to all MSMS students to ensure students are high achieving and high performing learners who graduate prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens specialize in providing social/emotional counseling, academic counseling, college planning, career development, and test preparation services. By participating in a wide variety of professional development opportunities, Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens continue to advance the MSMS Counseling Department to reflect current best practices.

Janie ShieldsComment
Palate to Palette: A MSMS Alum Documents Mississippi

By Mariat Thankachan

MSMS alumni dissipate to all corners of the nation after graduation. They go on to become dancers or doctors, teachers or entrepreneurs or any number of other careers; yet, they are all shaped by their time at MSMS that prepares them to tackle the issues of the world in a creative fashion. One such example of unleashed imagination is portrayed by Anthony Thaxton, member of MSMS Class of 1990. Thaxton is the producer, director and editor of Palate to Palette, a new television series showcased by Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Palate to Palette features two lively characters - chef Robert St. John and artist Wyatt Waters. These two Mississippi favorites explore every crevice of the state, from the Delta to the Coast, sharing their passions for cooking and painting as they discover new elements of their talents. With every watercolor brushstroke or delectable dish crafted, the duo serves as cheerleaders to highlight and record the sentimental history of Mississippi through canvas paintings and food recipes. Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters have collaboratively published four cookbooks, complete with watercolor illustrations and various dishes inspired by their travels around the world.

Thaxton has been dedicated to the production of the series, harboring interests in film production since his days at MSMS. “I used all the skills I learned in Mr. Jack L. Carter’s Creative Class all those years ago! It’s a fun show. Hope some of you will tune in,” Thaxton exclaimed.

The series premiered on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 7:00 p.m. on Mississippi Public Broadcasting television station. Since then, the artist and the restaurateur have shared their filmed experiences with the cultures and sights of Jackson, Starkville and Biloxi. Each episode appears online at Thursday nights, every one brimming with childhood stories of the two best friends growing up in Mississippi.


Janie ShieldsComment
MSMS Students Recognized by the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association in the Annual "Best of Mississippi Literary Magazine Awards."
2017 southern voices.jpg

Congratulations to MSMS students listed below whose poems, short stories, and nonfiction essays won seven of the fifteen writing awards presented by the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association in the “Best of Mississippi Literary Magazine Awards” category.  Additionally, three MSMS students listed below won awards in the art and photography categories. 

All the award-winning pieces appeared in Southern Voices (2017), published last May, which was a finalist in the “Best Literary Magazine Category.”  The awards were announced yesterday at the MSPA annual conference held at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Short Fiction             

  • Aidan Dunkelberg (finalist)

Poem                 Landry Filce, Aidan Dunkelberg, & Aidan Dunkleberg

Nonfiction         Emily Shy, Reagan Poston, & Wrishija Roy

Hand-Drawn Illustration     Britney Casmus & Hannah Houston

Photo      Ariel Williams

Janie ShieldsComment
Fall Preview Day 2017

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science hosted its annual Fall Preview Day on Friday, October 27 in Nissan Auditorium inside Parkinson Hall on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women. Designed specifically for prospective students and families, Fall Preview Day provides a wonderful opportunity to come to campus to learn more about MSMS, tour the facilities, and interact with current students, faculty, and staff. 

This year, MSMS welcomed over 90 prospective students to campus along with their family members. The event opened with a performing arts showcase that featured literary readings from Mrs. Richardson’s Creative Writing students, a reenactment from Tales from the Crypt, a performance by Voices in Harmony, and an interactive math activity conducted by Mu Alpha Theta. Interspersed with these performances were additional videos that highlighted the MSMS Blue Notes, Science Carnival, and various other activities MSMS students engage in. Following this portion of the program, Dr. German McConnell, Executive Director for MSMS, provided a comprehensive overview of MSMS’s robust offerings and competitive advantages. Students and parents alike also had the opportunity to hear from other school administrators about their areas of expertise. 

Parents and students then separated into two different groups. MSMS student emissaries led the parents on a tour of campus, while prospective students remained in Nissan Auditorium for a student panel focused on adjusting to the academic rigor and residential setting at MSMS. Parents then returned to Nissan for a parent led panel while students received campus tours facilitated by student emissaries. The event concluded with an overview of the admissions and application process and some handy tips and tricks to navigate that process. 

As the state’s only public, residential high school focused on STEM education and specifically designed to meet the needs of Mississippi’s most academically gifted and talented students, MSMS continues to serve as an incubator for some of the brightest minds across the state. If you were unable to attend Fall Preview Day, but are interested in learning more about MSMS, please call the Office of Admissions at 1.800.553.6459 to schedule a tour or request additional information about the school.

Janie ShieldsComment