Pass Christian Schools Earn Top State And Federal Ratings

Bill Herbert puts a lot of energy into teaching Biology at Pass Christian High School. But on Thursday,  he was more energized than ever.

Bill Herbert shouted "I am so excited, yeh! I am very excited"!

That's because just moments before, Herbert and other teachers and administrators in the Pass Christian School District learned the great news on the State Department of Education web site. Superintendent Dr. Sue Matheson said "Congratulations MS Broadway! You are a level 5! Outstanding, fantastic, absolutely fantastic"!

They found out that every school in Pass Christian either met or exceeded state and federal standards in the Mississippi Accountability Report. Dr. Matheson said "We are extremely proud and we're extremely excited that our school district was only one of two in the state in which every school in the district was a level 5".

Principal Cathy Broadway said "I'm just fired up, excited, thrilled to death, and proud to be a part of Pass Christian High School and Pass Christian School District. I'm extremely proud of all of our students and all of our teachers and the goals that they accomplished".

Teachers, like Mr. Herbert, who motivate students everyday to do their best. Herbert said "I keep praising them, patting them on their little heads, and say you can do this, let's get on with it. I break the material down where they can work with it. We have high standards and encourage them to work up to those standards and they have done that".

The district did it, despite facing some tough obstacles. Dr. Matheson said "Approximately 65% to 70% of our students are qualified for free or reduced lunches. So we have to take these students and work extremely hard with them. We provide a lot of remediation, a lot of tutoring before school, during school and after school".

The challenge now is to work even harder to keep those good grades next year. Herbert said "They don't have a level 6, but we're going to try for it. We're going to shoot for a level 6. We're going to be the first in the state with a level 6".

Schools that don't make any progress over the years can be subject to sanctions. For example, parents can choose to send their child to another school within the district that has a higher ranking. Education experts can come in to a low performing school and run it. In the worst case, teachers, principals, even school board members can lose their jobs if schools don't improve.