County schools show gains

Published 10:24 am Friday, October 5, 2018

The 2017-18 statewide Accountability Results were released by the Mississippi Department of Education this week, and both South Panola and North Panola School Districts improved a letter grade.

South Panola High School has been a B school for the past year, but the district on a whole had a C ranking until this week. North Panola moved from D to C status. Only 29 of the 149 school districts in the state improved a letter grade.

Neighboring districts had a wide range of scores with the Delta schools lagging behind those to the north and east of Batesville.

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Most notably, Oxford School District maintained its A grade and is now ranked as the 4th best district (based on these particular scoring models) in the state behind Enterprise, Petal, and Ocean Springs.

Accountability grades are based, in part, on how well students perform and progress from year to year on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) tests for English language arts (ELA) and Mathematics. These tests are aligned to the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards and are administered annually to students in grades 3-8 and in high school. Overall, students showed statistically significant gains in both ELA and Mathematics from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

Lafayette County improved from a B to A and earned the 12th best ranking. Desoto County kept its A and is ranked 15th. Grenada remained a B and is ranked 28th, South Panola is ranked 43rd, Senatobia improved from a C to B and is ranked 53rd. Pontotoc improved from a B to A and is ranked 16th.

In high school rankings, South Panola is ranked as the 49th of 243 high schools in the state. North Panola has a C grade and is ranked 103rd. Lafayette and Oxford both have A high schools in the area, but many other surrounding schools have D and F grades.

All other schools other than high schools are counted together. Locally, Batesville Elementary has a C grade, the Intermediate School has a C, the Middle School has a B, and the Junior High has a B. Pope Elementary has a B grade.

Greenhill Elementary in Sardis and Como Primary both have B grades. Crenshaw Elementary has a D score. North Panola Middle School has a D score.

Of the 149 school districts in the state, 18 received a score of A (12.1 percent), 42 have a score of B (28.2 percent), 37 have a score of C (24.8 percent), 27 have a score of D (18.1 percent), and 25 have a grade of F (16.8 percent).

Across the state, 181 individual schools received A grades (up from 114 last year), 247 schools received B grades (down from 261), 191 received C grades (down from 224), 165 received grades of D (down from 185), and 109 were assigned a grade of F (up from 109).

Both SP superintendent Tim Wilder and NP superintendent Cedric Richardson were expected to present the findings to their respective Board of Trustees in meetings Thursday night. The results of the Accountability Results were released to media outlets Tuesday, but were embargoed until Thursday noon, and could not be discussed with either Wilder or Richardson before presstime.

Speaking generally on Wednesday, Wilder said he thought South Panola would improve from C to B based on overall academic performance from all schools in the district. He credited a renewed effort by administrators, faculty, and staff and better resources and training for improvements.

Wilder noted that test scores went up district-wide when the school board made a commitment to provide Chromebook laptop computer access for all students in local schools.

Panola Partnership executive director Joe Azar issued a statement following the lifting of the embargo, praising administration of both districts and the improved scores. Azar noted that industrial concerns considering Panola County always inquire about schools and ratings, usually in the initial recruiting conversations.

“Although we are experiencing newfound success in recruitment and expansion, our number one focus has been and continues to be workforce development. The higher the grade of our schools the stronger we can grow,” Azar said. “Congratulations to our students, teachers and administrators. Our area factories need skilled workers now and they are forced to recruit human capital from outside our county.”

“Our students and youth are now faced with two excellent choices, the traditional scholastic route leading to college or the skills career and technical route leading to immediate employment with continued education and training funded by industry and state programs. Both routes now offer our youth a bright future and higher quality of life without leaving Panola County,” he said.


State school district grades

*149 districts in the state

District Points Grade State Ranking

Oxford 718     A 4th Lafayette Co. 687     A 12th

Pontotoc City 671     A 16th

Grenada 672     B 28th

Tupelo 646     B 29th

South Panola 625     B 43rd

Senatobia 606     B 53rd

Pontotoc Co. 603     B 55th

Tate Co. 587     C 71st

Quitman Co. 569     C 79th

Water Valley 565     C       80th

Tunica 559     C   82nd

North Panola 544     C   93rd

Coffeeville 510     D 112th

W. Tallahatchie 506     D 115th

E. Tallahatchie 473     F 132nd

Coahoma Co. 450     F 138th

Clarksdale 425     F   142nd


State high school grades

*243 high schools in the state

High School Location Grade Rank

Lafayette Oxford   A 18th

Oxford Oxford   A 20th

Southaven Southaven B 28th

South Panola Batesville B 49th

Independence Tate Co.   B 52nd

North Pontotoc Pontotoc Co. B 63rd

Grenada Grenada B 64th

South Pontotoc Pontotoc Co. B 77th

Tupelo Tupelo   B 78th

North Panola Sardis   C 103rd

Strayhorn Tate Co.   C 111th

M.S. Palmer Marks   C 115th

Senatobia Jr/Sr Senatobia C 147th

Coahoma Early College Coahoma Co.,   C 150th

Horn Lake Horn Lake   D 165th

Water Valley Water Valley   D 183rd

Clarksdale Clarksdale   D 197th

Jerome Stampley 9th Clarksdale   D 198th

Coffeeville Coffeeville   F 209th

W. Tallahatchie Tallahatchie Co.   F 214th

Charleston Charleston   F 216th

Coldwater Coldwater   F 236th

Coahoma Jr/Sr Coahoma Co.   F 241st