West Point school district gets D rating from MDE

Josh Presley

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) recently released its accountability report, and the West Point Consolidated School district received a D grade. Within the district, West Clay Elementary received a D rating, Fifth Street Junior High received an F rating, with the remaining schools rated a C.
Schools are rated based on student achievement, individual student growth, graduation rate and participation rate. Each school can achieve a certain amount of points to attain a letter grade, and WPCSD Superintendent Burnell McDonald said the ratings could be misleading due to the change in scale from year to year.
“A lot of times we can look at a letter grade and make assumptions and think things are terrible and not getting any better,” McDonald said. “Last year we were a C, this year we’re a D. It bothers me to have to stand here and say we’re a D district.”
He said that although the district’s rating went down this year, WPCSD received more points overall this year than last year. According to McDonald, the state decreased the amount of points needed to achieve and A or B rating, while increasing the amount of points needed for a C.
“They moved the points down for A and B, while moving them up for C,” he said. “This is not right to me. We are not a D district. The Oxford School District has the highest achievement gap in the state, and they’re an A district. Some other schools in our region have F schools and are still A districts. We had three of five schools as C schools.”