Great Public Schools Criteria for MississippiGreat Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.
Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Mississippi.
Readiness to Learn
The Early Childhood Services Interagency Coordinating Council was created in House Bill 418 by the 2000 session of the Mississippi Legislature to ensure coordination among the various agencies and programs serving pre-school children in order to support school districts' efforts to achieve the goal of readiness to start school; to facilitate communication, cooperation and maximum use of resources; and to promote high standards for all programs serving preschool children and their families in Mississippi.
The Early Childhood Services Interagency Coordinating Council is charged with making a comprehensive report on the status of all programs and services for pre-school children in Mississippi and distributing this report to the Governor, the Legislature and to local school districts.
- State Policy: Mississippi requires districts to offer full-school year, full-day kindergarten though children are not required to attend. Mississippi provides the same level of funding for grades K-12.
- Definition, District Offering and Pupil Attendance: The length of the school day shall be the same as that of the other grades of the elementary school (Mississippi Kindergarten Guidelines).
(Education Commission of the States [ECS] Kindergarten Database, 2007)
- The Office of Educational Accountability is responsible for monitoring and reviewing programs developed under the Education Reform Act, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program Act of 1994, the Education Enhancement Fund, and subsequent education initiatives, and provides information, recommendations and an annual assessment to the Legislature, Governor, Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation and the State Board of Education.
- Development and maintenance of a system of communication with school district personnel.
- Providing opportunities for public comment on the current functions of the Mississippi Department of Education’s programs, needed public education services and innovative suggestions.
- Assessing both positive and negative impact on school districts if new education programs, including but not limited to the Mississippi Report Card and alternative school programs. (MDE)
- School Performance Classifications are based on school’s achievement levels (1-5) and growth status.
- When a school receiving Title 1 funds fails to meet AYP for two consecutive years, (Priority School), the district must identify that school for improvement. A school's plan for improvement must include ways to strengthen instruction and address the causes of failure. To assist eligible students from Title 1 schools in improvement, new options were created and must be provided by the school district: 1. public school choice (year 1) and 2. supplemental educational services (year 2). Students in schools under improvement will have the option to transfer to another public school in a district not in school improvement. Students in schools identified for their 2nd year of school improvement (Priority School) will be eligible to receive supplemental services. (MAE)
NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps
The Mississippi Association of Educators is working with three low-performing schools to support their work in closing the achievement gaps. They are planning to provide training to members in research-based classroom strategies that address the needs of culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse students. Using NEA's training on C.A.R.E.: Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gaps, MAE hopes to train a cadre of trainers to provide professional development and assistance to targeted schools. They also plan to provide a series of community conversations and/or Family-School-Community Partnerships training with NEA's assistance in order to generate community support for these schools. For more information on MAE's work, contact MAE Executive Director Frank Yates.
Recruitment and Retention
Mississippi has state policies that support differentiated teacher compensation, differentiated pay for hard-to-staff schools, statewide financial incentives, hard-to-staff subject areas, induction, and statewide retention. In addition, there are policies supporting teacher recognition and license reciprocity with other states.
Differentiated Teacher Compensation: The Education Reform Act of 2006, Section 2, provides additional compensation for teachers holding licenses in critical subject areas. It also establishes the Mississippi Performance Based Pay (MPBP) Plan to reward licensed personnel at schools showing improvement in student test scores, and provides additional base compensation for mentor teachers in middle schools with approved classroom management programs.
Education Reform Act of 2006 S.B. 2602, § 2 (2)(a)(i)
Differentiated Pay for Hard-to Staff Schools: Effective July 1, 2007, if funds are available for that purpose, the Legislature may authorize state funds for additional base compensation for teachers employed in a public school district located in a geographic area of the state designated as a critical teacher shortage area by the State Board of Education.
Education Reform Act of 2006 S.B. 2602, § 2 (3)(b)
Statewide Financial Incentives: An employee shall be reimbursed one (1) time for the actual cost of completing the process of acquiring the certificate or endorsement, excluding any costs incurred for postgraduate courses, not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for a school counselor or speech-language pathologist and audiologist, regardless of whether or not the process resulted in the award of the certificate or endorsement.
Education Reform Act of 2006 S.B. 2602, § 2 (2)(b)
Hard-to-Staff Subject Areas: The goal of the University Assisted Teacher Recruitment and Retention Grant Program, as mandated in House Bill 609 (1998 Legislative Session), shall be to attract qualified teachers to those geographical areas of the state where there exists a critical shortage of teachers by making available scholarships to persons working towards a Master of Education degree or an Educational Specialist degree at an institution of higher learning whose teacher education program is approved by the State Board of Education.
SBE Recruitment Programs University Assisted Teacher Grant Program
Induction Policies: Beginning in the 2006-2007 school year, if funds are available for that purpose, each middle school in Mississippi shall have at least two (2) mentor teachers, as defined by Sections 37-9-201 through 37-9-213, who shall receive additional base compensation provided for by the State Legislature in the amount of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00). For the purposes of this subsection (5), "middle school" means any school composed individually or of some composite of Grades 6 through 8.
Education Reform Act of 2006 S.B. 2602, § 2 (2)(5)(a)
Statewide Retention Policies: The Mississippi Teacher Center of the State Department of Education shall establish a beginning teacher support program to provide eligible beginning teachers in this state with continued and sustained support from a formally assigned mentor teacher during the first full year of teaching.
Mississippi Code § 37-9-205 (1)
License Reciprocity with Other States: The Mississippi Department of Education grants a standard license to any individual who possesses a valid standard license from another state. The department grants a nonrenewable special license to any individual who possesses a credential, which is less than a standard license or certification from another.
Education Reform Act of 2006 S.B. 2602, § 2 (8)(a)(b)