Pascagoula School District Has Superior Expectations

The band, JRROTC and choir get the crowd in the Gautier High School gym all revved up. The city-wide rally is aimed at motivating everyone in the community, including parents, business owners and elected officials, to help the Pascagoula School District achieve an ambitious goal .

Superintendent Dr. Hank Bounds says "The first thing that I think potential employees ask when they go into a specific area is what do your schools look like? We want to be able to tell everyone that's coming to the area that our schools are superior".

Superintendent Hank Bounds wants all 19 schools in the district to achieve a Superior Rating. That's because this year, the state's new accreditation system goes into effect. Before, "each school district" was rated from one through five, with five being the best. Now, "each school" will be graded based on how well students do on test scores and student performance.

A school can get a Superior-Performing rating, which is the best. That's followed by Exemplary Growth. The lowest rating is Priority. To be Superior, student test scores must meet or exceed state standards. Many people believe together, they can make that happen.

Priscilla McNair says "I have 2 children in the Pascagoula School District, and I'm here to support and be part of the team of Superior-Expect It". McNair plans to volunteer in schools, like reading to children, mentoring and helping teachers.

Assistant Teacher Diane Robinson says "I knew that there would be a lot of teachers, but I didn't expect to see as many parents here. It was very exciting to see everybody get involved like they did".

Many parents signed up to volunteer. Others picked up bumper stickers and yard signs to spread the message.

The strong community support even surprised the state's new school superintendent. Dr. Henry Johnson says "Only in a few occasions have I been in school environments and school meetings, in which a chill has come over me when I observe the interactions among the students, the teachers, the administration, the parents and the community leaders. This is one of them".

The school district will host another rally Tuesday, August 20th, at 6 p.m. It'll take place at the Pascagoula High School Gym, and the district encourages everyone to come out and show their support.

By: Trang Pham-Bui
Online Producer: Renee Johnson