October 20, 2011 3:28:00 PM
Last year, Lowndes County School District was considered successful based on its state test scores and other measures.
This year, the district moved up in ranking to high performing, which means the district outperformed averages on the national report card.
Lowndes County schools could be content with improving their accountability label incrementally. Instead, they are aiming for the top, as we think all districts should.
They are reaching for star status, a feat only achieved by four out of 152 school districts across the state this year.
Star districts, which means they are performing well above the national average, are Clinton, Enterprise, Pass Christian and Petal school districts.
Lowndes County schools plan to join them, and we applaud them for their ambition.
Friday, the county school board asked five principals to appear before them and explain why their schools performed poorly on state tests.
(The board oversees nine schools -- three elementary, three middle and three high schools -- in three different communities.)
Moreover, they wanted a plan on how to fix it.
Though Lowndes schools, overall, are considered high performing, West Lowndes Middle is low performing; West Lowndes High is low performing; New Hope Elementary is under academic watch; New Hope Middle is successful, but its quality distribution index fell from 162 to 155; and New Hope High is under academic watch.
Surrounding districts -- Columbus, West Point, Oktibbeha and Noxubee, included -- are struggling to meet state averages, which seems to be a benchmark at least locally. But state averages continue to fall below national averages when compared to the No Child Left Behind Report Card.
So why are we aiming so low?
We should be actively trying to meet or surpass the national average with labels of successful, high performing and star.
We've celebrated our successes at the district and school levels, and we should. Growth means progress.
We commend the teachers, testing coordinators and administrators who've helped their schools and districts make gains over last year. And we, like the Lowndes County School District, expect more. We all should.
Let's follow the example set by Lowndes County schools and continually strive for improvement.
Districts and their status:
Columbus: Academic watch
Lowndes: High performing
Oktibbeha: Low performing
West Point: Academic watch
Clay: High performing
Noxubee: Academic watch
zenreaper commented at 10/20/2011 3:49:00 PM:
How do these statements makes sense?
"Lowndes schools, overall, are considered high performing"
"West Lowndes Middle is low performing; West Lowndes High is low performing; New Hope Elementary is under academic watch; New Hope Middle is successful, but its quality distribution index fell from 162 to 155; and New Hope High is under academic watch."
SO lets do the MATH (maybe that is how they got the FIRST quote, they learned MATH in Lowndes County). There are NINE schools, West Lowndes Elementary, Middle and High, New Hope Elementary, Middle and High, and Caledonia Elementary Middle and High.
Of those nine, FOUR are either low performing or on academic watch. So almost HALF of the schools are performing poorly, how does the DISTRICT get a high performing rating?
1. Possumhaw: Corncobs, critters and Catalpa Creek LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Our View: Council should interview school board candidates in public DISPATCH EDITORIALS
3. Tim Kalich: Open government is good government NATIONAL COLUMNS
4. Voice of the people: Anne Freeze LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
5. Voice of the people: Dianne Rueff LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)