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County schools get a ‘B’ ‘High Performing’ grade

The Lincoln County School District earned a B, or “High Performing” grade this year in the Mississippi Department of Education’s accountability ranking system, and each school in the county district met expected growth in 2013.

In addition, two county schools have brought letter grades to the next level.

Superintendent Terry Brister believes the key to the district’s growth and achievement stems from parents and community.

“The more our parents and our community are involved in our schools and are a part of what we are doing, the better they understand what we need to do,” Brister said.

“I think that is the key to moving forward, and if that’s in place we can move forward in leaps and bounds.”

According to MDE, its Mississippi Public School Accountability ranking system is designed to improve student performance and give schools transparency – a way for parents and the community to see how well their schools are preparing kids for college, technical training or the workforce.

The accountability system ranks schools on an A, B, C, D, F system, which replaced MDE’s previous “Star,” “High Performing,” “Successful,” “Academic Watch” and “Low Performing” rankings respectively.

According to a news release from the MDE Thursday, there are fewer low performing schools and more high performing school districts in the state this year. “Schools earning the A status increased by 36 percent and the number of B schools increased slightly from last year, from 213 to 218 schools. The number of D schools decreased by nearly 20 percent and the number of C schools increased by around 6 percent,” the release said.

Lincoln County schools are among those that are steadily improving, and all show increases in expected intellectual growth.

West Lincoln Attendance Center repeated last year’s success, earning an A (Star school) ranking again this year. The school showed growth with 2012’s Quality of Distribution Index (QDI), rising from 201 last year to 205 this year. The QDI ranges from zero to 300.

The QDI is a major component in the ranking process, which the MDE says is a measure how well students perform on state tests such as the Mississippi Curriculum Test Second Edition (MCT2) for grades 3-8 and the Subject Area Testing, Second edition (SAPT2) for high school students.

Three things contribute to a school’s letter grade: results from the Growth Model (QDI) which uses the current year’s test scores, and the Achievement Model, which is a measure of improvement on test scores from one year to the next, and, for schools through 12th grade, the graduation rate. Bogue Chitto brought its grade up from a C last year to a B in 2013. Bogue Chitto’s QDI moved from 144 last year to 160 this year.

Enterprise Attendance Center made a B again this year, but showed that it is on target for growth expectations. The school’s QDI in 2012 was 167 and increased to 174 this year.

Loyd Star Attendance Center jumped two entire letter grades this year. In 2012, the school had a D and a QDI of 158, but this year it earned a B with a QDI of 172.

Brister said the district is proud of Loyd Star and Robin Case’s diligence and hard work at getting the school’s grade up from a D to a B.

“Yes, that is a very difficult thing to do,” he said. “But, the staff there really put their heads together and determined what they needed to work on the most – they looked at what worked in the past and what didn’t work. And they did a wonderful job at staying focused.”

The Lincoln County School District as a whole had a five-year graduation rate of 76.9 this year. Bogue Chitto’s five year graduation rate was 79.8 percent, Enterprise Attendance Center’s was 76.4, Loyd Star’s 76.8 and West Lincoln’s 75.1 percent.

Lincoln County Report Card