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Schools get first report card under new rating system

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — More school districts achieved higher grades in the first year of Mississippi’s new school rating system, thanks to increased test scores and the suspension of graduation rate requirements for higher-scoring districts.

Districts and schools got letter grades for the first time today. Under a new law, the old seven-step system, running from a high of star to a low of failing, is now to a five-step A-to-F system. The bottom three ranks of the old system — low performing, at risk of failing and failing — all now count as an F.

While in 2011, only 32 of the state’s 152 districts earned what are now counted as As and Bs, this year 50 districts got those marks. And while 70 got what are now Ds and Fs last year, this year only 57 rated that low. The number of C districts fell from 50 to 42.

The three districts rated A are Clinton, Enterprise and Pass Christian. They were star-rated districts in 2011.

The B tier, which had been called high performing, expanded to 47 districts in part because the state Board of Education suspended graduation rate requirements for a year.

Last year, a district had to graduate 75 percent of high schoolers or meet another measure of high school completion to reach that tier. Earning Bs and not Cs because of that change were 10 districts: Petal, Grenada, Itawamba County, Lowndes County, Alcorn County, Lauderdale County, Tupelo, Scott County, George County and Forrest Agricultural High School.

A district where large shares of students are poor or black has a strong probability of performing poorly in the ratings, according to a mathematical analysis by The Associated Press. The average district with an F rating in 2012 had a student body that was 93 percent black, with 91 percent from impoverished homes. Statewide, half of public school students are black and 62 percent are impoverished.

There were 101 districts where the numerical index measuring overall test scores rose. The index was level in 10 districts and fell in 38.

Hinds Agricultural High School, rated F, saw its index fall by 44 points to a paltry 67. That drop was the largest among districts and the 2012 level was the lowest.

Kemper County, rated D, saw its index rise 29 points, the biggest increase in the state. The east Mississippi district fell just short of a C grade despite the jump.

In the eight districts the state has taken over, scores rose. Growing the most were Hazlehurst by 15 points, Indianola by 19 points and Sunflower County by 15 points.

The state is preparing to return Okolona, ranked F, and Hazlehurst, ranked D, to local control.

Here’s how Mississippi’s 152 public school districts are rated under the state’s new system for their 2012 performance, along with how they were rated in 2011 under the old system. Included in parentheses is how they would have rated under an A-to-F system in 2011. Not rated are the Clarksdale, Corinth and Gulfport districts, which used non-standard curricula in 2012 as part of a state-sponsored effort.



Clinton, Star (A)

Enterprise, Star (A)

Pass Christian, Star (A)


Alcorn County, Successful (C)

Amory, High Performing (B)

Bay St. Louis-Waveland, High Performing (B)

Biloxi, High Performing (B)

Booneville, High Performing (B)

Choctaw County, Academic Watch (D)

Clay County, High Performing (B)

DeSoto County, High Performing (B)

Forrest Agricultural, Successful (C)

George County, Successful (C)

Grenada, Successful (C)

Hancock County, Successful (C)

Harrison County, High Performing (B)

Itawamba County, High Performing (B)

Jackson County, High Performing (B)

Jones County, Successful (C)

Kosciusko, High Performing (B)

Lafayette County, Successful (C)

Lamar County, High Performing (B)

Lauderdale County, Successful (C)

Lincoln County, Successful (C)

Long Beach, High Performing (B)

Lowndes County, High Performing (B

Madison County, High Performing (B)

Monroe County, High Performing (B)

New Albany, High Performing (B)

Newton County, High Performing (B)

Ocean Springs, High Performing (B)

Oxford, High Performing (B)

Pascagoula, Successful (C)

Pearl, High Performing (B)

Petal, Star (A)

Pontotoc City, High Performing (B)

Pontotoc County, High Performing (B)

Poplarville, Successful (C)

Prentiss County, Academic Watch (D)

Rankin County, High Performing (B)

Scott County, Successful (C)

Senatobia, Academic Watch (D)

South Delta, Academic Watch (D)

South Tippah, Successful (C)

Stone County, High Performing (B)

Tishomingo County, High Performing (B)

Tupelo, Academic Watch (D)

Union City, High Performing (B)

Union County, High Performing (B)

Webster County, Successful (C)


Benton County, Academic Watch (D)

Calhoun County, Successful (C)

Carroll County, Successful (C)

Chickasaw County, Successful (C)

Columbia, Successful (C)

Copiah County, Successful (C)

Covington County, Academic Watch (D)

East Jasper, Successful (C)

Forrest County, Successful (C)

Franklin County, Successful (C)

Greene County, Academic Watch (D)

Greenwood, Successful (C)

Hattiesburg, Successful (C)

Hinds County, Successful (C)

Hollandale, Academic Watch (D)

Holly Springs, Successful (C)

Jefferson Davis County, Successful (C)

Laurel, Academic Watch (D)

Lee County, Successful (C)

Lumberton, Academic Watch (D)

Marion County, Successful (C)

McComb, Successful (C)

Meridian, Low Performing (F)

Montgomery County, Low Performing (F)

Mound Bayou, Successful (C)

Neshoba County, Successful (C)

Nettleton, Successful (C)

Pearl River County, Successful (C)

Picayune, Academic Watch (D)

Quitman, Academic Watch (D)

Richton, Successful (C)

Simpson County, Academic Watch (D)

Smith County, Academic Watch (D)

South Panola, Academic Watch (D)

South Pike, Low Performing (F)

Starkville, Successful (C)

Sunflower County, Low Performing (F)

Tate County, Successful (C)

Vicksburg-Warren, Academic Watch (D)

West Jasper, Successful (C)

Western Line, Low Performing (F)

Winona, Academic Watch (D)


Amite County, Academic Watch (D)

Attala County, Successful (C)

Baldwyn, Successful (C)

Benoit, Low Performing (F)

Brookhaven, Academic Watch (D)

Cleveland, Academic Watch (D)

Columbus, Academic Watch (D)

East Tallahatchie, Successful (C)

Greenville, Low Performing (F)

Hazlehurst, Academic Watch (D)

Holmes County, Low Performing (F)

Houston, Academic Watch (D)

Indianola, Failing (F)

Jackson City, Academic Watch (D)

Kemper County, Low Performing (F)

Lawrence County, Academic Watch (D)

Leake County, Low Performing (F)

Louisville, Academic Watch (D)

Marshall County, Academic Watch (D)

Moss Point, Low Performing (F)

Newton City, Academic Watch (D)

North Bolivar, Academic Watch (D)

North Panola, Low Performing (F)

North Pike, Successful (C)

North Tippah, Successful (C)

Oktibbeha County, Low Performing (F)

Perry County, Academic Watch (D)

Philadelphia, Successful (C)

Quitman County, Low Performing (F)

Shaw, Academic Watch (D)

Tunica County, Successful (C)

Water Valley, Academic Watch (D)

Wayne County, Successful (C)

West Point, Academic Watch (D)

West Tallahatchie, Academic Watch (D)

Wilkinson County, Low Performing (F)

Yazoo County, Academic Watch (D)


Aberdeen, Academic Watch (D)

Canton, Successful (C)

Claiborne County, Successful (C)

Coahoma Agricultural, Low Performing (F)

Coahoma County, Low Performing (F)

Coffeeville, Low Performing (F)

Drew, Failing (F)

Durant, Academic Watch (D)

Forest City, Academic Watch (D)

Hinds Agricultural, Low Performing (F)

Humphreys County, Low Performing (F)

Jefferson County, Academic Watch (D)

Leflore County, Successful (C)

Leland, Academic Watch (D)

Natchez-Adams, Low Performing (F)

Noxubee County, Academic Watch (D)

Okolona, Low Performing (F)

Walthall County, Low Performing (F)

West Bolivar, Academic Watch (D)

Yazoo City, Low Performing (F)

Not Rated

Clarksdale, Low Performing (F)

Corinth, High Performing (B)

Gulfport, Successful (C)



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