Vicksburg Warren School District (2023)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi has been a long-time partner with education and the Vicksburg Warren School District. With the School District’s recent focus on Workforce Development and preparing ALL students for college, career and life, ongoing work with ERDC, Warren County’s largest employer, has expanded and become a crucial alliance. Success for both organizations depend on this partnership to fulfill their missions.

ERDC, provides support in many ways for the continued education of STEM and in inspiring careers for children in Warren County, including hosting STEM camps each summer - some even offer payment to the student for completing; providing research experiences for science teachers; leading student tours, coaching (award-winning) robotics team: donating equipment; holding mock interviews and college & career fairs for high school students; providing science fair judges and much more. Estimates are that employees from ERDC collectively spend over 17,000 hours volunteering each year in the schools in Warren County. This group of educated and dedicated volunteers is changing the trajectory of our students and our community.

The partnership between VWSD and ERDC has become increasingly important, and ERDC continues to rise to new levels of support, evidenced by the opening in 2018 of the USACE’s FORWARD CENTER for Future Workforce Development on ERDC’s Vicksburg Campus. (see submitted photo). This structure hosts Corps sponsored robotics teams (First Tech Challenge teams, FIRST Lego League, and FRC Teams) as well as a wide variety of activities to ignite curiosity about STEM careers. This facility is offered for students use at no charge to the District or its families.

In this partnership, VWSD provides:

Marketing to students and families, and teachers
Technology in the classroom
Updated learning spaces to host and support camps
Open door policy and active listening to the needs of the areas largest employer
Future employees

ERDC Provides:
Qualified experts in a variety of STEM fields - coaches, speakers, mentors, etc.
Future job opportunities
FORWARD Center, Future Workforce Development building on ERDC campus dedicated to robotics and other STEM activities
Volunteers (camps, robotics coaches, solar sprint coaches,
Access to Army Educational Outreach Program
Opportunities for teachers to expand their STEM knowledge
Outreach to high school students - college and career fairs, roundtable discussions

Together, these partners are leveling the playing field for all students and the results are showing. The District’s graduation rate is the highest it has ever been at 90% with subgroups all performing well. Pre-pandemic science proficiency scores increased across the District with high school scores at 45.7 in 2019 compared to only 36 in 2016. Post-pandemic scores are also rebounding with a jump to 40.7 in 2022.

Together is better. ERDC is a great example of what we can do for children when we work toward the same end - what is best for kids. The School District is forever appreciative of the generous support offered by ERDC and the inspiring employees who share their expertise, talents and passion with us daily.