Mississippi School Improvement Grants

The Southeast Comprehensive Center and the Center on Innovation and Improvement are providing Mississippi education leaders with customized support so they can better guide school and district improvement efforts.

A Compass for School Improvement

Since Fall 2010, the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) at SEDL and the Center on Innovation and Improvement (CII) have been providing the Mississippi Department of Education with assistance for School Improvement Grants (SIGs). This assistance includes working with the Mississippi Office of School Recovery to customize Indistar®, a CII Web-based platform, for the state. The customized program, named Mississippi Star, serves as a compass for SIG schools, charting and guiding their progress as they engage in improvement efforts to transform or turn around low school performance.

"Mississippi Star aligns our school improvement plan and other plans in our school around data supported with research— one comprehensive school plan."

—Mississippi SIG team member

Through a variety of technical assistance and professional development activities, SECC and CII staff also assisted the Mississippi Office of School Recovery in assessing the current status of 18 SIG teams throughout the state. Each team was assessed across five sets of indicators: (a) organizational structures, (b) leadership, (c) personnel and professional development, (d) curriculum and instruction, and (e) support systems/strategies. SIG teams prioritized indicators based on this self-assessment. The teams then developed plans for improvement in targeted areas by applying research-based practices aligned to each indicator and accessible within Mississippi Star through Wise Ways®research briefs.

Support for School Improvement Coaches

In addition, SECC and CII staff have provided focused technical assistance and professional development for school improvement coaches. These coaches directly assist school SIG teams in reviewing and reflecting on their progress, encouraging and challenging the teams to remain focused on high levels of professional practice to benefit their students. Through modeling and role-play with SECC and CII staff, school improvement coaches have learned to connect Mississippi Star to SIG leadership team meetings, thereby fostering a culture of candor and transparency centered on their school improvement efforts.

Mississippi state outline and Indistar logo
"Our Transformation Team is having some of the best conversations we have ever had. We have never engaged in such focused, honest discussions. We are talking about things we needed to address."

Mississippi SIG team member