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English teacher Samara Rand goes over a passage with a student in her class at Holmes County Central High School. The high school ranked as one of the lowest performing in Mississippi and Rand, a second-year teacher, often dissects passages with her students. Photo: Rory Doyle for The Hechinger Report

LEXINGTON, Miss. — Samara Rand’s new colleagues at Holmes County Central High School gave her a warning on her first day: Never turn off the air conditioning. Even if the students complained. Warm classrooms in the 60-year-old building would smell like urine, her co-workers

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