Oak Grove has Pine Belt’s top high school in state

By BETH BUNCH,

Oak Grove High School finished as the top Pine Belt high school in the state in this year’s Mississippi Statewide Accountability System. They were ranked No. 6 with an A rating and 790 points.

Petal High School followed at No. 17 with an A grade and 764 points. There were only 20 A level high schools with Ocean Springs High School taking top honors.

The LCSD placed ninth in the state with 709 points behind the Petal School District, which was ranked No. 1. This gives the Pine Belt two districts in the Top 10 in the state. The Lamar County School was down from eighth place last year, although the district scored higher in points than last years’ 698.

The accountability system, the results of which were released Tuesday by the Mississippi Department of Education, assigns a performance rating of A, B, C, D and F for each district and school based on established criteria. Those measures include student achievement, individual student growth, graduation rate and participation rate.

The assessments are used to measure proficiency and growth for students in grades 3-8 and high school students taking end-of-course subject area assessments in Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History. Schools with grades 3-8 can receive up to 750 points, while end-of-course-assessment schools – as well as districts – can receive up to 1,000.

“As always, I am proud of everyone who contributed, from staff and students to parents,” said Tess Smith, superintendent of the Lamar County School District. “I do not believe that we are fully defined by a number, but it is nice to be recognized for the hard work that goes into educating the students of this district.

“(But) the state model is a growth model. We grew by 11 points, but there were other districts that grew more.”

When accounting for individual schools, Oak Grove High School outdid every other school in the area, coming in at sixth in the state with an A grade and 790 points.

“I am proud of all our schools, but OGHS certainly exceeded expectations,” Smith said. “With nearly 1,800 students under one roof, OGHS does a phenomenal job of driving and supporting instruction.”

Other schools in the district include Sumrall High School with a B (746 points), Purvis High School with a B (685 points), Longleaf Elementary School with an A (510 points), Sumrall Elementary School with an A (483 points), Oak Grove Lower Elementary School with an A (480 points), Oak Grove Primary School with an A (480 points), Oak Grove Upper Elementary School with an A (475 points), Oak Grove Middle School with an A (470 points), Sumrall Middle School with a B (439 points), Baxterville School with a B (435 points), Purvis Lower Elementary School with a B (415 points), Purvis Middle School with a B (414 points), and Purvis Upper Elementary School with a B (398 points).

Schools in Lumberton, which for the first year are receiving accountability scores in the Lamar County School District since the merger, scored as follows: Lumberton Middle School with a D (290 points), Lumberton Elementary School with a D (274 points) and Lumberton High School with a C (642 points).

“Lumberton High School gained enough to move from a D to a C, so we are very excited for them,” Smith said. “As in all schools, our goal is to grow our students in all areas.

“In our elementary and middle schools, we strive to see where our students are currently and grow them to the next level or even higher. That will be the focus at Lumberton elementary and middle schools.”

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