LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Oak Grove High School scored the highest accountability rating in Mississippi in the most recently released state department of education accountability scores from 2014- 2015 school year.
"We were ecstatic," said Helen Price, principal at Oak Grove High School. "We're treating it like a state championship in our school with our teachers and our students and celebrating it as such. Even the coaches asked did that mean they could pour the Gatorade over my head, and I (said) except for that. Except for that. But in every other way, we are treating it like a state championship and celebrating it to no end because we are very proud of all of the hard work of everyone."
In 2015, Mississippi students took a new state test, the PARCC assessment, and the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) rolled out a new accountability model with different standards schools needed to meet to receive a top ranking.
Price said along with assessing general performance on the state standardized test, MDE evaluated improvement of the bottom 25 percent of a school's scorers from one state test to another, scores of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes and exams, performance in Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit classes offered at a school and scores on the ACT.
"It's a combination, and to me, in that sense, it's the best ranking in that it covers every student," Price said. "It's not just looking at our high performing students, and it's not just looking at our low performing students. It's looking at all of the students across the board. So to have something that represents the whole like that - that's every teacher, that's every student that was included in this ranking- we couldn't be more pleased that we came out on top."
Price said success like this is a testament to the Oak Grove community, families, students, teachers and district leadership.
"We couldn't ask for better or more from them," she said. "This is what we're about."