September 26, 2013
districts ‘C’ or Successful
The latest accountability ratings released by the Mississippi Department of Education show several positives for the Holly Springs School District.
The district as a whole maintained its Successful label, which is now termed a “C” in the state’s new grading system.
“Despite enormous challenges, three new rigorous tests, and new additions and changes in the state accountability system, the Holly Springs School District is proud that it maintained its Successful rating,” said superintendent of education Irene Walton Turnage. “We believe the district had a lot of positives.”
Two schools in the district, Holly Springs High School and Holly Springs Junior High, maintained their High Performing labels or “B” status.
Both the high school and junior high met their growth challenges. The Mississippi Department of Education develops growth goals based on individual test scores. A formula determines what students are expected to score based on what they scored on past tests.
Additional positives include a five-year graduation rate for the district of 81.6 percent and a four-year graduation rate of 80 percent.
“Our graduation rate shows that we are not only getting students to pass tests, we are helping to ensure they have a chance for success in life,” said Eileen Dowsing, assistant superintendent.
Meanwhile, Holly Springs Intermediate School did not fare as well in the testing results from the 2012-2013 school year. It did not meet growth and dropped from Successful or “C” to Low Performing or “F” under the new labeling system.
“Beyond the changes from the state, the intermediate school faced additional challenges from issues related to needing a new school to excessive teacher absenteeism due to severe illnesses,” Turnage said. “However, in the Holly Springs School District, we take full responsibility for the good and the bad.”
A $10 million bond issue to build a new intermediate school received 80 percent voter approval in May of this year.
“The good news is the building issues will be solved with the new intermediate school,” Turnage said, “thanks to the bond passed by our parents and community, and the school has a new leadership and practically a new staff.”
In addition to the changes, Turnage said the district has put into place an intensive strategic plan that will address growth and interventions to get student achievement back on track.
“The test data and accountability system show the positives in the district far outweigh the negatives, and we are working to turn the negative into a positive,” Turnage said. “As in the past, parents and community members should be proud of their children, schools and district.”
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