The Mississippi Succeeds plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act is a signature work from the tenure of Carey M. Wright, Ed.D., as superintendent of the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). With literacy at the forefront, Mississippi Succeeds creates high expectations for all educational constituents in the state. The primary long-term goals of Mississippi Succeeds are to (a) attain 70% proficiency on reading and math tests for all students and subgroups, (b) achieve a 90% graduation rate for all students, and (c) assist 70% of English learners in achievement adequate growth in reading. Literacy has been a key vehicle for attaining these goals. With the passage of the Literacy-Based Promotion Act (LBPA) in 2013, long-range proficiency targets were set by projecting the proficiency rates of the first cohort of third graders who were subject to the LBPA.
MDE understands that in order to achieve these and other academic outcomes, every student needs to be taught by teachers equipped to help them achieve their goals. Goal 4 of the Mississippi State Board of Education Strategic Plan for 2018–2022 states that all schools will have effective teachers and leaders. According to the research literature, minority teachers are more likely to teach in schools with large minority student populations and are more likely to leave the profession. Mississippi data show that high-poverty and minority students are disproportionately located in the lowest-performing schools, which have half as many highly effective and 1.5 times as many ineffective teachers as high-performing schools. Teacher turnover creates a revolving door effect in schools, especially those with the most vulnerable student populations. MDE is committed to improving teacher effectiveness and strengthening recruitment and retention in districts and schools with the least effective and experienced educators.
R7CC's service plan is organized around four high-leverage problems and opportunities:
- Building on the state’s positive trend in literacy achievement through the development of a literacy framework and corresponding guidance documents to facilitate teacher knowledge, skill, and implementation of evidence-based literacy practices in Grades 4–8 classroom instruction and intervention;
- Addressing the long-term impact of teacher shortages by bolstering supports for leaders, which includes Orientation for School Leaders (OSLs) credits by revising the Professional Growth System training to place more emphasis on application-based learning and certification, including actionable feedback, performance level calibration, and countering bias. A review of existing courses pointed to the need for improved training that will be required of all new school leaders, which include modules on Strengthening Teams, Strengthening Instruction, and Strengthening Schools;
- Establishing and sustaining high-quality schools for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, disability, or status. This endeavor requires meaningful participation from diverse stakeholders to inform school and district policies that enable students to reach their academic potential. The Community Engagement Councils, also known as P-16 Councils, are community-based independent boards whose task is to build strong and healthy schools and communities; and
- Developing a Community of Practice to develop and deliver supports for newly identified Additional Targeted Supports and Improvement schools based on their students with disabilities that leverages existing expertise between the Office of School Improvement and Office of Special Education and levels of state capacity.