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Petal schools top accountability ratings; Jackson Public Schools rated F again

APPROVED: The Mississippi Board of Education approved the 2016-17 accountability grades Thursday. Photo by Steve Wilson

The Petal School District received top marks in the annual school and district accountability grades issued by the Mississippi Department of Education Thursday.

Jackson Public School District — which has been recommended for a state takeover by the state Board of Education — was third from the bottom of the state's 147 school districts with half of its schools listed as failing by the MDE. It was the second consecutive failing grade for the embattled district.

The failing grade could be the final deciding factor on whether Gov. Phil Bryant decides to sign a declaration that would allow the MDE to take over the state's second largest district. The board voted Thursday to adjourn their meeting and postpone a work session on the JPS decision because travel issues with board members.

The MDE grades included:

  • Fifteen districts with an A grade.

  • Forty three school districts earned B grades.

  • Another 43 earned C grades.

  • Thirty six districts were rated with a grade of D.

  • Nine earned a grade of F.

The Leflore County School District received the lowest score among the state's 147 school districts, with Humphreys and JPS comprising the other two in the bottom three.

Booneville and Oxford tied for second highest, while the Enterprise School District was third, Ocean Springs was fourth and Clinton was fifth.

Among the three charter schools graded by MDE, Smilow Prep and Reimagine Prep earned D grades, while Midtown Public Charter School was graded with an F.

Six schools improved their grades from B to an A. Nine school districts improved from C grades in 2016 to B grades, while one school district, the Winona Separate School District, made a leap from a D grade in 2016 to a B.

The accountability grades are partially based on the performance of students and the annual progress made on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program tests for English language arts and mathematics, which are administered annually to students in the third through eighth grades and in high school.

Also figured into the accountability grades are the four-year graduation rate, student performance on biology, U.S. history and ACT tests, and student participation and performance in advanced coursework such as Advanced Placement.

This story was updated to reflect the end of the state Board of Education's meeting

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