School Improvement Information Center
Mississippi SOARS (Mississippi - Schools Obtaining Academic Results for Success) is a web-based system that allows schools and districts to organize their school improvement efforts by meeting indicators of effective practice through a continuous cycle of assessment, planning, implementation, and progress tracking where focus is clear, responsibilities assigned, and efforts synchronized. The federal turnaround principles and corresponding Mississippi indicators for implementation are pre-loaded into the Mississippi SOARS platform. In addition, the implementation indicators are aligned with research-based strategies from resources such as Wise Ways, Handbook on Effective Implementation of School Improvement Grants, Turnaround Competencies, and What Works Clearinghouse (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/).
Through the online system, schools will build a comprehensive database of information designed to direct their school improvement actions. Specifically, school leadership teams will establish three-year performance goals with interim annual benchmarks for the leading/lagging indicators identified for Priority Schools. At the conclusion of each year, actual progress toward meeting the yearly benchmark is reported, showing the extent that the school met its annual benchmark and providing information to guide the school’s progress toward meeting the three-year goal. The extensive analysis of data elements serves as the core of the school’s comprehensive needs assessment.
All Priority (SIG and Non-SIG) schools are required to utilize this system.
Mississippi SOARS Login
Priority Schools-School Improvement Grants Information Center 1003(g)
The School Improvement Grants (SIG) program is authorized by section 1003(g) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). SIG funds provide an unprecedented opportunity for educators to implement innovative strategies to improve education for academically at-risk students and to close the achievement gap in Title I schools. With the unprecedented funding for school improvement initiatives, comes additional responsibility for schools to demonstrate transparency and accountability to the general public while investing wisely in research based strategies that will strengthen education, drive reforms, and improve results for students.
States are to provide subgrants to local educational agencies for the purpose of improving the quality of instruction and raise the academic achievement of students in the state’s persistently lowest achieving schools. An SEA must ―give priority to the local educational agencies with the lowest-achieving schools that demonstrate:
(A) the greatest need for such funds; and
(B) the strongest commitment to ensuring that funds are used to substantially raise student achievement and meet the goals under school improvement, corrective action, and restructuring.
Under the final requirements published in the Federal Register on October 28, 2010, School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds are to be focused on Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools that commit to implement one of the four intervention models – turnaround, transformation, restart, closure. Funding for the full three years is contingent upon the schools meeting established performance indicators or on a trajectory to do so, as they implement rigorous interventions.
Priority Schools - School Improvement Grants (SIG) 1003(a)
Priority Schools are identified as the lowest- performing five percent of schools in the State. The non-SIG Priority schools receive technical assistance and continuous monitoring services, based on SIG turnaround principles. State and local funds, along with up to 20% of the districts’ Title I, Part A budget and portions of the 1003a set-aside, are leveraged to implement the turnaround principles in the non-SIG funded schools.
All Priority Schools are required to notify the parents of all students enrolled in the school of the Priority designation within 30 days of receiving notification. Each district will establish a community-based pre-kindergarten through higher education council (MS Code 37-18-5(4)) that is representative of a diverse segment of the school’s stakeholders. The council will serve in an advisory capacity in the design, implementation, and monitoring of the school’s transformation plan. Council members, parents, and community members will have access to MS SOARS and the Children’s First annual report of academic progress, school demographics, and other key information.
Criteria for Priority School Status
Priority Schools: Requirements
Leading and Lagging Indicators
Criteria for Exiting Priority School Status