December 14, 2016
JACKSON, Miss. – Parents, educators and community members want students to be independent, engaged, well-rounded and critical thinkers, and they want teachers who are professional, prepared and demonstrate strong instructional and classroom management practices.
These were just some of the comments from stakeholders who attended a series of meetings around the state during the Mississippi Succeeds Listening tour. Between August 29 and October 13, 2016, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) facilitated 15 public meetings to gather input for Mississippi’s plan to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). To ensure broad stakeholder input, afternoon and evening sessions were held in locations throughout the state, including Meridian, Natchez, Cleveland, Tupelo, Gulfport, Jackson, Hernando and Starkville.
MDE collected around 7,300 points of feedback on student success, school improvement, school and district reports cards, teacher effectiveness and accountability. Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, said she was impressed with the level of engagement from communities and their thoughts on how to improve public education.
“I was pleased with the number of people who attended the meetings or emailed their feedback on the factors important to them for student and school success. It is now MDE’s job to look at ways we can incorporate the most commonly supported ideas and suggestions into our comprehensive state plan for ESSA,” Wright said.
In the coming weeks, MDE employees and other educators will work on a draft state plan. Mississippi’s plan for ESSA will reflect many of the state’s educational priorities stated in the Mississippi State Board of Education’s 5-Year Strategic Plan. The Board’s strategic plan focuses on student growth and proficiency, high-quality classroom instruction and school leadership, every student graduating ready for college and career, high-quality early learning opportunities, effective use of data, and supporting low-performing schools and districts.
Upon completion of the draft plan, the MDE will launch another listening tour in the spring to go over the plan and receive additional feedback from stakeholder groups before final submission to the U.S. Department of Education in 2017.
ESSA is the latest version of the nation’s main K-12 law that has a longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. The law aims to scale back the hands-on federal role in elementary and secondary education.
All states must examine the law and ensure they meet the requirements of the law. The areas that must be addressed in the statewide plan include:
- accountability and school quality;
- measures of student success;
- school and district report cards, including specific metrics such as subgroup (race, English learners, economic status, etc.) results at the school and district level;
- teacher and leader quality; and
- school improvement strategies.
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications
Jean Cook, APR