June 28, 2006
The Honorable Hank M. Bounds
Mississippi Department of Education
P. O. Box 771
Jackson, Mississippi 39205-0771
Dear Superintendent Bounds:
I am writing in response to Mississippi's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, the requested changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Mississippi submitted to the Department on June 4, 2006. I am pleased to approve Mississippi's amendments. A summary of the approved amendments is attached to this letter. I am pleased to fully approve Mississippi's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, Mississippi makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, Mississippi must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please note that approval of Mississippi's accountability plan is not also an approval of Mississippi's standards and assessment system.
Please also be aware that approval of Mississippi's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved above, does not indicate that the plan complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
I am confident that Mississippi will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance in your efforts to implement the standards, assessments and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Department staff Abigail Potts (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Grace Ross (email@example.com).
cc: Governor Haley Barbour
Amendments to the Mississippi Accountability Plan
This attachment is a summary of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the Mississippi accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
Creation of a Katrina subgroup (Element 5.1, 5.2)
Revision: Mississippi requests flexibility to create a new AYP subgroup specifically for students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Displaced students will appear only in this new subgroup for NCLB reporting and accountability purposes and not in any other subgroup (even the "all students" subgroup) to which they would usually belong. AMO's and second indicators will not apply for this subgroup in the 2005-2006 school year.
The Secretary granted this waiver and the conditions for approval can be found in the May 27, 2006 letter to Mississippi Department of Education found at http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/letters/.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (Element 5.3)
Revision: Mississippi will use the "proxy method" (Option 1 in our guidance dated May 7, 2005) to take advantage of the Secretary's offer of flexibility regarding determining AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup. Mississippi will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students assessed. For the 2005-06 AYP determinations, this proxy will then be added to the percent of students with disabilities who are proficient. For any school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup, Mississippi will use this adjusted percent proficient to reexamine if the school or district made AYP for the 2005-06 school year.
Participation Rate (10.2)
Revision: Mississippi will consider any student without a significant cognitive disability who is not tested on grade level as a non-participant when computing AYP participation rates.