By David Howell
JACKSON – The Water Valley School District will remain a C-rated district under Mississippi’s A-F accountability system that evaluates how schools and districts performed in the 2016-17 school year. Water Valley High School and Davidson Elementary School (DES) were also rated C schools according to the ratings released last Thursday by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE).
This marks the third year both schools and the district received a C rating, following three consecutive years of a D rating, but school administrators reported at Monday night’s school board meeting that part of the problem is the measuring stick used by MDE.
Much of the frustration voiced at Monday’s meeting centered on criticism for the criteria used by MDE to grade high schools. Water Valley High School Principal Drew Pitcock reported that high schools that only have grades 9-12 had a significant advantage over high schools that also include junior high grades. Water Valley High School includes grades 7-12.
“If you look at the accountability results, it shows that we were actually 579, that it is a completely inaccurate picture of what we are doing at the high school,” Pitcock explained.
Part of the problem, Pitcock also told school trustees, is that members of the accountability task force that reports and gives recommendations to the State Board of Education for the accountability ratings includes a heavy representation from high schools that have grades 9-12.
Trustees also discussed accountability rating for DES as first-year principal Ezzard Beane took the stand.
“We have looked at the breakdown of the scores. We have tracked every student, where we need to grow, how many points. We have looked at the breakdown of the standards and found which standards have the most points available on the state tests,” Beane said, explaining how the data will be used to make improvements.
An in-depth look at the school scores will be reported in next week’s Herald.