JACKSON – Yalobusha County school districts received letter grades for the first time under increasingly higher standards of the state’s accountability model.
Water Valley’s two schools both received a “D” rating. Coffeeville Elemen-tary School received a “D” and Coffeeville High School received an “F.”
The Mississippi Depart-ment of Education released the new letter grades of “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” and “F” for all the state’s schools and districts last Friday. The new performance classification labels replaced the formerly used labels of Star, High Performing, Successful, Academic Watch, Low Performing, At-Risk of Failing and Failing.
Only three schools out of the state’s 806 schools received an “A” rating.
Classifications included achievement and academic growth or improvement. Achievement is measured by the Quality of Distribution Index (QDI), with the minimum QDI zero and the maximum at 300. The state’s QDI is 154. QDI is 150 at Water Valley’s Davidson Elementary School; 162 at Water Valley High School; 125 at Coffeeville Elementary and 128 at Coffeeville High.
Growth, on the other hand, is based on whether students demonstrate performance equal to or better than expected based on how they performed the previous school year. In Yalobusha County, only Coffeeville Elementary met growth expectations.
Water Valley School District Superintendent Kim Chrestman said, “I don’t think any of us – school officials, school board members, or teachers – are satisfied with where we are. We truly believe we can function at the successful or highly successful level.”
For this year only, graduation rates for schools were not included in the accountability measures as recommended by the Accountability Task Force. The graduation rate for WVHS is 57.9 percent and 78.4 percent for CHS.
Dr. Wayne Gann, chairman of the Mississippi Board of Education, said the task force found that all districts were not held to the same standard for graduation rates, and that it needed to develop a fair and equitable system for graduation rates that held all districts and schools accountable.
If the rates had been factored into the results, ten of 152 districts, or about 6 percent, would have received a lower grade.
“We’re never satisfied when performance is at the “D” or “F” level. We believe as we continue to work with districts in this transition period to improve education, we will see improvements for children in our state,” said Dr. Lynn House, interim state superintendent.
The letter grading system will provide communities clear understanding of how their schools and districts are performing upon full implementation of the rigorous Common Core Standards in 2014-15. The Mississippi Board of Education voted to adopt Common Core State Standards in 2010.
Common Core is not a federal program, but rather a state-led initiative that has been adopted by 44 states committed to developing standards for proficiency in English language arts and mathematics in grades K-12. This initiative provides consistency across states, helps students prepare to compete globally and allows for the development of a common assessment.
To view the complete 2012 Accountability results for schools and districts visit http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/ and click on Reports, Public Reports and then Accountability.