From Staff Reports
Officials are celebrating news released by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) today showing that Greene County School District (GCSD) has received its highest-ever rating since the state started issuing accountability grades.
According to MDE accountability grades for the 2022-23 school year that were made public Thursday morning, GCSD is rated as an ‘A’ district and the 23rd highest rated public school district in the state. It is the first time the county school district has earned the ‘A’ rating.
“It is an absolute amazing accomplishment for our students and teachers,” GCSD Supt. of Education Charles L. Breland told the Herald early Thursday. “This is their ‘A’ rating, they are the ones who earned it.”
“This has been a goal of ours for several years, to earn the ‘A’ rating for the district and to have no school score lower than a ‘B’ and I am ecstatic that we have done so. It is absolutely a great accomplishment.”
Individually, three county schools are now rated as ‘A’ schools, and the two others earned high ‘B’ ratings. Along those lines, four of the county’s five schools earned their highest ever ratings.
Greene County High School, McLain Attendance Center and Leakesville Elementary School earned ‘A’ ratings, while Leakesville Jr. High School and Sand Hill School are rated as ‘B’ schools.
“This is the first time McLain has earned an ‘A’ and the high school and LES also posted their highest accountability scores to date as well,” Breland added. “LJHS and Sand Hill also performed well with the junior high earning its highest rating ever and Sand Hill just missing its highest ever rating by a few points.”
“We don’t hire a bunch of consultants or purchase big money programs. Instead, we rely on our teachers to get in their classrooms and do what they do best – teach. And, our students respond to that and have shown what they are capable of achieving. As superintendent, I could not be more proud.”
Look for a more detailed breakdown of the results for the county schools and GCSD in next week’s print edition of the Herald.
Statewide, the data released Thursday show 87 percent of Mississippi schools and 91 percent of the state’s school districts earned a grade of C or higher.
The grades are an improvement over 2021-22, when approximately 81 percent of schools and 87 percent of districts were rated C or higher. In 2016, when the Mississippi State Board of Education set a goal that all schools and districts be rated C or higher, the percentage of schools and districts meeting this goal were both 62 percent.
Statewide student assessment data make up a large part of accountability grades. In 2022-23, the overall percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced reached an all-time high in mathematics, English Language Arts (ELA), science and U.S. History.
“This year’s school and district grades provide further evidence that Mississippi teachers, school leaders and staff have done an outstanding job helping students accelerate learning after the disruptions of the pandemic,” said Dr. Raymond Morgigno, interim state superintendent of education. “I am confident our schools will build upon these achievements so that all students are proficient and prepared for success after high school.”
Since 2020, school districts and the state have invested federal pandemic-relief funds in programs and services to overcome pandemic disruptions and accelerate student learning. The additional funds enabled districts to pay for extended learning days, tutorial services and intensive interventions, among other supports. State investments include the Mississippi Connects digital learning initiative, which provided all students with a computer device, and services including on-demand tutoring, high-quality digital curriculum subscriptions and digital learning coaches for teachers. Pandemic-relief funds for these services will end in September 2024, and school districts will be responsible for paying for any services they wish to continue.
Mississippi’s accountability grades help teachers, school leaders, parents and communities know how well their local schools and districts are serving their students. The components of the state’s accountability system are based on state and federal law and State Board policy. They include:
- Student proficiency and growth rates in ELA and Mathematics in grades 3-8
- Growth of the lowest performing 25 percent of students in ELA and Mathematics
- Science proficiency in grades 5 and 8
- English Learner progress toward becoming proficient in the English language
- Performance on the ACT and high school Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History assessments
- Student participation and performance in advanced coursework such as Advanced Placement and dual credit/dual enrollment courses.