Two local school districts receive A-rating from MDE

PINE BELT, Miss. - The Mississippi Department of Education released its performance ratings for the 2014-2015 school year. Lamar County Schools and Petal School District are 2 out of the 19 schools districts to receive an A-rating.

Superintendent Tess Smith said the ratings are based on a variety of factors. "A lot of different tests, graduation rate, even down to how many students we'd test."

Smith added, "The goal is to always test 95% of your student body."

Based off a waiver system, schools that received a lower grade in 2014-2015, compared to one of the two previous years could keep the higher grade.

The waivers are valid because the state has changed teaching standards and tests the last two years.

Petal Superintendent Dr. Matthew L. Dillon said the past couple of years were challenging due to the state changes. "I think it's definitely a struggle because there is no consistency of continuity."

Smith agreed, "When you deal with change, it can be very difficulty for anyone, and that is what educators do. We adapt with change, and move forward."

"I always say this, we are very blessed in this district" added Smith.

Both districts said the A-ratings is a collaborative effort. Dr. Dillon said, "I can't thank enough our staff support of what they do, day in and day out for our students, and from there the students respond to that challenge."

Smith said, "Just support form our parents, from our school board, and our administrative team, everybody just had to, you know jump in."

Dr. Dillon and Smith said they hope to maintain the same A-rating standard next year.

The 2015-2016 ratings are available October.

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