education options

education options2018-04-30T00:04:18-05:00

You have more options than you may think…

Brick & Mortar Public Schools

Compulsory Attendance

Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Students may start kindergarten if they turn five on or before September 1st. A child does not have to enroll in school at age five, but must be six years old on or before September 1st. With the exception of:

  1. Children physically, mentally or emotionally incapable of attending school as determined by the appropriate school official based upon sufficient medical documentation.
  2. Children enrolled in and pursuing a course of special education, remedial education or education for handicapped or physically or mentally disadvantaged children.
  3. Children being educated in a legitimate home instruction program (more information about registering for homeschooling here)

see more >

Required Documentation

Mississippi school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district.

The following legal documents are required for Mississippi students to attend school:

  • Certified copy of the student’s birth certificate
  • Certificate of Immunization issued by the state of Mississippi on Form 121 or Medical Exemption Certificate Form 122
    • Click here to view the immunization requirements
  • Social Security card
  • Report card from student’s previous school
  • Transcripts for students entering 10th–12th grades
  • Two proofs of residency documents (List of proofs of residency accepted: here)

School Fees

Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.

Some typical items on that list include:

  • Lunch
  • Summer school
  • Student parking passes (high school)
  • Lost textbooks
  • Late or lost library books
  • Field trips
  • Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)

Public Charter Schools

What are Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.

Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Mississippi, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke  or refuse to renew a school’s charter.

Mississippi Charter Schools

A list of the Mississippi charter schools can be found at the Authorized Charter Schools!

For help understanding the charter school system visit, Mississippi First.


Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.

Virtual Public Schools

In Mississippi, many children attend school online in virtual classrooms with state certified teachers. Currently there is one Virtual Public School option in Mississippi.

Mississippi Virtual Public School

phone: (443) 529-1000
grades: K–12

Private Schools

What makes a school “private”?

Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 170 private schools across the state:

Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.

*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.

Educational Savings Account

For select students, the state of Mississippi offers educational savings accounts and school vouchers. These programs are designed to give those parents with special needs children the option of withdrawing their child from the public school system and receiving a designated amount of funds to help defray the cost of private school tuition.

Learn more about these scholarship programs at EdChoice.

Private Virtual Schools

George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.

International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum

They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.

International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K-12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.

The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.

The Independent Virtual Academy (TIVA) is a fully accredited MAIS (Mississippi Association of Independent Schools) virtual school offering education resources for full time students (diploma granting program), international students, home-school students, and students enrolled in brick-and-mortar schools (individual courses, credit recovery, ALS). TIVA shares the high academic ideals of the MAIS and is proud to bring the tradition of excellence of our Association to the virtual environment.

The University of Mississippi High School’s mission is to provide students with an accredited quality education in a flexible, online environment. Our dedicated and innovative faculty supports students through a rigorous curriculum that accommodates students of all backgrounds.

Home Education

In Mississippi, parents have the option to educate their children at home, an option known as homeschooling or home education. Parents in Mississippi may choose to homeschool their own children in grades K–12. Parents desiring to homeschool their own children may do so by contacting their school attendance officer for a certificate of enrollment. You will be required to fill out the certificate of enrollment and provide a simple description of the curriculum that you have chosen.

School Attendance Officers can be found here.

The form of the certificate of enrollment shall be prepared by the Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement of the State Department of Education and shall be designed to obtain the following information only:

  1. The name address telephone number and date of birth of the compulsory-school-age child
  2. The name address and telephone number of the parent guardian or custodian of the compulsory-school-age child
  3. A simple description of the type of education the compulsory-school-age child is receiving and if the child is enrolled in a nonpublic school the name and address of the school
  4. The signature of the parent guardian or custodian of the compulsory-school-age child or for any or all compulsory-school-age child or children attending a nonpublic school the signature of the appropriate school official and the date signed

The certificate of enrollment shall be returned to the school attendance officer where the child resides on or before September 15 of each year.

Mississippi Home Educators Association (MHEA)

3646 Henryville Road, Cedarbluff, MS 39741
contact: David Easley
phone: (662) 494-1999

Christian Home Educators Connection (CHEC)

P.O. Box 1115, Clinton, MS 39060
phone: (601) 372-8018

Christian Home Educators of Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg, Petal, Purvis, Oak Grove, Sumrall, and surrounding areas.
contact: Phyllis Chancellor
phone: (601) 818-1677
email: Form / Contact Page

Florence/Richland Homeschool Group

Rankin County and surrounding areas
contact: Ruthie Sheppard or Laura Hedgepeth

Good News Educational Fellowship

2080 Hwy 345, Pontotoc, MS 38863
contact: Colette Stanley
phone: (662) 488-9072

HEARTS Homeschool Support Group

5562 Zero Rd., Meridian, MS 39301
contact: Holly Caldwell or Kelly Carr
phone: (601) 527-4957 or 6019343983

Home Educated And Raised To Serve (HEARTS)

Biloxi, MS
contact: Adita Harrell

Home Educators of Central Mississippi

1108 Post Road, Clinton, MS 39056
contact: Sharon Armstrong
phone: (601) 978-2204
fax: (601) 924-4649

Jackson Metro Homeschool Social (JMHS)

Jackson Metro Area

Magnolia State Home Educators

8904 Live Oak Ave, Ocean Springs, MS 39564
contact: Reagan Collum
phone: (228) 380-0431

Meridian Christian Home Educators

P.O. Box 8462, Meridian MS 39303
contact: Mark and Ramona Powers

Northwest MS Home Educators (NWMHE)

P.O. Box 401
contact: Zuki Ferrell
phone: (662) 292-3247


Olive Branch, MS
contact: Dawn Robinson
phone: (901) 517-2883

Olive Branch Christian Home Educators

Northwest Mississippi
contact: Vicki Nevill
phone: (662) 420-1786

Home School Legal Defense Alliance

visit the HSLDA website >

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

visit the coalition’s website >

Support Groups

Mississippi has many homeschool associations that offer classes, curriculum, advising, sports, clubs, socials and recreation. Check out your local support groups here.

Dual Enrollment

College Credit

Dual enrollment courses are college credit courses. High school students enroll in college courses and earn postsecondary credit upon successful completion of the course. High school credit can also be awarded based on local school policy. Dual enrollment courses can be taught on the college campus, at the student’s high school, or online. The location of the course does not affect its status as a dual enrollment course. Home school students are also eligible for dual enrollment.

Information about Dual Enrollment in Mississippi can be found at The Education Commission of the States.

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