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MDE Submits State ESSA Plan to Department of Education for Review

September 27, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. – Following final approval by the Mississippi State Board of Education, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) submitted to the U.S. Department of Education (department) its final state plan to improve outcomes for students in compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the federal law that replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB).


The department will review the plan over the next few weeks and will provide more information regarding next steps before it approves Mississippi’s plan. Improved transparency, support for underperforming schools and districts, increased accountability for results, and focused professional training for better quality teachers and school leaders are key components of Mississippi Succeeds.


The state plan, informed by citizens from across the state, is a refinement of the activities supporting the Mississippi State Board of Education’s Strategic Plan. It serves as the roadmap to higher student achievement and reinforces many of the state’s existing educational priorities by:


  • Setting high expectations for student growth and proficiency in all tested areas through educator professional development and state support
  • Focusing on educational equity through increased access and opportunities for all students to close opportunity and achievement gaps
  • Ensuring high-quality classroom instruction through professional development and meaningful feedback from educators
  • Setting the expectation that every student graduates from high school and is ready for college and career
  • Expanding access to high-quality early learning opportunities as a part of a continuum of support from birth to 3rd grade
  • Using data effectively to make decisions in the best interest of students
  • Supporting and improving underperforming schools through local and state technical assistance and interventions

The plan provides clear expectations for schools and districts with the focus solidly on student growth opportunities and performance, particularly for students who are the furthest behind their peers.


Mississippi has set aggressive goals to increase academic achievement. The proposed long-range goal is for 70 percent of students to reach proficiency (at or above grade level) by 2025.  In other words, 70 percent of all students, by subgroup, would show solid academic performance and mastery of the knowledge and skills required for success in the grade or course. MDE and school districts will monitor interim benchmarks set to reach the proficiency goal.


The proposed graduation rate is 90 percent by 2025 for all students, with all subgroups showing improvement. The graduation rate for students with disabilities was projected at 70 percent by 2025, considering that the 2015-16 graduation rate for students with disabilities is 34.7 percent.


For more information about ESSA and to read the Mississippi Succeeds comprehensive plan and executive summary, visit

Media Contact: 
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications

Jean Cook, APR
Communications Specialist