Tupelo, Lee County districts see mixed results

Results from the 2009 test scores show that the biggest gains inside Lee County went to Verona and Plantersville schools.
Even though the two schools are still below state averages, they saw double-digit gains in several measures on the Mississippi Curriculum Test, second edition.
“They’ve seen tremendous gains,” said Kathy Mask, curriculum supervisor for Lee County Schools. “They’ve worked very hard – teachers, administrators and students.”
Verona improved on three of the four tests its students took last spring, including almost doubling the fourth-grade language score.
Plantersville improved on eight of 10 tests its students took, with a doubling of its fifth-grade language score.
Tupelo Public School District had bright spots, but saw its scores slip overall.
“It’s an issue of inconsistency,” said David Meadows, former deputy superintendent who now works as a consultant.
Pierce Street Elementary third-graders had the third best performance on the language test in the region. Rankin had a significant drop in third-grade math from 2008 to 2009 tests, but still was in the regional top 10.
Seventh-grade math and language scores were down slightly at Tupelo Middle School, but eighth graders had significant gains in language and math, putting them above the state average.
The district did see encouraging trends in moving students up from the minimal level to basic level on many tests, said Assistant Superintendent Fred Hill. Tracking the same group of students, district officials saw some gains over two years.
The district has reconfigured its results so that teachers in reorganized elementary schools can see how their students are doing, Hill said. The district also has given teachers their data so they can look for patterns.
“Setbacks are going to happen,” Hill said. “The key is how are we going to respond as a district” and teachers and principals have been very responsive.
Mooreville Schools and Guntown Middle School saw solid gains on their test scores, too.
“I’m pleased overall because most of our schools did make progress,” Lee County Schools Testing Coordinator Becky Hendrix said. “But we always have a few concerns. It reinforces where we need to work.”
Saltillo Elementary gained on some measures, but lost ground on others. This year, the district has added more academic coaches and intervention assistants to assist teachers at Saltillo, said Superintendent Mike Scott.
Shannon Schools had lower scores in many measures, but eight-grade math scores did see a gain.
“We did have a significant gain in pre-Algebra at Shannon,” Mask said.

Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1599 or michaela.morris@djournal.com.

On the net: Mississippi Department of Education scores, Click here for scores.

Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio