Thursday, September 29, 2005

County schools show progress

Accountability results recently released show that five of the seven schools in the Marshall County School District were rated as “successful.”

This is in conjunction with the Mississippi Department of Education’s Achievement and Growth Models. The district was rated as “accredited” by MDE’s model for school districts, which is the highest possible rating.

As reported earlier, test results released in early August showed significant gains from previous years. Achievement levels for all schools at almost every grade level were higher than they have been since the inception of the No Child Left Behind accountability standards.

“These results demonstrated that our students are achieving quality instruction for which we can all be proud,” said Don Randolph, superintendent of the Marshall County School District, “and we have administrators and teachers who care deeply about their students, students who took responsibility for their learning, and we have school board members, parents and community leaders who were actively involved in supporting our public schools.

“It took everyone working together to show such significant gains over a one-year period. We’re extremely pleased with the effort that was put forth. We will continue to push forward during this school year.”

Two schools, H.W. Byers Elementary School and Henry School, were classified as Level 2 schools.

“We were disappointed that these two schools were not rated by the model as ‘successful,’ said Jerry Moore, instructional services director for the county school district. “Henry School showed the largest amount of growth in the district and moved achievement levels for students from a lower tier Level 2 school to a higher tier Level 2 school.

“Henry only missed being a Level 3 school by five one-hundredths of a point. We were pleased with Henry’s performance and feel assured that they will be able to move up a level next year simply by performing in the manner in which they performed this year.”

H.W. Byers Elementary was also rated a Level 2, but was at somewhat of a disadvantage due to the fact that it had no baseline set for growth comparisons. The reason for this, Moore explained, was that H.W. Byers Attendance Center was split into two separate schools by MDE during the previous school year, and the elementary school was slated as a newly created school. The school’s testing results set a baseline, which means it will have a growth comparison for the upcoming school year. Byers Elementary had no problem meeting AYP in Math and Reading/Language Arts under the USDE model of accountability.

All schools in the district met Adequate Yearly Progress in Reading/Language Arts, Math and Attendance/Graduation Rates under the USDE’s Accountability Model except one school in the area of math. District officials note that they will be implementing some type of remedial plan to address the problem in that one area throughout the school year.

“One thing were were overly excited about,” Moore said, “was the fact that H.W. Byers High School and Galena School moved from a Level 2 status to a Level 3 status and met their AYP in all academic areas. It was a great accomplishment for these two schools to join Byhalia High School, Potts Camp School and Mary Reid School in being rated as ‘successful’ schools by both the USDE and the Mississippi Department of Education.”

Randolph said, “We are very proud of our test scores this year. This year’s scores are a significant improvement over last year’s scores. We would just like to thank everyone for supporting us, and we request everyone’s continued support as we attempt to provide a premier education for the students of this county.”

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