The new round of assessments for public schools in Covington County revealed improvement in every school and in the district overall as compared to last year.  Two of the local elementary schools, Collins and Seminary, both received A ratings., and Seminary was the 10th highest elementary or middle school in the state.
A report released by the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Accountability provides data on each school’s score and ranking.  Grades  range from A – F.  Elementary and middle schools can score up to 700 points, and high schools up 1000 points.
Comparison of the report for 2018 and 2019 revealed the following improvements:

Seminary Elementary:  2018 – A (510 pts), 2019 – A (582 pts)
Collins Elementary:   2018 – C, (357 pts) 2019 – A (445 pts)
Seminary Middle School:  2018 – D (302 pts), 2019 – C (334 pts)
Hopewell Elementary:  2018 – D (282 pts), 2019 – D (302 pts)
Carver Middle School:  2018 – F (265 pts), 2019 – D (277 pts)
Seminary High School:  2018 – C (619 pts), 2019 – B (659 pts)
Collins High School:   2018 – C (611 pts), 2019 – C (629 pts)
Mount Olive High School:  2018 – F (483 pts), 2019 – C (593 pts)

Covington County School District:  2018 – D (533 pts), 2019 – C (581 pts)

Local school officials are understandably proud.  Dr. Arnetta Crosby, Superintendent of the Covington County School District, said, “We are very excited about the “C” rating of the district.  Everyone worked really hard for this! When I came into the Superintendent’s office in 2016 the district had a “D” rating.  We were allowed to keep a rating of “C” because of a waiver given to the district. This waiver was given to make adjustments to the accountability system because of the different test that had been used in previous years. The waiver year allowed the state time to work out problems with the new accountability system, the one that we presently use.  The next year, we did not show enough growth or proficiency to move to a “C”, so once the accountability system became somewhat consistent and reliable, we began implementing strategies to make improvements that would show growth and proficiency in our assessment results. Last year we were three points away from a “C” rating. This year we made it!  It was the hard work of the administrators, teachers, students, and parents who made the difference.
Before the academic year of 2018-2019 started, some strategic decisions about how we would monitor our student’s performance and achievement was put into place.  We needed this monitoring to be consistent and on a daily basis so that we might be able to do interventions at the appropriate time so that learning gaps would not linger too long.
Needless to say, that we are beginning to see the results of our hard work!  We are a long way from where we need to be, but in these four years, we are very proud of the accomplishments of our administrators, teachers, students, and parents.
We started this year off in a much better place academically than we have been in a very long time.  We are on course, if we follow the trajectory that has been laid out, to show continued growth and proficiency at all of our schools.”
Seminary Elementary School was one of the two county schools to receive an A rating.  Angie Palmer,  Principal of the Seminary Elementary School, said, “Seminary Elementary School is proud to have achieved the status of an “A” school for the second year in a row.  We are especially excited to be the 10th highest elementary or middle school in the state, based on the 700 point scale of which our school is rated.
We earned 582 points this year.  Our points were earned from our last year’s 3rd and 4th graders’ achievement in Reading and Math and from the growth of our 4th grade students in the same areas.
The staff at Seminary Elementary School works extremely hard to make sure students are learning the skills they need to be successful in school and in life.  This hard work begins in Kindergarten and only deepens as the students grow and progress through the years.  Our staff members in the lower grades work to build a foundation and an understanding of the skills and concepts needed for success as they develop.”
Collins Elementary School also received an A rating, up from a C rating last year.  Missy Rogers,  Principal of the Collins Elementary School, said, “How wonderful it is to be recognized and rewarded for our hard work, dedication, and determination to make CES “A” success.  Students, teachers, faculty, and staff moved Collins Elementary from a rating of “F” to “A” in only two years.
Collins Elementary School serves approximately 350 students- kindergarten to fourth grade, including district community based classes. CES focuses on achievement: academic and behavioral.  Learning for all students is ensured by assessing individual needs, using data to drive rigorous instruction, and consistently monitoring student growth and success. The elementary school serves as the foundation for learning and academic success; it is the first step on the road to graduation.  CES takes this responsibility very seriously.
A major factor in turning CES around has been PBIS, a positive behavior system.  Established behavior guidelines and expectations, and a system of incentives and rewards promote smart student choices.  With improved student behavior, CES teachers are able to focus more on academics and less on behavior issues in the classroom.
The community played a vital role in helping improve the school.  CES partnered with businesses and individuals to collect incentives to reward growth and advanced scores on state tests, and community members and church members have donated time to read with students, clean/paint outside and in the gym, and create a new discovery garden that students love!
Our students and this city deserve the best, and we will continue to give our best daily.  We are consistent – rules, procedures, consequences, quality instruction, high expectations never change at CES.”