| By Jason C. Mattox
and David Howell
The good news from the North Panola School District is that all but one of its schools met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
Superintendent Glendora Dugger announced this week that North Panola High School did not meet AYP in two areas ? reading and language arts.
On the more dismal side, the Mississippi Curriculum Test (MCT) scores released last Thursday by the Mississippi Department of Education had significant decreases in some subjects compared to the previous year.
The scores released last Thursday were generated from testing during the 2005-2006 school year in grades second through eighth in reading, language and math.
"We are not satisfied," North Panola Superintendent Glendora Dugger said about the district’s performance.
All of the schools in the district will remain at Level Two with the exception of Crenshaw Elementary, which maintained its Level Three rating according to Dugger.
"Last year was a very difficult year for us," Dugger said adding she took over the reins in the school in mid-stream last year.
Dugger started the 2005-2006 school year as assistant superintendent but was appointed as interim superintendent following the resignation of Robert Massey.
Massey was placed on administrative leave on September 26 last year. He had just started his third year as the district’s superintendent. A resignation from Massey followed several months later.
"We are satisfied that we held our ground with all of the changes during the last year," Dugger said.
"This school district was up in the air about how to handle some things last year," she added. "We really didn’t know what the situation was with Mr. Massey until it was resolved in December."
However, more changes are on the horizon. Dugger said Wednesday that she intended to step down as the superintendent at the end of this school year.
In second grade, the number of students who scored proficient or advanced decreased this year in reading and math, but increased in language.
Third graders who scored proficient or advanced slipped in all three subjects tested according to test results.
One bright spot was fourth graders scored better in all three subjects tested on the MCT.
Test scores for fifth graders who scored proficient or advanced dropped in reading and slightly in math. Language scores for fifth graders remained the same.
Another bright spot was grade students who scored proficient or advanced increased in all three subjects tested.
In the seventh grade, the number of students who scored proficient or advanced dropped in all three areas tested.
In the eighth grade, the number of students tested who scored proficient or advanced increased in all three subjects.
"Much work has been done over the summer with the curriculum," Dugger said who added that a Tupelo school style curriculum previously adopted had not met the needs of North Panola.
"We are trying to align our curriculum with South Panola," Dugger said.
North Panola Curriculum Coordinator Jennifer Mock said some of the things that will help with test scores next year will be mandatory use of the district’s Orchard software, and having all computer labs up and running.
"Last year it was near the start of the second semester before we got our computer labs running," she said. "The labs are going and now we are focussing on getting the computers working in the classrooms."
Those computers will allow more access to the Orchard software which will monitor a students academic level on an individual basis.
"The software will allow students to work on the frameworks for the state testing," she said. "Not all of the teachers used it last year, but we are making it mandatory for this year."
The 2006-2007 school will mark the first year that students will continue through the eighth grade at their elementary school. This means Crenshaw, Como and Sardis each have a kindergarten through eighth grade school.
"A community-based school is more effective," Dugger said.
"Statistics show that students who are in the same school will perform better in the classroom," Mock said. "We really have high hopes for the new K-8 format."
Previously all students attending North Panola, whether they lived in Sardis, Como, or Crenshaw, were bused to Como Middle School, which will be eliminated.