Jason Harris, Improving Graduation Rate Through Rigor

The Path to Higher Ed is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community that explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are pushing education forward by constantly learning from, innovating and applying their college and career readiness practices. Listen to gain their insights and apply them to your own college and career readiness practices.

Today, we’re speaking with Jason Harris, Principal of Tupelo High School in Tupelo, Mississippi. Jason ensures that students develop career readiness by the they graduate from Tupelo High. With an approach that seeks to arm its students with a variety of options, Jason has helped dramatically increase the school’s graduation rate. Listen in as Jason details everything the school is doing ranging from dual-credit programs all the way to a culinary program.

About Jason Harris

Jason Harris began his career in education in 1998 in Norfolk, Virginia teaching Health and P.E. while also coaching baseball and football. In Virginia he transitioned from teacher to Dean of Students in four years. Mr. Harris then moved to Columbus, Mississippi to take an Assistant Principal post at Columbus High School, where he was selected as the 2004–2005 District Administrator of the Year.

In 2006, Mr. Harris began his employment in the Tupelo (MS) Public School District as Assistant Principal at Lawndale Elementary. After three years, he was promoted to Principal of Joyner Elementary. When the opportunity arose in 2011 to lead the TPSD flagship school, he became principal of Tupelo High, the largest high school in the state where he supervised over 2000 students and 200 staff members. After leading Tupelo High School for six years, Mr. Harris left in June of 2017 to accept the opportunity to become Superintendent of Columbia (MS) School District.

About Tupelo High School

Tupelo High School is the only public high school in Tupelo, Mississippi. The campus consists of fourteen buildings, including a Performing Arts Center, separate buildings for social studies, English, math, sciences, and fine arts as well there is also a self-contained grade-9 building. It is the largest enrolled public high school in the state of Mississippi. The class of 2015 consisted of 438 graduates. The school offers a curriculum containing 160 Carnegie units, 24 of which are Advanced Placement.

Tupelo High School is also a two-time National Blue Ribbon School award winner, having won the award in 1983–1984 and again in 1999–2000.

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