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Wesson, Franklin officials pleased with report cards FINAL IN A SERIES

MONTICELLO — Franklin County schools show mixed results on theMississippi Report Card 2000 while Wesson Attendance Center showsimprovement, but officials of both districts are pleased with thereport.

Franklin County High School posted scores above the stateaverage in Functional Literacy Examination (FLE) Reading andWriting and in Biology, but below average scores in FLE Math and inAlgebra and U.S. History.

Principal M.D. Bilbo said the results were typical, and he washappy with the school’s performance.

“When you compare us with schools in southwest Mississippi we dopretty well,” he said. “It’s hard to compete with some schools likeOcean Springs and other Level 5 schools.”

Bilbo said what concerned him the most was the consistent lowscores in math, beginning at the elementary level with FLE Math andcarrying forward to the high school’s Algebra testing.

District students scored a 259.2 on FLE Math to the stateaverage of 265.0, and in Algebra their average of 291.5 fell shortof the state average of 303.3.

“Math worries me a little bit,” he said.

Bilbo said the high school is taking steps to correct theirAlgebra scores in three ways.

They are trying to work closer with the junior high to better”sequence” the math courses. In other words, he said, to improvethe transition from junior high to high school math.

The high school is also offering a transition to algebra classto improve math scores and has established a program for 9thgraders called Learning Strategies, which is taught in conjunctionwith pre-algebra.

Despite the mixed results, the district posted strong ACTscores. District students posted a 21.7 average as compared to thestate average of 19.8 while having only 20 percent of its studentsin the lower quartile to the state’s 39.7 percent.

“We’ve been fortunate with our ACT scores,” Bilbo said. “We dowell there when compared with schools around the state.”

At Wesson Attendance Center, Principal Billy Britt said he waspleased with the report card.

“I think it was a good one. Of course, there is always room forimprovement,” he said.

Scores at the school were several points above the state averagein every category except Algebra and U.S. History, which fell justshort of that goal.

In addition, the school’s percentage of students in the lowerquartile was lower than the state average in all subjects exceptAlgebra and U.S. History.

“We are very pleased with that,” Britt said.

This combination would appear to have served the students wellon the ACT scores. They averaged a 21.2 score as compared to thestate average of 19.8. There appears to be a marked contrastbetween students, however, as 51.1 percent of WAC students fell inthe lower quartile in ACT testing. The state average was 39.7.

Britt said he is proud of the scores, but added that he was notthe school principal at the time but was serving as thesuperintendent of Lincoln County School District. The MississippiReport Card 2000 is actually composed of information compiled fromthe 1998-1999 school year.

“I wasn’t there at the time so I can’t really speak for the kidsthere,” he said.

Britt, who is in his first year as principal of WAC, said hebelieves Wesson has the opportunity to advance its accreditationlevel during the next few years.

“Our goal is to be Level 5,” he said. “We’ve got good teachersand kids. To reach Level 5, you also need parental involvement, andI think we have that as well.”

During Britt’s tenure as superintendent, Lincoln County Schoolsaccreditation level rose from 3.5 to 3.8.