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District shows jump in growth in state accountability scores

In its annual reporting of accountability scores, the Mississippi Department of Education released information showing the Vicksburg Warren School District had stood ground with its letter grade, but the numbers tied to that grade have district leaders encouraged with the results and the trends.

While this marked the fourth straight year the district has received a D letter grade, the differences in the district’s scores over that same time have shown consistent improvement, with a significant jump between 2018’s score and the score reported Tuesday.

The district moved from a score of 500 in 2018 to 521 points in 2019. A score of 536 would have earned the district a C grade.

“These gains are proof that when we set student-by-student goals and create cultures of accountability at our schools, we can achieve great things. I am proud of the hard work of our teachers, students, parents and staff members,” Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Chad Shealy said. “We are consistently doing what is right for kids and certainly moving in the right direction.”

The state’s accountability model measures student proficiency, growth, college and career readiness (ACT Scores), acceleration (dual enrollment/AP courses) and graduation rate.

In fact, if the 2019 score had used graduation rates for those students who graduated in May, it is believed the district would have reached the C level.

Because of timing, the 2019 score includes data for the 2018 graduating class. The 2019 graduating class will be included in the 2020 accountability score.

The graduation rate measures the percentage of students who complete high school in four years.

“Our steady increase in graduation rate is a result of building relationships with our students and adding relevance to our classrooms,” Shealy said. “We have adopted the paradigm that all kids have genius and it is our job to show them how to apply it.”

In a report provided by the district, VWSD reported a graduation rate of 72.4 percent for those graduating in 2018. In 2019, the district’s graduation rate is projected to reach 82 percent.

As far as Warren Central and Vicksburg High Schools, the report showed double-digit increases at both schools in participation and performance in the acceleration score.

Combined, high school students in the district earned more than 5,000 college credit hours.

In proficiency and growth in English Language Arts (ELA), elementary schools through the district showed increased proficiency, with each school reaching four-year high scores.

Bovina Elementary had the highest ELA proficiency score at 67.2 percent with Bowmar (60.3 percent) and Warrenton (48.2 percent) trailing behind. Vicksburg Junior and Vicksburg High School also posted four-year high scores.

In math proficiency and growth, Bovina Elementary again led the way with a score of 68.7 percent. Redwood Elementary (64 percent) and Warrenton Elementary (51.5 percent) came in second and third respectively.

Beechwood Elementary, Bovina Elementary, Redwood Elementary, and South Park Elementary increased math proficiency for each of the last four years. Warren Central High School increased by more than three points.

According to the report, math growth for all elementary school students increased at half of the elementary schools; Beechwood Elementary, Vicksburg Intermediate, Warren Central Intermediate and Warrenton Elementary.

Warren Central Intermediate and Warrenton Elementary also improved in the growth of the lowest-performing students.

Vicksburg High School showed growth of lowest-performing math students for the fourth consecutive year, while Warren Central High School showed the fourth consecutive year of growth of all math students.

Two schools, in particular, stood out, showing increases in each of the four measured areas from one year to the next.

Warren Central Intermediate grew their score by 70 points, showing year-over-year improvement in ELA proficiency and growth, math proficiency and growth, science proficiency and growth of the lowest-performing students in both ELA and math.

Vicksburg Junior High School showed year-over-year growth in those same areas, increasing their overall score by 52 points.

As for total scores, here is the breakdown of each of the district’s schools in alphabetical order: Beechwood — 370 points, C grade; Bovina — 460, A; Bowmar — 387, B; Dana Road — 300, D; Redwood — 400, B; Sherman Avenue — 334, C; South Park — 350, C; Vicksburg Intermediate — 280, D; Warren Central Intermediate — 326, D; Warrenton — 420, B; Vicksburg Junior — 242, F; Warren Central Junior — 296, D; Vicksburg High — 539, D; Warren Central High — 551, D.

To reach an A grade, elementary schools and junior high schools must have reached 442 points, while a B needed a score of at least 377 points. A C grade needed a score of at least 328 points, while a D needed at least 269 points.

For high schools, a school needed to reach at least 754 points for an A, while to get a B needed a score of at least 648 points. To earn a C grade, a school needed at least 548 points. A school needed at least 510 points to earn a D.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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