South Panola School Board Meeting

Published 10:34 am Friday, October 5, 2018

The South Panola School District Board of Trustees held its regular monthly meeting last Thursday, hearing updates and discussing the status of the Accountability Results issued by the Mississippi Department of Education last week, and then put on hold when the state board couldn’t agree to approve the results.

Corinth School District asked a judge for an injunction Thursday to stop the board from considering the approval of grades A-F assigned to all the districts in the state. Corinth officials argued that the tests and scores were unfair to their district.

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South Panola earned a grade of B as released by the state, and superintendent Tim Wilder told board members that grade is expected to stay the same.  Several members questioned Wilder about the grades of C given to both Batesville Elementary and Intermediate Schools when testing results from those students have consistently been among the best in the state.

WIlder said the numbers used for the Accountability Results comes from average growth numbers from fourth grade students, because no tests taken by first, second, or third graders are actually considered by the state.

Instead, the state measures the growth of the bottom 25 percent of the students in the fourth grade as a baseline for the lower grades. While this doesn’t seem fair, Wilder said, it is the system the state has chosen to grade all districts.

Essentially, Wilder said, about 75 low-performing students in the fourth grade, lowers the performance grade posted for the lower schools.

Wilder noted positive performance in almost all areas, and had graphs indicating what subjects, skills, and class levels the district intends to focus more attention on.

The board also heard about new policies that have been instituted to oversee the selling of surplus school-owned equipment.

The board discussed the speed bumps that have been placed on Tiger Dr. in front of the high school. Five rows of speed deterrents were placed there, Wilder said, because of the danger posed by students walking from the school to the baseball and softball facilities.

Several older people have also complained about the fast moving traffic on Tiger Dr., when they were attending ball games across the school parking lot. Wilder said the speed bumps costs about $6,000.

The board also asked Wilder to look at the area between the high school and the junior high, and determine if a walkway can be built that would be safer for students than the existing path near the street.