D-rated Moss Point School District aiming for A grade

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - For years, the Moss Point School District has been trying to pull up its grades. Now, for the first time, the district has no F schools under the new accountability rating.

When the Mississippi Department of Education released its status report for each school and district last week, the Moss Point School District's grade remained a D. However, every school in Moss Point saw an increase in scores on the state tests. The district is trying to build on that momentum and is now aiming for an A.

"We have no failing schools in the Moss Point School District. So it was wonderful to read," said Moss Point Schools Superintendent Dr. Maggie Griffin.

Griffin beamed with pride Monday as she talked about her students' progress.

"I am extremely pleased with their growth and their progress that the entire district is making. Our community's stepping in, our parents are stepping in, our children are stepping up," said Griffin.

However, Griffin is not at all satisfied with being a D district.

"I challenge everyone to get your little rulers out, go measure what five-thousands of a growth point will be. That's how close we were to being a C district wide," said Griffin. "But every school in the Moss Point School District, their QDI increased. Several schools made growth."

QDI is a grading scale used as part of a formula to assign letter grades to each school and district. Dr. Griffin said her district's QDI went up 12 points due to numerous changes that were implemented since she took over the district a year ago.

"We did that in curriculum, we did that making our students a part of their growth and their changes. We gave them the data for them to look at: Look, this is where you are and this is where we want you to be," said Griffin.

The most significant increase was at Moss Point High School. Its QDI jumped 33 points, raising the school's grade from an F to a C.

"So when I heard it went up, I was like, 'Oh my gosh. That's such a great accomplishment for Moss Point High School!'" said Moss Point High Senior Christian Bilbrew.

The principal said many of his students took advantage of new academic programs, in-school tutoring, and incentives to boost their grades.

"Seeing them with that success just really touched my heart," said Moss Point High Principal Jeff Mumford. "Prior to me coming in, they may have had three principals in three years. By being the principal for a consecutive number of years for the first time at Moss Point High School, that really I think played a lot into our direction that we wanted to go."

Now, the school district's direction is all the way to the top.

"We're not satisfied, because we're going to be an A or B district and we're hoping that will happen before we're frozen. That's our goal. This is the year. This is the Year of the Tiger," said Griffin. "I believe in my children. I believe in the Moss Point School District. So we are going to do this."

"It was momentum on top of momentum and that's what we're doing right now. We're trying to sustain where we are, but yet push forward to achieving the higher grade level," said Mumford.

The Moss Point School District will explain the assessment results to parents at a meeting next Tuesday night. It starts at 6:30 in the Moss Point High School auditorium.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.