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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

RankSchool DistrictCountyCityState
1Desoto Co School DistDeSoto CountyHernandoMississippi
2Madison Co School DistMadison CountyRidgelandMississippi
3Rankin Co School DistRankin CountyBrandonMississippi
4Oxford School DistrictLafayette CountyOxfordMississippi
5Petal School DistForrest CountyPetalMississippi
6Ocean Springs School DistJackson CountyOcean SpringsMississippi
7Lamar County School DistrictLamar CountyPurvisMississippi
8Jackson Co School DistJackson CountyVancleaveMississippi
9Booneville School DistPrentiss CountyBoonevilleMississippi
10Enterprise School DistClarke CountyEnterpriseMississippi
11Gulfport School DistHarrison CountyGulfportMississippi
12Clinton Public School DistHinds CountyClintonMississippi
13Tupelo Public School DistLee CountyTupeloMississippi
14Biloxi Public School DistHarrison CountyBiloxiMississippi
15Lowndes Co School DistLowndes CountyColumbusMississippi
16Long Beach School DistHarrison CountyLong BeachMississippi
17Pass Christian Public School DistHarrison CountyPass ChristianMississippi
18Pascagoula-gautier School DistrictJackson CountyPascagoulaMississippi
19Harrison Co School DistHarrison CountyGulfportMississippi
20Pearl Public School DistrictRankin CountyPearlMississippi
21Stone Co School DistStone CountyWigginsMississippi
22Union Co School DistUnion CountyNew AlbanyMississippi
23Bay St Louis Waveland School DistHancock CountyBay St. LouisMississippi
24Monroe Co School DistMonroe CountyAmoryMississippi
25Poplarville Separate School DistPearl River CountyPoplarvilleMississippi

Methodology

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.

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