NEWS RELEASE                                September 14, 2012
The Mississippi Department of Education released the accountability rankings for schools and districts across the state and Simpson County School District has earned a SUCCESSFUL ranking on the state’s accountability model. Under a new law passed last year the ranking also includes a letter designation with STAR schools ranked A High Performing schools ranked B Successful schools ranked C Academic Watch schools ranked D and schools that received the Low Performing,  At Risk of Failing, or Failing accountability label ranked F.
Individual school rankings in the county revealed some marked improvement with Simpson Central School, which had the highest test scores in the county, and Magee High School earning the HIGH PERFORMING ranking with a B designation. Also showing improvement in their rankings were Magee Elementary and Magee Middle School, both of which moved up to the SUCCESSFUL ranking designated by a C. Mendenhall Elementary School and Mendenhall High School both ped to a ranking of Academic Watch designation D and Mendenhall Junior High remained at that level, Academic Watch designation D. Overall Simpson County School District earned a ranking of SUCCESSFUL designation C with a Quality Distribution Index (QDI) of 149, up five points from the previous year. Just as important, the district MET GROWTH overall, meaning students grew from where they entered school to the end of school as projected during the academic year 2011-2012.
One of the critical numbers that also reflects on the progress of the district is passage rates for high school students. The chart below compares the state, district, and each school passage rates for first time test takers during 2011-2012. Students that do not pass on the first attempt are provided remediation and additional testing opportunities.
Subject Area Test
State passage rate
District passage rate
Magee High School
Mendenhall High School
The chart above reflects the fact the district continues to average better than the state on Algebra I first time testers passing the state test. This has been the pattern for over four years. After remediation and additional tutoring students re-test to qualify for graduation requirements. Another encouraging pattern is the fact the district 2011-2012 graduation rate of 78.6 is almost 5 percentage points better than the state’s overall average graduation rate of 73.7.
With the implementation of Common Core State Standards in grades kindergarten through 6th grade this year, 7th and 8th grade next year, and the high schools the following year, the students in Simpson County Schools will be taking even tougher state mandated tests designed by the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), a multi-state project. Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum Debbie Davis pointed out “these assessments designed by PARCC are just now being developed. We have some sample items to guide our instruction but the reality is we know these assessments will challenge our students and our teachers to compete with the nation and the world. Our teaching staff is working very hard to prepare for a new day of accountability in public schools.”
Superintendent Glenn Harris expressed his delight at the district having two High Performing schools and gave credit to the teachers and students from both Simpson Central and Magee High School for their performance last year on state tests. He stated “This is the direction we hope to achieve as a district as we continue to improve and progress with a focus on curriculum and training of staff. We recognize and celebrate the success of our schools and staff and commit to improvement in sites that need to show better results.”
Results for Simpson County and school districts throughout the state are available on the Mississippi Department of Education website www.mde.k12.ms.us .
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