Office of School Improvement (Schools At-Risk Services)
The Office of School Improvement is responsible for the implementation of state legislation regarding low performing schools (MS Code § 37-18-1 through 7). Mississippi Code 37-18-1, 3, 5, and 7, originally enacted by Senate Bill 2488 of the 2000 Regular Session, calls for the evaluation of “Schools At-Risk”. These schools are evaluated by a team of trained practicing and retired educators tasked with assessing school effectiveness to identify possible areas of weakness within the school and/or system that could be contributing to the low performance of students. Evaluation teams are equipped with instruments designed to evaluate the areas of: Leadership, Curriculum and Assessment, Delivery of Instruction, and School Climate. Identified weaknesses and recommendations are then processed in a report that is presented to school/district personnel and the community so that a plan for improvement can be cooperatively designed and implemented.
MDE personnel will provide assistance to the contracted evaluation teams to conduct the on-site evaluations in identified schools. This includes but is not limited to:
- Assisting with preparation for the Evaluation Team site visit;
- Providing technical assistance to school and district personnel before, during, and after the evaluation team visit;
- Assisting in the development of School Improvement Action Plans and Individual Personnel Improvement Plans;
- Conducting community meetings and assisting with the recruitment and development of the local Community Advisory (P16) Council at each school site; and,
- Providing overall support to schools identified as Schools At-Risk as well as their associated school district.
- Assisting the team members, as well as local school and district personnel, in facilitating the evaluation process;
Specific Technical Assistance to Schools At-Risk
A Technical Assistance Specialist from the Office of School Improvement, as well as a team of at least three (3) members, is assigned to each school to aid the school and district personnel by:
- Assisting in the development and implementation of each Action Plan by focusing on three (3) to five (5) targeted areas identified by the evaluation process;
- Assist principals/leadership teams with monthly status reports on the implementation of the Action Plans to the local school board and community; and,
- Assisting in finding relevant professional development and/or mentors for personnel placed on individual improvement plans.