SREB and Mississippi


SREB and Mississippi

An overview of SREB programs and services and how Mississippi participates in them.

Appropriations from member states support core SREB services. SREB leverages the longstanding commitment of member states to attract external funding for additional programs and services that benefit member states. States may also choose to join targeted networks for additional fees.



Goals for Education | Monitoring State Policies

Monitoring and reporting to assist education leaders and policymakers as they shape public policy. SREB tracks trends and analyzes the progress of all 16 SREB states in each area in the Challenge to Lead 2020 Goals for Education and provides Legislative Reports that detail legislative and budget actions in each state.

SREB’s new Insights data tool allows leaders to explore actions across states, delve into a topic for a deeper understanding, or select a detailed state report.

College and Career Readiness

Intensive work to help states implement essential components of SREB’s recommendations for statewide college and career readiness. These include assessing high school juniors to determine their progress toward the state’s readiness standards — and requiring those who are underprepared to take transitional courses in 12th grade. >

Benchmarking Implementation of College- and Career-Readiness Standards 

Tracks and reports progress on implementation of college- and career-readiness standards and related reforms across states. Based on this research, SREB staff support these states through reports, meetings and technical assistance.

In September 2017, SREB staff presented information on state efforts to redesign state accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act at SREB’s annual Meeting of Legislative and Governors’ Staff. A stakeholder from Mississippi attended. >

Readiness in New State Accountability Systems

SREB’s benchmarking team distilled key elements of SREB states’ accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act into interactive profiles at


In January 2018 SREB published a set of reports on the redesign of state accountability systems. Profiles on each state describe how the state established expectations for increasing college and career readiness and also include the state’s long-term goals, school performance indicators, framework for differentiating school performance, and system of identification and support for struggling shools. An introduction to trends across states offers recommendations for making the new systems effective tools for continuous improvement.

Mississippi’s profile notes the state’s efforts to raise expectations for college and career readiness through its school performance indicators.


SREB staff presented information on state efforts to redesign state accountability systems at SREB’s Annual Meeting in June 2017 and at the Legislative Advisory Council meeting in November 2017. Twelve stakeholders from Mississippi attended.

Technical Assistance

Between April 2017 and January 2018, SREB hosted monthly conference call meetings of a state accountability network, for SREB member states to share ideas and discuss questions about redesigning and implementing state accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Five state education agency leaders from Mississippi participate. >

Career and Technical Education 

State Leaders Forum 

Mississippi attendees at SREB’s State Leaders Forum on policies for high-quality career and technical education in November 2017: 5 >

    Educator Effectiveness

    Advises state and district leaders as they develop strategies to support the professional growth of teachers and principals. SREB serves as a technical advisor to state education agencies, spotlights inspiring stories of local practice and convenes stakeholders at regional meetings.

    Technical Assistance

    SREB supported the development and implementation of Mississippi’s educator effectiveness strategy by funding evaluator training, a validation study of evaluation instruments and the creation of a statewide educator evaluation data system. SREB staff observed an evaluator training session and met with state department staff in September 2017.

    SREB conducted statewide educator focus groups in June 2017. SREB staff met with state department staff in Jackson for two days in November 2017 to advise them on the development of their teacher evaluation system. SREB conducted focus groups with district administrators, principals and teachers. SREB produced a report for state department staff that shared site visit and focus group findings, as well as recommendations for improving the implementation of the state’s educator effectiveness strategy.


    The state department sent representatives to SREB’s Sixth Annual Educator Effectiveness Convening in April 2018. They participated in collaborative working sessions with peers from 12 SREB states.

    SREB staff presented on innovative ways to expand student access to high-quality instruction to state lawmakers who attended SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council Winter Meeting in November 2017.

    A state team from Mississippi attended SREB’s teacher evaluation meeting, Improving Educator Effectiveness: Lessons Learned, in November 2017. Multiple stakeholder groups attended, including state agency leaders, teacher association representatives, district superintendents, principals and classroom teachers.

    Department staff attended a regional meeting with their state agency peers from other SREB states in November 2017 following SREB’s teacher evaluation meeting. State department staff in charge of educator development issues met to discuss shared problems of practice in four areas: equitable access to effective teaching, leadership development, professional learning, and teacher voice.

    SREB staff presented on teacher shortages at the SREB Meeting of Legislative and Governors’ Staff in September 2017.

    reports and data

    SREB produced the following resources for Mississippi leaders during the last 12 months:

    School Is My Happy Place, May 2018, which showcases the innovative strategies used to develop a positive school culture at an elementary school in central Florida.

    Mentoring New Teachers: A Fresh Look, January 2018, which proposes three action areas for states, districts and schools to support the development of novice educators and their mentors.

    Evaluator Training: A Guide for States, September 2017, which spotlights seven components associated with effective training for observers of teachers.

    Feedback on Teaching: A Fresh Look, July 2017, which features strategies for district and school leaders to establish and sustain better feedback practices.

    Information Request Series, shares SREB responses to stakeholder questions on topics including educator evaluation, teacher certification, and principal recruitment and retention issues.

    Educator Effectiveness Bill Tracker interactive tool, updated weekly to allow constituents to track legislative bills across eight areas, including teacher preparation, evaluation and professional learning.

    A bi-weekly educator effectiveness e-newsletter >

    Teacher Preparation

    SREB’s Teacher Preparation Commission met during 2016, 2017 and 2018 and will publish its final recommendations to improve teacher preparation programs in late 2018.

    The Commission published its first report, More than the Numbers: Teacher Preparation Data Systems State Policy and Recommendations, in September 2017. 

    Postsecondary Education


    SREB’s Commission on College Affordability in the South recommended policies and practices to keep college costs within reach of all students. In addition to the Commission’s report, policymakers can draw on updated regional and individual state affordability profiles to understand how costs impact families at different income levels, and on the Promising State Policies and Practices report featuring cost reduction strategies.

    In April 2018, SREB collaborated with the Association of Community College Trustees and its Governance Institute for Student Success, which convened trustees, community college presidents and senior staff, and state postsecondary agency staff from Mississippi and three other SREB states. Among the topics discussed were the boards’ role in state policy development, the changing world of work and learning, high-impact policies and practices, and engaging partnerships and collaborations.

    A representative from the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning participated in a meeting on accreditation issues coordinated by SREB with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

    A Mississippi legislator and legislative staff participated in an institute on postsecondary education convened in November 2018 through a collaboration of SREB, the National Conference of State Legislatures and other regional compacts.

    SREB convened state higher education agency academic officers in October 2017 to discuss factors that impact college affordability. Attendees learned from each other about new policies for tuition, fees, financial aid, transfer, textbook costs, online courses, collaboration with K-12, readiness and serving returning adults. A representative from the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning participated.

    High School Graduate Projections

    Mississippi registrants participated in a February 2017 webinar SREB co-hosted with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education on WICHE’s Knocking at the College Door projections of high school graduates. Jean Massey, Mississippi Department of Education associate superintendent, was a speaker.

    State Services

    Connects policymakers with custom information, presentations and assistance on education issues as they arise. Leaders in member states are encouraged to contact SREB for data, analysis and advice.

    SREB staff visited Mississippi to meet with legislators and staff and attend committee meetings in 2018.


    Mississippi staff were among those from 10 SREB states at the 2017 meeting of SREB state legislative and governors’ staff to discuss topics that will likely be on agendas during upcoming legislative sessions.

    Mississippi legislators were among those in attendance at the 2017 meetings of SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council and Legislative Work Conference. >


    Curriculum and School Improvement

    Advanced Career

    A new approach to career and technical education that combines college-readiness academics with hands-on, project-based assignments focused on modern careers. Advanced Career helps prepare students for as many options as possible after high school: a high-value job, college, community college or technical school. 

    Mississippi participation in AC programs, 2017-18:

    Energy and Power: 1 school

    Health Informatics: 1 school

    Teachers trained: 2 >

    Readiness Courses:
    Math Ready and Literacy Ready

    Courses specifically designed to help underprepared students succeed in the next phase of their education. 

    Ready for college

    Courses to teach young adults the reading, writing and math skills they must have to succeed in college. They are taught in an engaging way that leads students to learn and think independently, read for information and solve problems.

    Mississippi trained over 150 teachers in SREB’s Readiness Courses in 2017. Over 80 high schools have implemented Literacy Ready and Math Ready to date.

    President’s Trailblazer Award
    Marla Davis and Jean Massey of the Mississippi Department of Education were honored in July 2017 for the state’s adoption of the courses. 

    Outstanding Literacy Ready Teacher
    Mary Zluticky of Horn Lake High School won a July 2017 award for her work with the courses. “Students who look Literacy Ready learned to work harder,” she said.

    SREB compared ACT scores of about 550 students in Mississippi and Arkansas to their scores before they took the courses. At Horn Lake High School in Mississippi, seven of the 12 Literacy Ready students improved their ACT English scores, and eight of the 12 improved their reading, science and composite scores. The typical increase was more than 3 points in English and reading, more than 4 points in science, and more than 2 points on the composite score. 

    Ready for high school

    New courses for the transition from middle grades to high school. Underprepared students take the classes in eighth or ninth grade.

    Over 50 teachers were trained in the Ready for High School courses in literacy and math in 2017 with selected high schools piloting the courses in the 2017-18 school year. >

    High Schools That Work

    The nation’s largest school improvement program. HSTW strategies transform high schools into places where all students master complex academic and technical concepts. More than 1,150 schools in 30 states use the framework, its six design features and nine key practices, to raise student achievement and graduation rates.

    HSTW State Network

    Member states select schools to receive services. The fee for state membership in the consortium covers several services and visits.

    Mississippi is a member of the High Schools That Work state network, with 12 schools active in 2017-18.

    HSTW Board Member: Jean Massey, Associate Superintendent, Vocational Education and Workforce Development, Mississippi Department of Education

    Contracts for Direct Support

    Schools, districts and states contract with SREB for targeted school improvement services such as on-site coaching, technical assistance and professional development. 

    Eleven Mississippi schools contracted for direct services in 2017-18. SREB delivered 52 days of on-site coaching and 10 days of on-site staff development at the schools. >

    Making Middle Grades Work

    Engages state, district and school leaders in partnerships with teachers, students, parents and the community to raise student achievement in the middle grades. In addition to workshops and school visits, SREB links schools to the professional development resources they need. The network includes over 650 schools in 20 states.

    Mississippi is a member of the Making Middle Grades Work network, with three active schools in 2016-17. >


    Professional Development
    For Teachers, Principals and Counselors

    College- and Career-Readiness Standards Networking Conference

    Conference to share effective instructional strategies of the Literacy and Mathematics Design Collaborative frameworks. 

    Mississippi attendees at the July 2017 conference: 49 >

    High Schools That Work Staff Development Conference

    Annual conference for thousands of school leaders, teachers and counselors from middle grades, high schools and technology centers across the country.

    Mississippi attendees at the July 2017 conference: 52 >

    Literacy and Math Professional Development

    SREB is partnering with states on a large-scale effort to help districts and schools adopt, spread and sustain effective literacy and math teaching strategies to meet their state’s college- and career-readiness standards.

    The Literacy Design Collaborative framework empowers language arts, science and social studies teachers to build meaningful assignments aligned to their state’s college- and career-readiness standards. Teachers take ownership of their professional growth, and students take ownership of their learning.  

    The Mathematics Design Collaborative teaching framework uses formative assessment lessons — part assessment, part instruction — to help teachers know whether their students understand material they have been taught. Teachers learn to adapt assignments and engage students so they understand the hows and whys of math.

    During the 2017-18 school year, this SREB professional development reached Mississippi educators in 93 schools.

    Mississippi​ teachers, principals and trainers who participated in training and coaching: 1,350


    In July 2017Rankin County School District won the Outstanding LDC-MDC District Award. Nick Thomas of Rankin County’s Brandon Middle School was honored with the Outstanding LDC Teacher Award.

    In July 2016, Sheri Blankenship of Rankin County School District won the Outstanding LDC Local Trainer Award. Mendenhall Junior High School in the Simpson County School District was honored with the Outstanding LDC-MDC School Award.

    “Since I began LDC training, my planning has become more focused, aligned and clear. This liberates me to be the facilitator in my classroom.”  — Sheri Blankenship, instructional coach with Rankin County School District in Brandon >

    Teaching to Lead

    Helps states redesign programs that prepare business professionals to become career and technical education teachers through an alternative certification route. New CTE teachers gain knowledge and skills to manage a classroom of diverse students; plan challenging, work-related assignments; motivate students to complete assignments; and assess student progress.

    “It is imperative for these new teachers to receive some type of training to prepare them for the rigors of the classroom. The ‘teacher bootcamp’ training helps them understand classroom management and instructional strategies that are essential.” – Mississippi school administrator

    Mississippi adopted the curriculum. The Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University leads the professional development with support from the Mississippi Office of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development.

    All new CTE teachers who do not have a Mississippi teaching degree or teaching license are required to participate in the Teaching to Lead professional development within a three-year period, and are strongly encouraged to participate the first year if hiring dates allow.

    “The ability to network with other CTE instructors who are experiencing similar issues has provided our new instructors with a new perspective and a renewed sense of purpose.” — Mississippi administrator

    Number of new Mississippi CTE teachers participating:

    • 74 in the 2014-15 school year
    • 108 in the 2015-16 school year
    • 86 in the 2016-17 school year
    • 95 in the 2017-18 school year


    Postsecondary Education

    Academic Common Market

    A tuition-savings program for college students in SREB member states who want to pursue degrees not offered by in-state institutions. Students can enroll in out-of-state institutions that offer their degree program and pay the in-state tuition rates.

    During calendar year 2017, 2,130 degree programs were available, 152 institutions participated and 3,355 new students were certified for study.

    In 2017, 64 Mississippi students participated in Academic Common Market, saving, on average, $13,621 each and a collective total of $871,720 in tuition.

    ACM State Representative: Gloria Miller, Director of Student Services, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning >

    Regional Contract Program

    Gives students the opportunity to earn a professional health degree from participating institutions in other states through in-state tuition rates at public institutions or reduced tuition at private institutions. More than 600 students participate each year.

    Participating students from Mississippi in 2017-18: 32

    Number of out-of-state students who enrolled in Mississippi programs in 2017-18: 20

    Residents of other states may contract for entry into Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. For the 2017-18 year, Mississippi State University received more than $652,000 from other SREB states. >

    State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement 

    A nationwide system to open more high-quality distance education offerings for students and ease the regulatory burden on institutions. SREB member states may opt in to offer distance education activities in other SARA states. 

    Mississippi is an approved member of SARA.

    Mississippi SARA representative: Menia Dykes, Director of Accreditation, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning >

    Fact Book and Data Exchange

    Publishes one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of comparative data through a cooperative effort of state postsecondary education agencies. Data are updated annually on topics including population demographics, college completion, tuition and fees, cost of attendance, state appropriations and faculty salaries. 

    Mississippi leaders receive the SREB Fact Book on Higher Education, as well as Mississippi: Featured Facts From the SREB Fact Book on Higher Education and the annual SREB-State Data Exchange tables.

    Mississippi’s participating agencies and their SREB-State Data Exchange coordinators: Mitzi Gendron, Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning
    Raul Fletes, Mississippi Community College Board >

    Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing

    Helps expand and strengthen schools of nursing to reduce the critical shortage of nurse educators needed to educate the nation’s registered nurses. The Council surveys institutions for nursing education trends and shares online graduate nursing courses.

    As of April 2018, nine Mississippi institutions are members, listed here with their representatives to the Council:

    Alcorn State University: Debra Spring, Dean
    Delta State University: Vicki Bingham, Dean 
    Hinds Community College: Elizabeth Mahaffey, Dean
    Jones County Junior College: Erin Knight, Chair
    Mississippi University for Women: Sheila Adams, Dean
    Pearl River Community College: Arlene Jones, Director
    University of Mississippi Medical Center: Kim Hoover, Dean
    University of Southern Mississippi: Kathleen Masters, Dean
    William Carey University: Karen Sicard, Dean >

    Doctoral Scholars Program

    Supports minority students to help them earn Ph.D.s, begin careers at colleges and universities, and diversify campus faculties. The SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program hosts the annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, the nation’s largest gathering of minority doctoral scholars, with more than 1,200 attendees.

    Scholars funded by Mississippi in 2017-8: 10
    2017 Institute attendees from Mississippi: 8

    Scholars Mississippi has supported since joining in 1993: 69

    Graduates since 1993: 51
    Graduates currently employed: 47
    Percent employed in education: 83

    Mississippi-supported Ph.D. students have attended these institutions since 1993:

    Jackson State University
    Louisiana State University
    Mississippi State University
    University of Mississippi
    University of Mississippi Medical Center
    University of Southern Mississippi
    University of Tennessee – Knoxville >


    Interstate Cooperatives

    Go Alliance

    An interstate cooperative to increase high school graduation rates, access to education beyond high school, and postsecondary degree completion — particularly for those who would be the first in their families to enroll. Go Alliance research, services and professional development focus on college access policy and communications strategies to motivate students to plan for and apply to college.

    Mississippi is a Go Alliance member state.

    Go Alliance Representative: Heather Morrison, P-20 Projects Director, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning >

    Educational Technology Cooperative

    Membership group of state K-12 and higher education coordinating and governing boards that represent more than 800 colleges and universities and 3,100 school districts in SREB states. The ETC focuses member agencies and state policymakers on using technology wisely, helps states understand technology issues, and forms an action agenda for effectively using technology in their education. 

    Mississippi representatives attended the spring and summer webinars. Mississippi sent two attendees to the 2017 annual meeting on teaching and technology.

    Mississippi ETC representatives helped determine SREB’s 10 Critical Issues in Educational Technology and served on the working groups for revisions. Eric Atchison of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning served as the team leader for the policy and compliance working group. Atchison also serves on the ETC executive committee, representing higher education.

    Eric Atchison represented higher education technology interests at the Personalized Learning Regional Meeting in May 2017. State teams attended the meeting to learn more about personalized learning so they could determine how to develop a comprehensive and sustainable effort to support it in their states.

    Mississippi ETC Representatives: Eric Atchison, Director of System Analysis, Research and Enrollment Management, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning

    Ray Smith, Assistant Executive Director of Technology, Mississippi Community College Board >

    Technology Purchasing Savings

    Schools, universities and agencies in SREB states saved $3.3 million on more than $33 million in technology purchases during fiscal year 2017 — double the FY2016 savings — through SREB’s participation in MHECtech discount agreements. Organizations in each of the 16 SREB states participated.

    Mississippi saved $131,463 on $1,329,238​ in technology purchases in fiscal year 2017. >