Petal School District earns top spot in Mississippi

Petal School District earns top spot in Mississippi
Source: WDAM

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - The Petal School District is the number one district in the state of Mississippi.

"I could not be more proud of our faculty, staff, students and our community as a whole," said Superintendent Matt Dillon.  "We have great things going on here and this is just affirmation that we are doing some very good things and moving in a very good direction"

The Mississippi Department of Education released letter grades for schools and districts based on Mississippi's A-F accountability system Thursday.  The system evaluates how schools and districts performed in the 2016-17 school year.

"I could not be more pleased as a superintendent," said Dillon.

The district and school grades are based on an 1,000-point system.  The Petal School District scored a total of 734 points in the accountability system.  The second ranked district, Booneville School District, scored 705.

"It just reaffirms a lot of the things we are doing in the classroom and our focus on instruction, or focus on building relationships," said Dillon.  "If you think about all the adversity we faced last year through the tornado, through being displaced from your school for two months.  Not only at Petal Upper Elementary, but how is effected other schools as well.  I could not be more proud of our effort."

According to MDE, the 2016-17 accountability grades are based, in part, on how well students perform and progress from year to year on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) tests for English language arts (ELA) and Mathematics.

The district scored a 70.5% for math proficiency and 56.1% in reading proficiency, with a growth rate over 65% in both. The district has an 89.4% graduation rate.

"This goes back to our teachers teaching at a very high level, but also building those relationship with students," Dillon said.  "Our leaders providing the resources and the guidance and instructional leadership to guide their buildings.  Without building success, you're not going to have district success."

District grades for 2016-17 include 15 "A" districts, 43 "B" districts, 43 "C" districts, 36 "D" districts and 9 "F" districts.

"What's so impressive to me is we have all our buildings performing at a very, very high level in order for us to enjoy district success," said Dillon.  "I just can't say enough about our efforts and the end result."

The school district will celebrate it's success on Friday, October 20, 2017 with cake prior to the home football game against Meridian.

"We're not here to maintain, we're going to continue to grow up students and we are looking for ways to get better," Dillon said.  "We're going to celebrate these scores, we are going to celebrate having the number one ranking, but at the same time we are going to look at ways to get better to have that growth mindset moving forward."

To learn more about the components of the accountability system for elementary, middle and high schools here.

The Mississippi State Board of Education approved the 2016-17 accountability results during its Oct. 19 Board meeting.