Thursday, September 16, 2010
School districts rise in ratings
Test scores are back, and the Holly Springs School District is excited to have the best scores the district has ever had.
Two of the three schools in the district that participate in the testing system have been rated Successful based on the accountability rating system completed by the Mississippi Department of Education. Both the Holly Springs High School and the Holly Springs Junior High have been labeled Successful.
“We are especially pleased that the schools have reached this milestone in the second year of a more rigorous testing and labeling system,” said Irene Walton Turnage, superintendent of the Holly Springs School District. “To have two of our schools labeled Successful is an honor and indicates that our schools and the district are moving in the right direction.”
The superintendent gives a lot of the credit for the schools being labeled Successful to the leadership of the principals of the two schools, Cedric Richardson and Louise Sanders-Tate, the instructional coordinators and coaches, and the great staff at both schools.
The superintendent is also pleased that the district as a whole reached its goal set for last year and made significant advances on the state labeling system. The district moved up two levels from being labeled At Risk of Failing to Academic Watch.
“Our motto this year is ‘One District – One Vision’ with the vision being to be a Star District with all Star Schools,” Turnage said. “Having two of our schools labeled successful lets us know that our vision is attainable.”
The district administrators and staff are humbled by the progress made but understand that there is still much work to be done.
According to Superintendent Turnage, although two of the schools were labeled Successful, the third school in the district, Holly Springs Intermediate, did not reach Successful status. It is labeled an At Risk school.
“We know that the staff at our upper elementary school is working hard, but because it is a larger school and has almost twice as many students testing, it must be even more focused on student achievement and growth,” she said. “We have evaluated our program and put things in place that we believe will allow the upper elementary school to make the same gains as the other two schools.”
She said the district also understands that maintaining and hopefully exceeding the current overall progress in the future will take a lot of work, but with everyone in the district having the same vision, the district will get there.
The district had other highlights with test scores. Two students, Jeffrey McCaskill and Calvin James, both made perfect scores on the Algebra I and Biology I tests respectively. In addition to the two students who made a perfect score, the district had a record number of students scoring advanced and proficient.
The district has no failing schools and met Annual Yearly Progress as measured by the No Child Left Behind mandates.
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