Despite struggling on a whole in the area of public education compared to other U.S. states, there are a number of public school districts in Mississippi that succeed in academics and in preparing graduates for higher learning. In particular, the Magnolia states top five districts are prime examples of excellent school systems.
The best public school district in Mississippi is DeSoto County School District, a large district with an enrollment of 30,000 plus students. The district’s completion rate of 91.1% bests the state average by over 7 percentage points.
Mississippi’s #2 public school district is Madison County School District, headquartered in Ridgeland and serving 20 schools in the Jackson Metropolitan Area. The district is largest to be awarded an “A” rating according to the statewide accountability model.
Based in Brandon, Rankin County School District is #3 on the list. Presiding over 27 schools and with an enrollment topping 19,000, RCSD consistently performs above the state average in every metric, and had 300 students score higher than a 28 on the ACT in 2018.
#4 Oxford School District comprises eight schools serving over 4,000 students and boasts one of the highest graduation rates in the state. Oxford was recently named a District of Innovation by the Mississippi State Board of Education.
The Petal School District, comprising three elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school, is Mississippi’s fifth best school district. Petal High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2007 for its excellent performance.
Top School Districts in Mississippi, 2019
Rank School District County City State
1 Desoto Co School Dist DeSoto County Hernando Mississippi
2 Madison Co School Dist Madison County Ridgeland Mississippi
3 Rankin Co School Dist Rankin County Brandon Mississippi
4 Oxford School District Lafayette County Oxford Mississippi
5 Petal School Dist Forrest County Petal Mississippi
6 Ocean Springs School Dist Jackson County Ocean Springs Mississippi
7 Lamar County School District Lamar County Purvis Mississippi
8 Jackson Co School Dist Jackson County Vancleave Mississippi
9 Booneville School Dist Prentiss County Booneville Mississippi
10 Enterprise School Dist Clarke County Enterprise Mississippi
11 Gulfport School Dist Harrison County Gulfport Mississippi
12 Clinton Public School Dist Hinds County Clinton Mississippi
13 Tupelo Public School Dist Lee County Tupelo Mississippi
14 Biloxi Public School Dist Harrison County Biloxi Mississippi
15 Lowndes Co School Dist Lowndes County Columbus Mississippi
16 Long Beach School Dist Harrison County Long Beach Mississippi
17 Pass Christian Public School Dist Harrison County Pass Christian Mississippi
18 Pascagoula-gautier School District Jackson County Pascagoula Mississippi
19 Harrison Co School Dist Harrison County Gulfport Mississippi
20 Pearl Public School District Rankin County Pearl Mississippi
21 Stone Co School Dist Stone County Wiggins Mississippi
22 Union Co School Dist Union County New Albany Mississippi
23 Bay St Louis Waveland School Dist Hancock County Bay St. Louis Mississippi
24 Monroe Co School Dist Monroe County Amory Mississippi
25 Poplarville Separate School Dist Pearl River County Poplarville Mississippi
The following contributed to the ranking: number of students (K-12), graduation rate, teacher quality, school funding, student to teacher ratio, standardized test results (reading and math; the percentage of students scoring at or above state proficiency level). Data from a total of 10,728 school districts had sufficient values for the variables above.