HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Superintendent Robert Williams presented the Hattiesburg Public School District's most recent state test scores to the HPSD Board Of Trustees Tuesday, and explained how the district plans to improve in the future.
"We do recognize that 2015-2016 that's the first year that our students took that rigorous exam moving from the PARCC Assessment to the MAP Assessment," Williams said. "We did recognize that we were going to have some challenges with that. Our district did move back from a C to a D."
Overall, HPSD has three C-rated schools, four D-rated schools and the Lillie Burney STEAM Academy, the school of all the district's sixth graders, received an F for its first year in operation.
"With any new school, you do have an implementation dip," Williams said. "(This was) not only (an) implementation dip, it was a transition year for those students, so we are unpacking that sixth grade space."
The state's new accountability model puts a large emphasis on student improvement, and Williams said many schools did see growth.
"We did have three C schools, and when you look at our C schools, each of those schools showed significant growth in reading (and) math areas," Williams said. "(The) State of Mississippi, they found that 50 points is a special benchmark. If you see that, Rowan as relates to growth for both reading and math, they exceeded the 50-point threshold. Thames exceeded the growth threshold in reading and the math growth for the low. Grace Christian exceeded it in reading. We're going to continue to identify ways that we can continue to push forward our students with growth."
Williams said improving literacy throughout the district, especially to better prepare preschoolers for kindergarten,is already a focus, and said stronger reading skills should help students in all subject areas.
"Literacy is a big push. You have to be able to read, write, think and communicate," Williams said.