TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District has earned top grades from its regional accreditation team, but there’s still room for improvement.
A team from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools spent the week in Tupelo, conducting more than 380 separate interviews with district leaders, teachers, students and community members and reviewing volumes of documentation.
The team, which included Mississippi educators from Oxford and Greenville, made its oral report to the Tupelo Board of Trustees on Wednesday. A more detailed written report will come in month.
“We are recommending them at the highest level,” said accreditation team chairwoman Patricia Golding, a veteran educator from Virginia.
The district rated highly functional on the seven standards set by organization, Golding said.
The review team did make three recommendations that the district will deal with as part of its two-year progress report for the five-year accreditation.
“These are suggestions that might make us even stronger,” said Superintendent Randy McCoy.
The team saw a need for more and better use of technology in the classroom and more work to curb its dropout rate. “We’re working on that,” McCoy said.
The team also pointed to inconsistencies among schools at the elementary level, particularly in technology and other programs funded by grants.
“Some of these programs provided by grants are so outstanding, the team thinks we should look at providing them for all schools,” McCoy said.
Among the district’s strengths, as noted by the team, are strong community support, school safety, professional development, recruiting and retention of teachers and national recognition.
It commended work on communications within the district and with the community, transparent decision-making and districtwide alignment of its mission and vision.
The challenge will be keeping the “can-do” Tupelo spirit with the anticipated growth of the district, the team said.
Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1599 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michaela Morris/NEMS Daily Journal