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Mississippi Policy Profile

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Mississippi

Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards

Teaching Standards

Is working with and meeting the needs of students with disabilities addressed in state teaching standards?

The Mississippi Teacher Performance Standards are designed to provide a shared and focused understanding of the priorities, values, and expectations of Mississippi teachers in their work of educating students. Standard 2 sets the expectation that teachers plan lessons that meet the diversity of students’ backgrounds, cultures, skills, learning levels, language proficiencies, interests, and special needs.

Source: Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi Statewide Teacher Appraisal Rubric – M-STAR

School Leadership Standards

Is knowledge of working with students with disabilities included in leader standards?

The Mississippi Standards and Indicators for Principals do not specifically require that principals have knowledge of working with students with disabilities. However, the Standards require “effective principals” to “help ensure that all students reach ambitious targets of performance.”

Source: Mississippi Department of Education, Standards and Indicators for Principals


Teacher and Principal Preparation

Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners

Standard six of the Minimum Teacher Education Standards requires teacher candidates to complete specific programs of study:

  • K-3 and K-6 or K-6 with 4-8 subject area teacher candidate shall be required to complete an interdisciplinary program of study, which shall include 3-semester hours of coursework in special education.
  • 7-12 subject area teacher candidates must have a major in a content area licensed by the state and complete a program of study, which shall include 3-semester hours of coursework in special education.

Source: IHL Policies and Bylaws 506.0301 —Minimum Teacher Education Standards

Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations

Standard 4 of Mississippi’s Minimum Teacher Education Standards state that, “Prior to completing a teacher education program, students shall have successfully completed a minimum 12 weeks (60 working days), full-day student teaching experience.” The policy, however, does not specifically require that candidates have clinical time in diverse setting or in teaching special populations.

Source: IHL Policies and Bylaws 506.0301 —Minimum Teacher Education Standards

Teacher Preparation – Accountability

Quality of teacher preparation programs

Mississippi collects some program-specific, objective data that reflect teacher preparation program performance, including job-satisfaction surveys rating the job performance of all first-year teachers. But the state has not established minimum performance standards for the data it collects, and these data are not collected for alternate route programs.

Section 37-3-2 of the Mississippi Code authorizes the Certification Commission and State Board of Education to approve all teacher preparation programs for any state education license.

Sources:

National Council on Teacher Quality, 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation in Mississippi

Mississippi Department of Education, Preparation

Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Require course work in leading a school/district that serves students with disabilities/diverse learners

State bylaw (506.02) requires preparation institution to assure that its graduates (principal candidates) have completed a principal preparation program accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Standard four of the NCATE Unit Standards requires that the preparation program designs, implements, and evaluates curriculum and provides experiences for candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Targets for this standard include:

  • Candidates learn to contextualize teaching and draw effectively on representations from the students’ own experiences and cultures. They challenge students toward cognitive complexity and engage all students, including English language learners and students with exceptionalities, through instructional conversation. (4.a)
  • Candidates in conventional and distance learning programs interact with professional education faculty, faculty in other units, and school faculty from a broad range of diverse groups. Higher education and school faculty with whom candidates work throughout their preparation program are knowledgeable about and sensitive to preparing candidates to work with diverse students, including students with exceptionalities. (4.b)

Sources:

IHL Policies and Bylaws, 506.02 Quality Assurance Policy for Beginning Principals

NCATE Unit Standards

Principal Preparation – Accountability

Are programs reviewed based on outcomes of graduates’ success? Can school principals be linked back to institutions of higher education and preparation programs?

Within the first two years after graduation, the university is required to provide additional training to any graduate who is employed as a building principal/assistant principal and is judged by the employing Mississippi school district and the university school district liaison to need additional training to be an effective principal/assistant principal. The additional training will be provided at no cost to the principal/assistant principal or to the school district. This training will consist of an individualized plan with specified leadership outcomes agreed upon between the school district and the university.

The Quality Assurance Policy does not apply in situations where the principal/assistant principal has been given an unreasonable number of assignments, or when other contextual arrangements exist which conflict with the idea of minimal and necessary support for beginning principal/assistant principals.

Source: IHL Policies and Bylaws, 506.02 Quality Assurance Policy for Beginning Principals


Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure

Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?

Mississippi offers a K-12 and grade-specific certification in addition to a K-8 special education endorsement that can be added to an elementary license. An elementary subject-matter test is required for an elementary special education license.

Sources:

National Council on Teacher Quality, 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation in Mississippi

Mississippi Department of Education, Certification for Special Education

Teacher Certification – Examination

Does the state require teachers to pass a basic skills exam for initial certification? What are the pass rates on the exams? Does the state require Praxis II or more pedagogical assessment for licensure? Does it include anything about teaching diverse learners or special populations?

Beginning teachers in all content areas must pass all three Praxis I specifically for admission into a teacher education program. Praxis II is required for specific licensure areas. Teacher education program graduates for all content areas must pass the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test that most closely matches the grade levels of the license sought.

Source: ETS, Mississippi Test Requirements

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?

Mississippi does not offer a multi-tiered licensure system. As such, there are no specific license requirements for working with special student populations.

Source: Mississippi Department of Education, Licensure

Principal Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is prior teaching experience required to become a principal and/or a superintendent? Is specific coursework or other evidence required around working with special populations?

The state of Mississippi requires school leaders to obtain a master’s degree, have prior teaching experience, complete a state-approved preparation program, and pass a test.

Principals: A 2013 state law rescinded prior state principal certification requirements. Under current law, local school boards must approve the superintendent’s recommended candidates for principal and vice principal positions “unless good reason to the contrary exists.”

Superintendents: Candidates must be eligible to hold a valid Class AA administrator’s certificate issued by the State Department of Education and have had not less than four years of classroom or administrative experience.

Sources:

2013 Mississippi Code, 37-9-15 and 37-9-13

ECS, Administrator License Requirements, Portability, Waivers and Alternative Certification

George W. Bush Institute, Operating in the Dark


Teacher and Principal Induction

Teacher Induction

Is mentoring required for all new teachers and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically address teaching diverse learners?

The state does not require all new teachers to receive induction support. However, the Beginning Teacher Support Program, established by the Mississippi Teacher Center of the State Department of Education, provides teacher mentoring to first-year teachers in participating school districts. Two or more districts may jointly operate the program and districts also may partner with institutions of higher education to support the design, implementation and evaluation of mentor programs.

Sources:

New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

Mississippi Code, 37-9-205, Beginning Teacher Support Program

Principal Induction

Is coaching/mentoring required for all new principals/administrators/ superintendents and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically serving diverse learners?

The state does not require new school administrators to receive induction support. A 1999 state law established the Beginning Principal Support Pilot Program “to provide eligible beginning principals in this state with continued and sustained support from a formally assigned mentor principal during the first full year of principal service.” The program was never extended statewide as envisioned by statute. [Mississippi Code § 37-9-251]

Sources:

New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

Mississippi Code, 37-9-251, Beginning Principal Support Pilot Program


Teacher and Principal Professional Development Standards

Teacher Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for teacher PD?

In 2012, the Commission on School Accreditation approved the adoption of the Professional Learning Standards developed by Learning Forward. These standards outline the characteristics of professional learning that leads to effective teaching practices, supportive leadership, and improved student results. Additionally, the standards guide the design, implementation, and evaluation of professional learning, and allow for consistent, statewide implementation of a professional learning system. These standards apply to the professional development of all educators where “educators” are all members of the education workforce.

Sources:

Learning Forward

Mississippi Department of Education, Standards for Professional Learning

Principal Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?

In 2012, the Commission on School Accreditation approved the adoption of the Professional Learning Standards developed by Learning Forward. These standards outline the characteristics of professional learning that leads to effective teaching practices, supportive leadership, and improved student results. Additionally, the standards guide the design, implementation, and evaluation of professional learning, and allow for consistent, statewide implementation of a professional learning system. These standards apply to the professional development of all educators where “educators” are all members of the education workforce.

Sources:

Learning Forward

Mississippi Department of Education, Standards for Professional Learning