The Community and Junior College System in Mississippi Lesson Plan


Although largely unplanned, Mississippi’s community and junior colleges grew out of the effort to establish agricultural high schools in rural areas of the state in the early 1900s. Today, Mississippi’s fifteen two-year colleges play a role in the education of many students throughout the state.


Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1 – 4


Grades 4 (with modifications) through 12



Students will:

  • Trace the development of Mississippi’s community college system by constructing an illustrated timeline;
  • Map the state’s system of community and junior colleges; and,
  • Demonstrate how the community and junior college system has had an impact on education in Mississippi.


  1. Allow time for students to discuss what they know about Mississippi’s community and junior colleges. They may wish to tell about a family member or an acquaintance who attended one of the state’s two-year institutions.
  2. Have students work together with a partner to make a list of the two-year colleges with which they are familiar. They should include the name of the college closest to their community. Ask students to think of reasons for attending a two-year college and to add these reasons to their list of colleges. Ask if anyone knows the name of the state’s first junior college; ask also if they know how many community colleges exist today. (Teacher may wish to give bonus points if anyone knows.)
  3. Tell students that this lesson will explain how Mississippi’s two-year colleges first started. It will provide an opportunity for them to understand the role the colleges play in educating the state’s residents.


  1. Individually, students will read the Mississippi History Now article “The Community and Junior College System in Mississippi” and make a list of important events and times in the history of the system. (Teacher may wish to assign some specific dates or events that must be included.)
  2. In small student groups of three or four, students will reach consensus regarding the events to be placed on a timeline. They will then construct the timeline on butcher paper, illustrating some of the events as they wish.
  3. Working alone, students will compile a list of useful facts they learned about the state’s two-year college system. (Teacher can mandate a certain number of facts.)
  4. Using the list of colleges at the end of the article, students will locate and identify the fifteen colleges on their county maps. (Teacher will provide Mississippi road maps or wall maps for students to use.) Ask if students see any patterns in the distribution of the colleges, or can think of reasons why they were located in certain places.
  5. Teacher will lead a discussion in which students discuss how the two-year college system has contributed to the status of education in Mississippi. Students should certainly be aware of the different types of educational opportunities offered by the community colleges, as well as their affordability and accessibility.


Assign students to small groups to research a particular community college on the internet. Give them a list of specific information to find, which could include location, enrollment, mascot, athletic teams, dormitories, available classes, scholarship information. If time permits, ask each group to develop a collage that shows what they have found. The collages can be posted in the hall or classroom.


  1. Participation in large- and small-group activities
  2. Completion of timeline and map
  3. Fact list
  4. Completion of group research project and collage


  1. A representative from a local community college could visit and speak generally about the system.
  2. Ask the school counselor to provide printed copies of two-year college catalogues, if available.
  3. If a student is interested in attending a community college, assist them in planning a course of study.
  4. Access the web site of the Mississippi Community College Board, the state’s coordinating agency for the system. Determine its function.