OUR OPINION: Region’s top school scorers improve

The meticulous lesson planning and hard work of advancing in Mississippi’s academic rankings paid off for a record number of Northeast Mississippi school districts and individual schools in official standings released today by the Mississippi Department of Education.

The heartening outcomes for tests – which measure students’ proficiency and advancement and their schools’ performance in categories like graduation rates – cited for special distinction five school districts in the region scoring an A: Amory, Booneville, Pontotoc, Oxford and Corinth.

The five A districts marked the largest number of A school systems in the region since scoring began in its current guise.

The Tupelo Public Schools maintained a B ranking, but significantly Tupelo High School and Lawndale Elementary both scored A, formerly also known as Star status.

Two years ago, the Tupelo schools were ranked Academic Watch, the equivalent of D, and wholly unacceptable as a community standard given the historic expectations Tupelo residents have had for their schools.

All other Tupelo schools scored a B except Milam Elementary, which scored C but was only a point away from a B.

Additional effort, work and higher success rates clearly are required in Tupelo whose school motto, “Where Excellence Is Tradition,” must be validated with an A ranking.

Lee County Public Schools maintained its C ranking from 2012. However, Verona Elementary School, which had been failing last year, scored a C. Plantersville School unfortunately scored an F.

All the other schools in the region scoring A deserve congratulations: Kossuth High, Rienzi Elementary, Amory Middle and Elementary, Booneville High and Anderson Elementary, Corinth High, Tremont Attendance Center, Lafayette High, Hatley High School, New Albany High, Oxford High, Oxford Middle and Della Davidson Elementary, Pontotoc Junior High and D.T. Cox Elementary, Marietta Elementary, New Site High, Pine Grove High, Belmont, Iuka Elementary, Tishomingo County High, and West Union Attendance Center.

Few institutions change more quickly than public schools. Students moving on and new ones arriving in the grade groupings change the academic dynamic to some extent every year, but careful adaptation and consistency in teaching helps overcome changes that otherwise would be obstacles to consistent high achievement.

All the schools scoring A did so in part because of strong parental and community support. Those schools struggling to reach strong, consistent academic performance need parental and community commitment even more.

The strongest competition in every school system is internal challenges; nothing can ever be taken for granted.


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  • charlie

    Instead of sending delegations to Arkansas to study charter schools, why not study Mississippi “A” public schools. Could it be that the repubs just want to give public education money to their cronies?