Petal ranked No. 1 school district by Niche.com

By HASKEL BURNS,

Officials at the Petal School District are no strangers to recognition and awards, including being honored as the No. 1 school district in the state for the 2016-17 school year and receiving the highest rating in Mississippi’s accountability system two years ago.

The district can now add one more honor to that list with the recent ranking by Niche.com as the No. 1-ranked school district of the 151 throughout the state.

“They look at a host of things to make that determination,” said Matt Dillon, superintendent of the Petal School District. “We’re very proud that we were rated on this national platform, to see that we were the No. 1 district in the state. It’s pretty impressive for our district.”

Niche, which is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, employs data scientists, engineers, parents and other community members to evaluate data sets in order to rank schools, communities and neighborhoods. When looking at school districts, the team takes into considerations measures such as teacher quality, activities and clubs offered, academics, administration, cafeteria options, sports, health and safety, college preparation and diversity.

Petal School District was given an “A+” grade in teachers, clubs and activities, and administration. Academics, food, health and safety, sports, and resources and facilities each received an “A” grade, while college prep received an “A-“ grade.

Petal Upper Elementary School received an “A+” rating, while Petal Elementary School, Petal High School and Petal Middle School received an “A.” Petal Primary School scored an “A-“ grade.

The district enrolls a little more than 4,1000 students throughout its schools.

“This is just another measuring stick, another way for us to look at how we’re doing,” Dillon said. “It looks at many different factors outside of test scores that really embody who we are as a district, and the success that we’re having in the district across many different categories.”