Gulfport High School and Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula have been named semifinalists in the national ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign.
A national selection committee of seven education and workforce leaders chose four semifinalists from categories including student readiness, college and career transition, career preparedness and workplace success.
The committee picked Gulfport High for raising expectations for students and Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula for its commitment to educational and career advancement for its employees and communities.
Close to half of Gulfport's ACT test takers are black, and their average ACT scores exceed the state average for black students by three points.
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The school also covers all fees for students who enroll in college courses at the high school. Sixty-four percent of students qualify for free or reduced price school lunches, and the school's dual enrollment program is valuable to students.
The Gulfport School Sistrict, "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," said Gulfport High principal Michael Lindsey. "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.
Ingalls, the largest industrial employer in the state with 12,000 employees, annually awards over $100,000 in grants to local K-12 schools. There are 750 employees enrolled in the company's apprenticeship program, which includes dual enrollment courses through a partnership with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
"When employees are able to develop their mind and skills in a conducive and relevant environment, they thrive and give back a hundredfold," Ingalls Talent Acquisition Manager Fred Howell said.
Thirteen states earned the semifinalist distinction in the ACT selections. Mississippi is one of three states to honor semifinalists in two categories.
The final four national exemplars will be announced 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.
"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," State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright said.