State celebrates three Pascagoula-Gautier schools for reading

She reports that Beach Elementary had a 100% pass rate on the third-grade reading assessment.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:28 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:29 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi Department of Education awarded seven elementary schools across the state for a job-well-done teaching reading.

State officials traveled to Jackson County on Tuesday to celebrate three Pascagoula-Gautier schools that made the list.

Children at Beach Elementary in Pascagoula cheered as their hard work paid off. The school was named a 2022-2023 Emerging Science of Reading School.

“These schools that we are celebrating have changed their instructional practices to be in alignment to the science of reading, and they’ve seen the results,” said Kristen Wynn, a Literacy Director with the Mississippi Department of Education.

She reports that Beach Elementary had a 100% pass rate on the third-grade reading assessment, results from the kindergarten assessment grew 229 scale score points from fall to spring, and the third-grade proficiency rate grew to 65%.

That’s all despite challenges posed by the pandemic.

“They didn’t let that stop them,” Wynn said. “They continued to learn, and they continued to try to grow. And the teachers were really innovative in their approach to teaching reading during that time.”

“We really do work so hard, and we’re glad that we can show everyone how hard we do work and how far we’ve come with reading,” third-grade teacher Brittany Murray told WLOX.

“And celebrate all the extra hours we put in and all the work the kids do,” first-grade teacher Melanie Berrett added. “We just, we feel like it’s such a big accomplishment.”

Jackson and Martin Bluff elementary schools also topped the Mississippi reading charts.

Dakota Broome, a Jackson Elementary student, told WLOX she has read about 50 books that have totaled over 300,000 words.

“I love reading,” she said. “I got to learn about a lot of different things, and I read a bunch of words.”

The school’s word-count goal for next year is 10 million.

Five of the seven schools awarded by the state are located on the Gulf Coast. Each of them received a banner to showcase throughout the halls.

“Those banners say, ‘Hey, we really want to make a difference for your children when they come to school here,’” Superintendent Billy Ellzy said.

The other two schools designated by the state as Emerging Science of Reading schools are North Bay and Waveland elementary schools in the Bay-Waveland district.

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