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Miss. Schools Successful?  New Performance Labels Show Many Are

By Annie Gilbertson | Published 16 Sep 2011 10:59am | comments
Ms. Allen says success in her room is based in individualized attention for students

The Mississippi Department of Education has released performance labels for schools across the state. MPB's Education Reporter Annie Gilbertson reports on these report cards for schools and explains why many districts across the state are getting higher marks.

From highest honor to lowest rank, there are 7 performance labels: star, high performing, successful, academic watch, low performing, at risk of failing, and failing.  This year, more Mississippi schools  achieved  a rank of successful or higher  compared to last year and far fewer schools found themselves at risk of failing or failing.

CantonPublic School Districtwas one of the many to achieve the "Successful" label after previously being ranked "at risk of failing".  Educators in the district chalk-up the improvement to an entire community becoming more focused on what goes on in the classroom.

LouElla Allen teaches 4th grade math and science at Canton Elementary. Today, she's having students physically act-out each step of a complicated equation. You can see light bulbs go on for many in the room.  Allen suspects scores reflect the success of lessons like this.  She says it all comes down to constant evaluation.

 “I always think about what I could have possibly done better to make by scores a little higher. Then I try new things that I know is going to work, that I know is going to be effective.”

Her superintendent, Dwight Luckett, says teachers across the district are doing a better job evaluating the effectiveness of each lesson and keep their eyes on end curriculum goals. But they are also identifying the needs of each individual student.

Luckett: The more we understand the background of children and not let that be an excuse, because children can learn.  They learn best when teachers understand where they come from and what the needs are.

Performance labels are calculated by reading and math standardized test results, graduation rates (for high schools) and attendance rates. Labels for every school and district can be found on the Mississippi Department of Education website.

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Ms. Allen says success in her room is based in individualized attention for students


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