The cornerstone of the Mississippi Learning Institute (MLI) model is cutting edge, research-based professional development for educators. Since 2003, MLI has coordinated and provided literacy-based professional development for pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and administrators on school, district, and collegiate levels. Topics such as strategies for Differentiated Instruction, Literacy across the Curriculum, Best Practices in Literacy Instruction, and Classroom Management are pillars in the MLI professional development series. More importantly, results show that delivery and implementation of these strategies have had a positive impact on changing teaching practices and classroom behaviors, resulting in a significant increase in reading achievement and student performance.
MLI is available to provide professional development and to assist schools and districts in designing professional development plans that are tailored to meet teacher and student needs.
Curriculum & Instruction Implementation
According to Hujala (2002), "A curriculum is the most important document for teaching. It makes teachers' and policy-makers' thinking about children, growth, learning, and pedagogy visible and understandable for others." Equally important as a sound curriculum is its effective and intended implementation – pedagogy and instruction. The MLI model emphasizes the need for continuous professional development, as well as ongoing, job-embedded theory-to-practice opportunities. MLI monitors and ensures the fidelity of literacy initiatives through observation of instruction, coaching, modeling, and training, while maintaining open, two-way communication with our partners–school administrators, district leaders, and university faculty.
MLI is available to assist schools and districts by providing embedded professional learning opportunities in the context of curriculum implementation and professional development follow-up.
MLI maintains that "attempts to improve only small segments of the curriculum will not produce lasting or fundamental changes" (Klein, 2001). Therefore, in 2001, MLI set an ambitious agenda to serve as a national literacy model by taking a holistic, comprehensive approach to transform the conventional educational system. In 2004, MLI joined the Academy of Educational Development (AED) to engage in an evaluative process that would yield data to inform decisions for the P-20—preschool through graduate school—continuum. The result was a four-and-one-half year evaluation that positioned MLI to further develop instruments, protocols, and policies and procedures to support quality professional development plans, reading and literacy programs, and curriculum and instructional alignment.
MLI is available to assist schools and districts by conducting a needs assessment in order to evaluate targeted program areas.