On Thursday October 20, the Oxford School District was awarded the top spot in the Mississippi Department of Education’s accountability system rankings for the 2015-16 school year. Out of the 143 school districts in the state of Mississippi, Oxford had the highest total number of points with 745, a number achieved by adding up scores of proficiency in reading, math, history and science on tests. The scores also take the academic growth of the bottom 25 percent of the students into account over the last year, and overall graduation rates.
Four out of the five schools in the Oxford school district received an “A” rating overall. Superintendent Brian Harvey attributes the success to the investment that Oxford has shown to public education.
“We certainly have always considered ourselves as one of the top school districts, but to receive this type of recognition is truly an honor,” Harvey said. “Our community has really invested in public education and to see it pay off like this is really something special and shows parents a real return of the investment in our students.”
While the number one spot in these rankings is an incredible achievement, Harvey is aware that not everything is perfect and there is still work to be done.
“We are very proud of everyone in our school district who supports our efforts,” said Harvey in a press release following the announcement. “Our improvement in student achievement is highlighted in a 13-percent gain in mathematics proficiency and over a six-percent gain in English Language Arts proficiency. Our ACT, Advanced Placement and dual enrollment scores also played a large role in our district’s success. Even though we received the most points on the accountability model, we realize that we still have many students who are struggling. We are working to bring all students to proficiency so that they can achieve their full potential.”
The Oxford School District is at the forefront of many techniques that have brought on this type of recognition, but according to Harvey, there’s one factor that has gotten the Oxford schools where they are today.
“We don’t have all the answers, but the first thing you need in any school district to be successful is quality teachers and quality leadership in the building; and unfortunately, that is something that our state as a whole struggles with and must find a way to overcome,” Harvey said.
While the accolades and awards are always welcome to any district, Harvey noted that it’s not what drives him or any of the educators in the Oxford School District.
“Being number one is great of course, but it’s not why we do what we do,” Harvey said. “Our goal will always be to work to help our students achieve success and reach their full potential.”
For the full list of rankings and criteria, click here.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.