The Vicksburg Daily News was able to confirm the Vicksburg Warren County School District lost its accreditation as a “District of Innovation.” However, River City Early College has maintained its status as a School of Innovation.
According to the Mississippi Department of Education’s website, “Districts of Innovation and Schools of Innovation can request exemptions from regulatory areas. Section 2 of the District of Innovation legislation allows for certain exemptions and waivers from standard requirements. This added flexibility offers easier implementation of innovative programs, provided the exemptions and waivers do not violate federal regulations and are approved by the State Board of Education.”
It goes on to note that state assessment requirements are not eligible for waivers.
In 2016 the Mississippi Department of Education approved the entire Vicksburg Warren School District to be a “District of Innovation.”
A request for information on the failure of the district to maintain it’s status as a District of Innovation was met with this response from Christi Kilroy, “MDE’s Office of Innovation approved River City Early College High School as a School of Innovation through the District of Innovation/School of Innovation application process.”
Kilroy offered no explanation why the District designation was removed.
The district was one of the first three innovation districts approved and was much ballyhooed by local school leaders, including Superintendent Chad Shealy.
According to credible sources, RCEC is a program, not a school by district standards, but was still named a school of innovation. The Vicksburg Daily News will continue to seek clarification from Kilroy on that issue.