A good educational system is vital to the health of a community, and according to Choctaw County School District Superintendent, Glen Beard and Asst. Superintendent, Glen Blaine, the schools in Choctaw County are in good standing, and there is much excitement concerning a number of facets of the district.
Standardized testing has become a huge part of the entire educational process, and determines a school’s rating; last year the district was at a ‘C’ rating, but both Beard and Blaine are expecting movement in the right direction. Beard described it as high stakes testing as the districts don’t know the cut scores from the Mississippi Dept. of Education until after testing has been completed.
Beard added that all principals onboard, taking the necessary action and putting people in the right positions to make some key improvements. Blaine stated that after looking at certain benchmarks he is eager and excited for the students to test, as he is expecting good improvement.
The graduation rate is expected to be markedly improved up from the 70.1% in 2018, to 85% in 2019. Beard pointed out that the low rate in 2018 was partially due to reporting errors, but added that measures have been put in place to assure that those errors are not repeated.
There are four schools in the district: Ackerman Elementary, Weir Elementary, French Camp Elementary and Choctaw County High School; the district-wide student population is about 1,350 which is about the same as last year.
Beard and Blaine said that they are constantly looking at security issues and there is now a keyless entry system at all schools, as well as cameras, and they work to make the schools as safe as possible.
There are two major projects in the works for Choctaw County High School, with a new building already under construction. The building was needed due growth in student population, and to old, outdated buildings.
The new building will house 10 new classrooms, administrative offices and science and technology labs, as well as a new and larger cafeteria which will allow for fewer lunch periods and more classroom instruction. The plan is to be able to move into the new building during Christmas holidays.
The other big project is the purchase of Thomas Glasgow Park from the Town of Ackerman which will allow for the construction of a new football field and maintaining all athletics facilities under one footprint. The baseball and softball fields will also be renovated with new concession stands added.
All in all the future looks very promising for the Choctaw County School District, which is important for all aspects of life in Choctaw County.
Choctaw County High School working
By Mike Robertson
Choctaw County High School has 470 students in grades 7-12, and Principal Amber Vowell says that it is a great school and the staff, faculty and students what to showcase that more and more each year.
Last year, the rating for CCHS dropped to an ‘F’ largely due to some reporting errors, and to correct this, procedures have been put in place to ensure it does not happen again. Last year’s graduation rate was low at 70.1%, again partially due to reporting errors, but the rate should see dramatic improvement climbing to 85% in 2019.
Vowell stated that one of the strengths of the school is the willingness of all involved to work hard to achieve their goals. Another strength is focus. Vowell said, “We agreed at the beginning of the school year that our past rankings are not going to define who we are right now and where we hope to be in the future. We are working to improve our students' academic success and their life skills in order to provide access to a successful future in every aspect of their lives.”
She added, “Not only are we looking to improve our rating, but also, we hope to show success in academics and extracurricular events. We want to show our achievement in every aspect of our school.”
Ackerman Elementary aiming for an always ‘A’
By Mike Robertson
The student population of Ackerman Elementary School, which is an ‘A’ rated school, is around 500 in grades Pre-K through sixth.
Principal Samantha Kelly stated that some of our greatest strengths of the school are the dedication that the students and staff have to making sure that everything runs effectively and that every child is getting the best education possible. The overall school culture is very positive and feels more like an extended family than just a school. The teachers go above and beyond, including late nights and weekends, to make sure students are being challenged, have the support they need to succeed, and have a classroom and school environment that encourages all students. And the students always strive to do their best on their academics and behavior, and they set the example for others with their positive actions and conduct.
Kelly added that this past year students showed huge growth in the areas of reading and math and were able to move Ackerman Elementary to an A Rated School. The student’s leadership skills have also greatly increased with the implementation of our school-wide PBIS and our 6th grade leaders who have different responsibilities throughout the morning.
For the upcoming school year, they are anticipating that students will show more gains in the areas of reading, language, and math with all of the strategies that the staff is using to provide quality instruction. They are also looking forward to a bigger and better year with PBIS which helps promote positive behavior and leadership. There is great excitement to see the progress that students make throughout the school year.
French Camp Elementary keeping up the progress
By Mike Robertson
A great deal of hard work goes into a school achieving an ‘A’ rating, and according to French Camp Elementary School Principal, Shane Burton, it is certainly a team effort. And all of that work has paid off as his school has been an ‘A’ school for the past two years.
The faculty, staff and 150 students, as well as the community take a great deal of pride in the rating. He stated that in such a tight-knit community the success of the school is very important.
With 150 students in the Pre-K through sixth grades, the teacher/student ratio is very favorable as it allows much more one-on-one instruction. The entire school spends the year preparing for standardized tests which will be given beginning in April through mid-May, and it is these tests that determine a school’s rating.
Burton stated that the more they succeed the harder it is to meet the growth factor and there is always the possibility of a rating drop. But his advice to the teachers has been to teach what they are supposed to teach and the scores will fall where they fall. He added that going into the testing time, benchmark scores are looking good, but like most years there are a few areas that need work.
Burton said that the staff and community at French Camp Elementary have done a good job of maintaining a family atmosphere. Kids love coming to school there, and parents can be secure in knowing that their children are in a safe environment.
French Camp Elementary Honor Roll 2nd Nine Weeks
First Grade: Jaleigha Johnson and Caiden Smith.
Second Grade: Grey Martin, Lyla Pham, and Joshua Thomas.
Third Grade: Jackson Rushing
Fourth Grade: Bella Davis and Luke Thompson
Fifth Grade: Kaylin Chaney, Tania Demecio, Koleigh Griffin, Colin McGary, and Rebekah Storment.
Sixth Grade: Lucy Littlejohn and Brennan McGlothin.
First Grade: Fulson Lofton, Braxton Luke, Gabby Luke, Britton Rushing and Kinley Watkins.
Second Grade: Elliot Breazeale, Collin Hooten, Easton Hunt, Marcus Lacey, Reagan McCoy.
Third Grade: Cristina Demecio, Kyle Grice, Adalla Lofton, Ty Martin, wesley McNutt, Kambie Perry.
Fourth Grade: Collin Carmichael, Ayden Clark, Rebecca Gilbert, Shaine Hagemore, Ryder Henderson, Amberlyn Hutchinson, Anderson Littlejohn, Adaleigh Mooney, and Brianna Philley-Pollard.
Fifth Grade: Haelee Black, Olivia Browning, Rowan Dean, Laura Brook Myers, Sophie Pham, and Bella Stanford.
Sixth Grade: Riley Arrowood, Kate Beard, Kami Beard, Kelsey Bridges, Dawson Bright, Ian Choppala, Avery Cravens, Elmar Gladney, Kinsley Goins, Baylee Henderson, Madison Henderson, Emma Hunt, Olivia Massie, Kloey McKnight, Zarihya Moncrief, Ellen Ulerich.
French Camp Elementary School Honor Roll First Semester
First Grade: Jaleigha Johnson, Britton Rushing, and Caiden Smith.
Second Grade: Collin Hooten, Lyla Pham, and Joshua Thomas.
Third Grade: Jackson Rushing
Fourth Grade: Colin Carmichael and Luke Thompson
Fifth Grade: Kaylin Chaney, Koleigh Griffin, Colin McGary, Rebekah Storment.
Sixth Grade: Avery Cravens, Kinsley Goins, Lucy Littlejohn, Brennan McGlothin, and Ellen Ulerich.
First Grade: Fulson Lofton, Braxton Luke, Gabby Luke, Kayden Meyer, and Kinley Watkins.
Second Grade: Elliot Breazeale, Easton Hunt, Marcus Lacey, Grey Martin, and Reagan McCoy.
Third Grade: Emmett Breazeale, Cristina Demecio, Kyle Grice, Adalia Lofton, Ty Martin, Wesley McNutt, Kambie Perry.
Fourth Grade: Ayden Clark, Bella Davis, Rebecca Gilbert, Ryder Henderson, Amberlyn Hutchinson, Anderson Littlejohn, I'Marion Miller,, Adaleigh Mooney, Brianna Philley-Pollard.
Fifth Grade: Haelee Black, Olivia Browing, Rowan Dean, Tania Demecio, Aubree Ferguson, Laura Brooke Myers, Sophia Pham, and Bella Stanford.
Sixth Grade: Riley Arrowood, Knox Barlo, Kate Beard, Kami Beard, Kelsey Bridges, Ian Choppala, Elmar Gladney, Baylee Henderson, Madison Henderson, Emma Hunt, Jon David Leach, Archer Lofton, Olivia Massie, Kloey McKnight, Zarihya Moncrief, Alexis Patterson, Ty Rainey, and Gage Tutor.
WEIR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
3rd NINE WEEKS HONOR ROLL
3rd Grade-6th Grade None
5th Grade- None