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Mississippi High School, Company Named Semifinalists for National ACT Recognition

May 31, 2016

CLINTON, Miss. – The semifinalists for the national ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign include Gulfport High School for raising expectations for students and Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula for its commitment to educational and career advancement for their employees and communities.

“As our campaign continues to grow in its fourth consecutive year, we are honored to share these stories and celebrate in the remarkable success of these students, schools and employers,” said Scott Montgomery, ACT vice president of policy, advocacy and government relations. “In their states and across the country, these semifinalists are beacons of possibility for future improvements in college and career readiness.”

A total of 13 states have exemplars that have earned the semifinalist distinction, with Mississippi, Nevada and South Carolina each home to semifinalists in two categories. The four national exemplars will be announced and celebrated at the 2016 ACT National Gala on College and Career Readiness in Washington, D.C., in late June, where all semifinalists and state exemplars will be recognized.

Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, congratulated the semifinalists for earning the recognition and for working to ensure students have every opportunity to reach their future goals.

“I thank Gulfport School District Superintendent Glen East and Gulfport High School Principal Michael Lindsey for setting high expectations for their students and for continuing their hard work and commitment to preparing students for college and the workforce,” Wright said. “Ingalls Shipbuilding has been a long-time, loyal partner with our school districts, providing students with work-based learning opportunities and future careers.”

Lindsey said the recognition affirms the school district is on the right track to raising student achievement.

“The Gulfport School District has been committed to increasing academic rigor, ensuring access to Advanced Placement courses for all students, and providing dual credit opportunities for qualified students regardless of socioeconomic status. This honor is a direct reflection of the commitment of our staff, the support of our community, and the hard work of our students; all of which have seen a significant increase in College and Career Readiness indicators over the last four years,” he said.

A national selection committee comprised of seven education and workforce leaders chose four semifinalists in each of four categories: Student Readiness (high school senior), College and Career Transition (high school), Career Preparedness (community college) and Workplace Success (employer). Each of these categories represents a critical juncture in the college and career readiness continuum.

“By setting clear goals and tracking measurable progress towards achieving them, all of this year’s exemplars are having a tangible and meaningful impact on the education and economic advancement of their states,” said Jeremy Anderson, chair of the campaign’s national selection committee and president of Education Commission of the States.

Mississippi Profiles from ACT

Mississippi—Employer
Ingalls Shipbuilding
Pascagoula, Mississippi

“When employees are able to develop their mind and skills in a conducive and relevant environment, they thrive and give back a hundredfold.”

- Fred Howell, Talent Acquisition Manager

With 12,000 employees, Ingalls Shipbuilding is the largest industrial employer in Mississippi and has built over two-thirds of the U.S. Navy’s current warships. During its 75 years in business, it has established a long track record of supporting employee advancement and educational success in its local community. Through the company’s Registered Apprenticeship program, apprentices are trained across 13 craft disciplines, and Ingalls uses ACT WorkKeys assessments to identify qualified workers for these programs. As technology and workforce needs have evolved, so has the company’s commitment to learning opportunities; 750 employees are currently enrolled in the apprenticeship program, which includes dual enrollment courses through a partnership with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

To support STEM education in local schools, Ingalls annually awards over $100,000 in grants to local K–12 schools.

Mississippi—High School
Gulfport High School
Gulfport, Mississippi

The 1,600 students who attend Gulfport High School come from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, and the school’s leadership is deeply committed to improving achievement and opportunity for all of its students.

Almost half of Gulfport’s ACT test takers are African American, and their average ACT scores exceed the Mississippi state average for African American students by three points. The high school is also distinctive for being one of a handful in Mississippi that covers all fees for students who enroll in college courses in high school. The school’s dual enrollment program provides much-needed financial assistance to many Gulfport students, as 64 percent qualify for free or reduced price school lunches.

To ensure that all students remain on track for college and careers, Gulfport continuously assesses students’ individual progress, using scores from ACT Aspire and the ACT and individual college and career counseling at every grade level.

Media Contact: 
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications
601-359-3706 

Jean Cook, APR
Communications Specialist
601-359-3519