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National Geographic Society Launches Partnership with Jackson Public Schools

December 18, 2018

Educators smiling, attentive standing on various positions on floor map
JPS educators kicked their shoes off to take part in a lesson with the large-scale floor map. The demonstration took place during a partnership announcement between JPS and National Geographic. The event was held December 5 at Blackburn Middle School.

Last week, the National Geographic Society (NGS) and Jackson Public Schools (JPS) announced a partnership that will empower educators and inspire students to engage with their world. The district-level partnership will provide JPS with customized classroom resources that will prepare students for the 21st century and guided professional development programming for educators developed by NGS.

While NGS currently provides resources for students and educators nationwide, this collaboration is only the Society’s second in-depth district-level partnership in the country. JPS is the second-largest district in Mississippi, with 54 schools serving nearly 24,000 students. Throughout the collaboration, administrators and educators will provide valuable feedback on NGS resources.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the National Geographic Society to collaborate at the district level," said Lina Gomez, vice president, education strategy and operations, at NGS. "Not only will the Society provide Jackson students with resources that will inspire the next generation of explorers, conservationists, geographers and changemakers, but the process of working with JPS administrators and educators over the next year will improve the Society’s educational offerings, ensuring that our work meets the diverse needs of educators throughout the entire United States."

Developed to provide educators and students with tools to engage students' curiosity about the world and how it works, this partnership will provide JPS students with resources such as customized National Geographic Explorer magazine issues that align with Mississippi state science and reading standards and a suite of large-scale maps for students to explore the world. The partnership also includes access to National Geographic Explorers for in-person and digital events.

JPS educators will also be eligible to receive National Geographic funding to support their ideas related to geographic education. Interested educators can also become National Geographic Certified Educators, making them eligible for future leadership and grant opportunities, building their skills and connecting them to a robust online community of like-minded educators.

"This partnership will allow the National Geographic Society to collaborate with JPS and provide the District with stellar NGS professional development opportunities, as well as provide educational resources that build capacity for JPS educators to engage students with the world around them," said Dr. Cynthia Armstrong, executive director of the Office of Professional Development at JPS.

The partnership was announced at an event on December 5 at Blackburn Laboratory Middle School. JPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Frederick Murray; Dr. Cynthia Armstrong, executive director, JPS Office of Professional Development; Sylvia Leggette, JPS project leader; and Carley Lovorn, regional director, Educator Network, at NGS made remarks. During the event, JPS school administrators and educators learned more about NGS resources and opportunities that will be available to them in the coming year.

For more information about NGS’s commitment to education and for other opportunities to get involved, visit National Geographic's Education site.