• 70°

School accountability reports offer good, not-so-good news

There is good news and not-so-good news on the accountabilitystandpoint for area public schools.

The good news is that for the most part, area schools held theirown in the statewide testing levels. The not-so-good news is thatour area schools just held their own.

In the good news category, Lincoln County public schools led theway with three schools receiving level four and one school, WestLincoln, receiving a level five. West Lincoln is also ranked in theTop 20 among Mississippi schools.

Brookhaven public schools reported two level four schools andthree level three schools, with Lipsey Middle School slipping onelevel from last year.

Lawrence County schools reported two level five schools, onelevel four and two level three schools. Wesson Attendance Centerreceived a level four.

The achievement scores are part of a statewide testing programto allow communities to see year-over-year achievement levelsagainst growth goals set for the schools. Much like a studentprogress report shows how a student is performing, these scoresshow how a school is performing.

In the not-so-good news category, only three area schools metthe growth status requirements – Brookhaven Elementary, WestLincoln and Monticello Elementary.

The ranking level of the schools, according to StateSuperintendent Hank Bounds, is what many people pay attention towhen comparing schools. The people doing the comparison might beindustries looking to locate a plant or parents looking to moveinto a particular community – decision makers looking out for thebest interests of their employees or families.

Education is the vital link to community economic development,job growth and vitality of a community. While local efforts overthe past have raised the level of educational opportunity in ourcommunity schools, these scores show that more work is needed andmore community involvement is required.

While many will want to compare our local schools against oneanother, the real comparison focus needs to be on how our schoolscompare against the schools in the growth areas across the state.For when we compete at that level, everything else takes care ofitself.