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Most schools hold ground on accreditation

While other city and county schools remained unchanged from theprevious year, Lipsey Middle School was one of a number of schoolsaround the state to drop in 2007 accountability levels announcedThursday by the Department of Education.

The accreditation levels are determined by the school’sperformance on the Mississippi Curriculum Test. MCT results wereannounced in August.

Lipsey slipped from a Level 4 (Exemplary) to Level 3 (Successful)rating in school accreditation results approved by the theCommission of School Accreditation Thursday.

However, the results are unofficial until approved by theMississippi Board of Education. The board’s next meeting is Sept.13-14 in Jackson.

“We had a slight dip in our fifth grade math scores that causedthem to drop just below the level to retain Level 4,” saidBrookhaven School District Superintendent Lea Barrett.

She said the school missed keeping the exemplary rating by only ahandful of points.

“It’s disappointing, but we’re making adjustments as we speak,”Barrett said.

One of those adjustments is a program that releases students earlyon some Thursdays throughout the year to allow time for teachers toreceive “intensive professional development,” she said.

“We do not intend to regress at all and we will continue toimprove,” Barrett said. “That’s what Thursdays are for – to retoolthe program.”

Despite Lipsey’s dip, she said, all city schools showed generalprogress across the board. Brookhaven and Mamie Martin Elementaryschools retained their Level 4 ratings while Alexander Junior Highand Brookhaven High School kept their Level 3s.

“We had really strong scores at the high school,” Barrett said.”Biology and algebra scores continue to shoot up. We’re greatlypleased by that.”

Other schools showed similar gains in a variety of areas, shesaid.

“Our second grade scores were the best we’ve ever seen so we’relaying the right foundation,” the superintendent said.

In the county, accreditation levels remained unchanged from theprevious year.

West Lincoln Attendance Center retained its Level 5(Superior-performing) rating. In fact, West Lincoln was in thestate’s Top 20 based on an achievement level index that is use tomeasure students’ overall state test peformance.

Enterprise, Loyd Star and Bogue Chitto attendance centers remainedLevel 4 schools.

“They were the same, but they came up in their scores. They placeda little higher,” said Lincoln County School DistrictSuperintendent Terry Brister. “Enterprise improved drastically -they really jumped up the ladder – but all four schools did realwell and made strong improvements.”

Brister said the better a school performs, the harder it is toremain on top.

“Each year they come up with more criteria and it gets harder,” hesaid. “The standards and expectations are raised every year. I’m soelated we held our ground in those areas.”

The number of schools rated Level 4 or 5 statewide dipped in recenttesting, while the number of schools rated Level 3, Level 2(Under-performing) or Level 1 (Low-performing) rose slightly.

In 2006, there were 228 Level 5, 225 Level 4, 306 Level , 70 Level2 and three Level 1 schools, according the Department of Education.In Thursday’s results, there were 207 Level 5, 215 Level 4, 313Level 3, 96 Level 2, and 11 Level 1 schools.