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Learning Leaders Know Their Students:
Jackson, Mississippi -- In September 2001, Mississippi launched the Mississippi Student Information System (MSIS) to track each of the 495,000 public school students from kindergarten through high school. Whether a student stays in one school district or switches schools many times, the student's record moves with them.
MSIS gives education leaders the big picture of the state's progress toward academic goals as well as detailed snapshots of progress in districts, schools and among student groups. This information will enable state and education leaders to create a top education system and a skilled workforce to compete globally for industry and jobs.
"Disaggregating student and school information empowers learning leaders with information to make better decisions," said Dr. Helen Soulé, Director of Educational Technology, Training and Support for the Mississippi Department of Education. "We can track students statewide to give them services they need by shining the light on every school rather than just districts."
Make It So
The web-enabled, Oracle-based system was piloted for 5 months during the 2000-2001 school year to check compatibility and edit forms. An active email listserv and web site enabled participants to share problems and solutions.
"It took a lot of time at first," said Arthur Holmes, Technology Coordinator, West Bolivar School District, where they launched a system in September 2001. "The teachers and secretaries understand that the first half is the hard part. Next year, they will only have to create records for kindergartners and new students from out of state."
To complement the technology side of the solution, Mississippi has also launched a Technology Academy for School Leaders with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Academy uses project-based learning and authentic tasks to train teams of principals and superintendents in methods to improve teaching and supervision.
Learn more about innovation in Mississippi: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us.