Letter to the Editor

School data shows improvements and challenges

Last school year, test scores showed that the Holly Springs School District was only 27 points from being a “B” school district based on the range in place when scores were released, and the district scores had increased every year since the change to more rigorous tests occurred.

However, there was regression with some schools.  The goal was to stop the regression and move schools and district to the next level.

However, this past school year turned out to be one of the most challenging years on record for the district, and our schools faced unprecedented difficulties as part of a very unusual year in terms of unforeseeable challenges like illnesses and family losses.  As leaders, we take full responsibility when our district and schools do not excel, despite the reasons. Last year, school leadership teams made adjustments and attempted to put things in place as trials occurred but still were not successful enough to rise above the challenges.

The data from test scores showed many areas where significant improvements occurred including, but not limited to, an increase in the number of students moving from the lowest levels; a significant increase in the number of students taking college courses; an increase in the number of students who achieved perfect scores; and a graduation rate that is still higher than the state and national averages. The data also revealed significant weaknesses in a few grades that pulled schools down, especially in the areas of math in the elementary schools and reading on the middle school level.

Based on the most recent scores, Holly Springs Primary scored an F-rating even though there was a 15-point increase in reading proficiency and almost a 10-point increase in math proficiency; Holly Springs Intermediate School scored a D-rating; Holly Springs Junior High scored an F-rating; and Holly Springs High School scored a D-rating. Overall, the district scored a D-rating.

The scores obtained are not representative of the scores the district has obtained in the past, and all schools and the district are working to increase student achievement and ensure there are improvements in all areas.

The district and school leadership teams have developed and are implementing strategic improvement plans for all schools which include targeted areas such as math as well as back-up procedures when the unexpected occurs.  Staff members also understand that improvements must be made and have no doubt that the scores at the end of this school year will improve and better represent the hard work of students and staff in the Holly Springs School District.

Irene Walton Turnage
Superintendent of Education
Holly Springs Schools

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388

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