By STEVEN NALLEY
Oktibbeha County School District Conservator Margie Pulley reported at the district's monthly meeting Monday that more seniors at both county high schools had passed the Subject Area Testing Program (SATP) required for graduation.
Pulley said district officials as well as consultants from Mississippi State University had worked closely with students who, earlier this year, had not passed all SATP tests. When this work began, she said, East Oktibbeha County High School had about 15 seniors who had not passed, and West Oktibbeha County High School had 18 seniors who had not passed.
Now, Pulley said, only six seniors had yet to pass at EOCHS, and only nine had yet to pass at WOCHS.
"We see significant improvement being made at these schools. When we came in January, we had many students who would not have graduated," Pulley said. "Remediation is still being provided for our students that need to graduate. The students still have two more opportunities to take these tests. We encourage teachers and parents to work with these children."
Pulley also broke these seniors down by the subject areas they had yet to pass. At EOCHS, she said, all seniors had passed in algebra, but seniors still needing to pass subject area tests included four in English, four in biology and two in U.S. history. At WOCHS, she said, these seniors included three in algebra, one in English, four in biology and nine in U.S. history.
OCSD is also working with Mississippi University for Women College of Education and Human Sciences Dean Sue Jolly-Smith on professional development for county school principals, Pulley said, teaching them proven leadership practices. She said the OCSD was also continually working on meeting accreditation standards.
"We will be contacting the office of accreditation so they can begin to look at the standards as we have completed them," Pulley said. "We continue to train our teachers. MSU is providing us assistance in all of the subject areas, also. We are grateful to MSU for the assistance they are providing us."
Pulley said that she and the Mississippi Department of Education saw the prospect of consolidating OCSD and Starkville School District as a legislative issue. As lawmakers continued to discuss consolidation, she said, the OCSD would remain focused on improving.
"We see improvements in academics, professional education personnel, attitudes and facilities," Pulley said. "We will continue to work to provide education in OCSD."
Pulley and East Oktibbeha County Elementary School Principal Yolanda Magee also accepted a $1,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield Mississippi for establishing a school wellness council and a school health council as state accountability standards require. Kathy Tucker, coordinator of outreach and innovation with Health Works Mississippi, presented the grant, and she said EOCHS had met the task with enthusiasm and understood the value of healthy students.
"Healthy students perform better. Healthy students have (higher rates of) attendance," Tucker said. "I really appreciate and enjoy working with you."
Finally, Pulley recognized Students of the Month, one of which was named for each grade at each school, and Employees of the Month, two of which were named for each school and three of which were named for district administrative offices, for February.