State education officials this month plan public meetings to unveil a draft of Mississippi’s plan to meet its academic and achievement goals and implement federal laws and grants.

All states are required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to submit such a plan this year. The new administration through Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently revised the original plan states were required to submit, calling the new version a “consolidated plan.”

The new consolidated plan removed some of the reporting requirements for states but added three new requirements. According to the U.S. Department of Education the new requirements require states to provide details on:

• How each state education department will assist schools in meeting goals for English language proficiency and challenging state academic standards.

• How each state education department will award subgrants to schools under the new federal law

• How youth will receive assistance from counselors to advise and prepare for college under the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youths program.

The plans will be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education after submission.

State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright said the Department took into account the feedback it got from meetings held in the fall around the state.

“We thank all the parents, educators and concerned citizens who attended meetings last fall to provide feedback on the information they need to determine if their students and their schools are successful,” Wright said in a press release. “Their thoughts and concerns influenced the comprehensive state plan we plan to submit to the U.S. Department of Education in September.”

The series of meetings will allow residents to provide feedback the state Education Department on the draft plan. The meetings will cover state measures of student success; resources to help parents and communities understand how to help students; methods to track the academic success of students by subgroup; efforts to increase teacher and leader quality; and improvement strategies for underperforming schools.

The deadline for states to submit the plan to the U.S. Department of Education is Sept. 18.

A summary of Mississippi’s draft plan can be found here.

The meetings will be held as follows:

• 6 p.m., June 26, Woodall Advanced Technology Center in Hattiesburg

• 6 p.m., June 27, MDE Auditorium, 2nd floor of the Central High School Building in Jackson

• 6 p.m. June 29, Oxford Conference Center, Oxford


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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.