“A national standard for excellence is needed because that is the standard our students and our state are competing against,” said Dr. Tom Burnham, incoming state superintendent of education. “While recognizing the difference between the old accountability system and these new ratings is important, it is more important for us to rally behind our ‘team’ of students, teachers and administrators and to help them strive for the new goals the State Board of Education has set for our state.”
Thirty-four (4.26 percent) of schools earned “Star” status, while 53 (6.63 percent) ranked as “Failing.” The majority of schools fell in the levels of “Successful” (217, or 27.16 percent) and “Academic Watch” (189, or 23.66 percent).
On the district level, only two districts rated as “Star” while eight came in as “Failing.” Most districts fell in the level of “At-Risk of Failing” (45, or 29.8 percent).
Kristopher Kaase, deputy superintendent for instructional programs, said in addition to using a national benchmark, the new system requires that all students achieve and improve. If one group underachieves, it hurts the school’s and/or district’s ranking. Thus, classroom instruction will need to be more tailor-made and one-on-one.
“Even though the new expectations may seem very high for some schools, I believe our schools are up to the challenge,” Burnham said. “The State of Virginia went through an adjustment in their standards and expectations like this almost 10 years ago. In 2000, just 7 percent of Virginia’s schools met the highest standard; in 2009, nearly 98 percent met that standard.”
The Star schools are (districts are in parenthesis): Nichols Elementary School (Biloxi); Booneville High/Middle School (Booneville); H. Cooper Center of Math and Science School (Cleveland); Sumner Hill Junior High School (Clinton); Corinth High School (Corinth); Center Hill Elementary School (DeSoto County); DeSoto Central Elementary School (DeSoto County); DeSoto Central High School (DeSoto County); Lewisburg Elementary School (DeSoto County); Lewisburg High School (DeSoto County); Pleasant Hill Elementary School (DeSoto County); Enterprise High School (Enterprise); Bayou View Elementary School (Gulfport); D’Iberville Elementary School (Harrison County); North Woolmarket Elementary/Middle School (Harrison County); Davis Magnet School (Jackson); McWillie Elementary School (Jackson); Power APAC School (Jackson); Kosciusko Senior High School (Kosciusko); Sumrall High School (Lamar County); Southeast High School (Lauderdale County); Long Beach Senior High School (Long Beach); Thomas L. Reeves Elementary School (Long Beach); Madison Avenue Upper Elementary School (Madison); Madison Middle School (Madison); Madison Station Elementary School (Madison); Ridgeland High School (Madison); Rosa Scott School (Madison); Pass Chritian High School (Pass Christian); Pass Christian Middle School (Pass Christian); Petal High School (Petal); Brandon High School (Rankin); and, Northwest Rankin High School (Rankin County).
The Failing schools are: Port Gibson High School (Claiborne County); Booker T. Washington School (Clarksdale); George H. Oliver Elementary School (Clarksdale); Heidelberg School (Clarksdale); W.A. Higgins Middle School (Clarksdale); Cohoma County Junior/Senior High School (Coahoma County); Friars Point Elementary School (Coahoma County); Jonestown Elementary School (Coahoma County); Lyon Elementary School (Coahoma County); Crystal Springs Middle School (Copiah County); Carver Middle School (Covington County); Collins High School (Covington County); A.W. James Elementary School (Drew); Drew High School (Drew); Hunter Middle School (Drew); Boyd Elementary School (Greenville); Darling Elementary School (Greenville); Manning Elementary School (Greenville); Hazlehurst Middle School (Hazlehurst); Chambers Middle School (Hollandale); Sanders Elementary School (Hollandale); Holly Springs Junior High School (Holly Springs); J.J. McCain Middle School (Holmes County); J.J. McCain High School (Holmes County); Mileston Elementary School (Holmes County); Williams Sullivan High School (Holmes County); Carver Upper Elementary School (Indianola); Cassie Pennington Junior High School (Indianola); Jefferson Upper Elementary School (Jefferson County); Kemper County High School (Kemper County); West Kemper Elementary School (Kemper County); Mason Elementary School (Laurel); South Leake Elementary School (Leake County); South Leake High School (Leake County); Thomastown Attendance Center (Leake County); Amanda Elzy Elementary School (Leflore County); East Elementary School (Leflore County); Leflore County High School (Leflore County); Kate Griffin Jr. High School (Meridian); Witherspoon Elementary School (Meridian); Kreole Elementary School (Moss Point); Greenhill Elementary School (North Panola); Okolone High School (Oktibbeha County); West Oktibbeha County Elementary School (Oktibbeha County); West Oktibbeha County High School (Oktibbeha County); M.S. Palmer High School (Quitman County); McEvans School (Shaw); Ruleville Central Elementary School (Sunflower County); Ruleville Middle School (Sunflower County); Dexter High School (Walthall County); R.H. Bearden Elementary School (West Tallahatchie); Wilkinson County High School (Wilkinson County); and, McCoy Elementary School (Yazoo City).
The Star districts are Booneville School District and Pass Christian School District.
The Failing districts are Drew School District, Hazlehurst City School District, Indianola School District, Kemper County School District, North Panola School District, Okolona Separate School District and West Tallahatchie School District.