MREA announced today the schools and programs that earned the 2021 Innovation Program Awards for reimagining education and delivering results for students.

MREA will honor the NextGen Bears program at Bertha-Hewitt Public Schools and the K-6 Technology and STEM Curriculum Continuum program at Menahga Public Schools at an awards ceremony on Nov. 14.

The awards ceremony will be live-streamed at 6:15 pm on Nov. 14. Learn more about the awards.

Each year, MREA recognizes school programs that serve as an example of educational opportunities for rural students with the Innovation Award. Selected programs illustrate innovation, benefits for students, collaboration and ease of adaptability. Programs throughout MREA member districts are nominated and then selected by the MREA Board of Directors. Nominate a program.

2021 Honorees

NextGen Bears

Bertha-Hewitt Public Schools

The NextGen Bears program equips Bertha-Hewitt students with real-life experience and skills needed to run a successful business. From office management to ecommerce, from graphic design to running CNC machines, the NextGen Bears operates as a real business. Bertha-Hewitt students have the opportunity to be a part of the business and work with real community members and real customers every day. The program has increased attendance, engagement, and achievement of participating students and helped them experience a multitude of careers from within the walls of their high school.

Stay tuned for the NextGen Bears feature video that will launch after the Awards Ceremony.

K-6 Technology and STEM Curriculum Continuum

Menahga Public Schools

The Menahga Public Schools are taking the STEM curriculum to the next level, integrating it right within every school day and leveling the playing field for boys and girls in STEM-based learning from the start. As one of the most anticipated parts of their day, the students use both their creativity and analytical skills to complete challenges and create 3D art projects from scratch. Meagha students start their technology and STEM learning in Kindergarten, improving their skill and knowledge throughout elementary school, preparing them for secondary school and beyond. What was traditionally a male-dominated class by choice is now being introduced, taught, and loved by both male and female students alike.

Stay tuned for the K-6 Technology and STEM Curriculum Continuum feature video that will launch after the Awards Ceremony.

Watch it Live

MREA will host its 2021 Awards Ceremony on Nov. 14 at 6:15 pm. Watch the MREA website for the live link to watch the Awards Ceremony. The awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Annual Conference: Rural Strong, featuring natinally-known keynotes and dynamite breakout sessions for teachers, school administrators, board members and other education professionals. Learn more.