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.

SREB profiles summarize each state’s progress on the recommendations through fall 2016. >

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 May 2017, SREB published Benchmarking State Implementation of College- and Career-Readiness Standards: Alignment of Instructional Materialsa regional report on implementation across states, strong state efforts and actions for improvement — plus profiles that describe each state’s efforts in detail, highlight notable actions and offer recommendations for moving forward.

The report highlights Mississippi’s notable efforts in establishing conventions for developing, reviewing and selecting aligned instructional materials.

Technical Assistance

In April 2017, SREB launched a state accountability network with  monthly conference calls 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.


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

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 2016: 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, conducts needs assessments and focus groups to help states plan and evaluate implementation, spotlights inspiring stories of local practice and convenes stakeholders at regional meetings.

    Technical Assistance

    SREB partnered with the Mississippi Department of Education to support implementation of a statewide educator effectiveness strategy. The department deployed trainers to enhance the skills of teacher and administrator evaluators. The department will develop resources for district and school administrators to implement evaluation plans. SREB staff visited the department in September 2017 to help implement the statewide strategy.

    SREB conducted statewide educator focus groups in Mississippi in June 2017.

    In the last 12 months, SREB’s educator effectiveness team provided technical assistance, brokered expertise and provided policy and practice resources to Mississippi state legislators and their staff, state education agency staff, district administrators, principals and teachers.


    A state team from Mississippi attended the SREB Teacher Evaluation meeting, Improving Educator Effectiveness: Lessons Learned, in November 2017. State teams included multiple stakeholders: state agency leaders, teacher association representatives, district superintendents, principals and classroom teachers.

    Department staff attended a regional community of practice meeting following the multi-stakeholder meeting.

    SREB staff presented information to attendees of the SREB Meeting of Legislative and Governors’ Staff in September 2017.

    State lawmakers attended SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council Winter Meeting in December 2016. SREB staff presented information to attendees on teacher preparation and teacher recruitment strategies.

    reports and data

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

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

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

    Student Surveys: A Fresh Look, inMay 2017, covering practical implications for state, district and school leaders seeking to use emerging student survey tools

    Information Request Series, beginning January 2017, with responses to SREB stakeholders’ questions. Topics covered include educator evaluation, teacher certification, and principal recruitment and retention incentives

    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  will meet in 2018 to develop practical and effective statewide recommendations to improve teacher preparation programs.

    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.

    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 2016.

    Throughout 2016-17, legislators, legislative staff and governors’ staff from Mississippi requested assistance on topics including financial aid, education legislation in the region and school finance.


    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.

    SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council meets twice annually, once in the winter and again at the annual Legislative Work Conference. The conference is for legislators designated by their state leadership to attend. Mississippi legislators attended the 2017 Legislative Work Conference and Legislative Advisory Council meetings. >


    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.

    The Mississippi Department of Education created an endorsement to the certificate of teachers who complete training for the courses. 

    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.

    Outstanding Math Ready Teacher
    Devina Williamson of Purvis High School in the Lamar County School District was honored by SREB in July 2016. In addition to teaching the course, she supported others with online follow-up and is becoming an SREB Ready Master Trainer.

    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 14 schools active in 2016-17.

    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 2016-17. SREB delivered 48 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 >

    Learning-Centered Leadership Program

    Works with district, state and university partners to prepare aspiring principals and school leadership teams to lead school reform to ensure that students are ready for college and careers. This program offers training, guidance and technical assistance.

    Nine educators from the Mississippi Department of Education and two school districts in the state attended the LCLP’s Coaching for School Improvement workshop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. >

    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 90 schools.

    Mississippi​ teachers, principals and trainers who participated in training and coaching: 987


    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 2016, approximately 2,100 degree programs were available, 151 institutions participated and nearly 3,300 new students were certified for study.

    Number of Mississippi students who participated in ACM during 2016: 90

    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: 37

    Number of out-of-state students who enrolled in Mississippi programs in 2016-17: 20

    Residents of other states may contract for entry into Mississippi State University in veterinary medicine. This Mississippi institution receives more than $600,000 annually from other SREB states. >

    State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement 

    A nationwide system to open more high-quality distance education offerings for students and ease 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 October 2017, 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 2016-17: 11
    2016 Institute attendees from Mississippi: 15

    Scholars Mississippi has supported since joining in 1993: 68

    Graduates since 1993: 49
    Graduates currently employed: 46
    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. >