SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - State school rankings were released this week and South Mississippi schools have a lot of reasons to be proud!
Not only can the Gulf Coast now boast that it has the number one high school in Mississippi, it can also highlight the many other schools and districts that received top ratings across the entire state.
Out of 145 school districts in the state, South Mississippi had an impressive seven school districts make the top 20 across the state. Petal School District in the Pine Belt took Mississippi's top spot for best district, but Ocean Springs School District was right behind it coming in second and Biloxi Public Schools a few spots down at number seven.
Five districts on the coast achieved A-ratings for the first time. Bay-Waveland School District saw the greatest improvement, jumping up 36 spots from last year to rank #24 in the state and going from a C-rating to an A-rating. Hancock County trailed right behind them, jumping up 33 spots from last year to rank #11 in the state. Other districts that saw significant improvements, earning them an A-rating for the first time include Gulfport, Harrison County and Stone County school districts.
Ocean Springs School District didn’t just take the #2 spot across the entire state. They also have the #1 rated high school in the Magnolia State. Ocean Springs High, which was ranked at #9 last year, jumped up eight spots to claim the highest-ranked high school in Mississippi. West Harrison High trailed right behind Ocean Springs, placing at #3 in the state - which is a jump up from last year when the school was #16.
Another Jackson County city now boasts one of the top elementary schools in the state. Beach Elementary in Pascagoula was ranked #2 out of 641 elementary and middle schools in Mississippi. The number one spot went to an elementary school in Enterprise, Miss.
In addition to Beach Elementary, Pascagoula-Gautier School District also had two of the four elementary schools that made the top 20 in the state. Lake Elementary and Central Elementary ranked at #11 and #14, respectively, with both of those schools jumping more than 100 spots up from last year.
Bayou View Elementary in Gulfport, which was ranked #5, and the #6 Pineville Elementary in Harrison County were the other two South Mississippi elementary schools to make the state’s top 20.
Despite being the lowest ranked high school in South Mississippi, Moss Point High showed major improvements over the last year, jumping from #104 in 2018 to #74 this year. That brought the school up from a C-ranking to a B-ranking. Harrison Central High also saw a big jump, going up 25 spots this year to land the #64 spot in the state.
No secondary schools and only three elementary schools in South Mississippi received F-ratings. Coming in at #637 out of 641, L.C. Hatcher Elementary in George County School District is the lowest ranked school. The school dropped 104 spots from last year when it ranked at #533 with a D-rating.
Moss Point School District had two schools receive an F-ranking. Kreole Primary Elementary dropped 20 spots from last year, coming in at #613 this year. Escatawpa Upper Elementary dropped 59 spots and a letter grade from last year, ranking at #593 this year.
The Mississippi State Board of Education released its unofficial school rankings Tuesday. The grading system - which is ranked from A to F - is based on various factors, including state test scores, student progress, college and career readiness, graduation rate, and participation rate.
Nearly three-quarters of schools and 70 percent of districts will be rated C or higher when the Mississippi State Board of Education approves accountability grades Thursday for the 2018-19 school year. The grades show a three-year trend of continuous school and district improvement.
The SBE set a goal in 2016 that all schools and districts be rated C or higher. Since that time, the percentage of schools meeting this goal has risen from 62.4% in 2016 to 73.5% in 2019. The percentage of districts meeting the goal has increased from 62.2% to 69.7%.
Over the same period, the number of schools and districts earning an A has more than doubled, with A-rated schools jumping from 88 to 196, and A-rated districts increasing from 14 to 31.
Among the 140 districts and five charter schools, 46 increased their letter grade from 2017-18 to 2018-19. Among the state’s 877 schools, 258 increased their letter grade from last year.
The percentage of schools and districts rated D or F dropped significantly since 2016, from 37.6% to 26.2% for schools, and 37.8% to 29.0% for districts.
*The above results are still unofficial until they are verified on Thursday.*