Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Two Mississippi Schools Among 50 Inspiring Schools Meeting the Challenge

From The Best Schools:

(Amory, Mississippi) Hatley School

Monroe County School District is ranked by the state as a B School District; however, for the first time, one of Monroe County’s schools has received an A rating from the state: the Hatley School. While there are only six sites in the district, it is the largest school district in northern Mississippi, covering the towns of Aberdeen, Amory, Becker, Hamilton, Hatley, and Smithville.

Hatley School is a K–12 school with approximately 1,100 students. Educating all students in one location has its unique challenges, but Hatley has three principals: Jeff Brooks (high school), Van Pearson (junior high), and Chris Kiss (elementary). There are 95 members of staff, from cafeteria workers to teachers, dedicated to one of the three levels in the school. Over 50% of students are from economically disadvantaged homes.

Both the high school and the junior high students have an archery team. Other sports offered include golf, cheer leading, baseball, and several others. Students can participate in band, drama, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Beta Club, Future Farmers of America (FFA), and The Pride—a student leadership group of 25 students. Students have to have a teacher recommendation to participate in the latter group, and go through an interview process. Their mission is to help all students develop a sense of community, create leadership within the student body, and motivate students to contribute to the promotion of the school.

Thank you Hatley School. You have an unconventional model, but you have turned it into a thriving community with a healthy learning environment.


(Durant, Mississippi) Williams-Sullivan High School

Williams Sullivan High School has a unique demographic consisting of 100% minority students, all of which are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Between 2012 and 2013 Williams Sullivan High School did the unthinkable: they rose from being rated in the bottom 7% of Mississippi schools to the top 5%—almost an 88% increase! In one year, Williams Sullivan High School (WSHS) dramatically improved the number of students proficient in all End of Course exams. Mississippi assigns a letter grade to each school. In 2014, Mississippi instituted new standards, introducing common core objectives. WSHS brought their average up from an F to an A.

End of course (EOC) exams are important to Mississippi schools. In 2014, Williams Sullivan students raised their percentages of passing students to 98%. Their Biology EOC’s increased 30%. English increased 46.6% and their U.S. History rose to a complete 100% mastery.

Thank you Williams Sullivan High School. You looked at where you were at and said “No more.” Your dedication to overcoming is evident to everyone.