WPHS no longer listed as priority school by MDE

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

During Monday night’s West Point Consolidated School District Board of Trustee’s meeting, Superintendent Burnell McDonald announced West Point High School is no longer considered a priority school by Mississippi Department of Education.

McDonald said he received an e-mail from MDE with a list of all the priority schools that was reset in March, and WPHS was not on the list as a priority school.

“We can appreciate the high school is no longer a priority school,” McDonald said.

McDonald said WPHS was originally placed on the priority school list in the 2010-2011 school year because of it’s graduation rate, but once a school is placed on the list, MDE also looks at the schools’s state test scores and accountability levels.

“Over the last five years, we have improved in all those areas: student success on state tests, graduation rates and accountability levels,” McDonald said.

McDonald the graduation rate for the past four years has been about 70 percent, and for the last two years it has been about 80 percent.

WPHS principal Jermaine Taylor said the graduation rate for the 2016-2017 school year was between 86 percent and 91 percent, which was above state average.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Taylor said. “We’ve been a priority school for five years, and we’ve worked hard to change that. Our graduation rates are higher than ever.”

Taylor said teachers and administrators worked hard to improve graduation rates and were proud of the improvement.

“We focused on teaching and learning,” Taylor said. “We tracked students better to ensure they stayed on track to graduate which improved the graduation rates.”

McDonald said the district is still wanting to receive state test results from the 2016-2017 school year.

The board also unanimously approved a motion to raise all sporting event ticket prices by $1, making the most expensive ticket for football games at $7.

Assistant Superintendent Tim Fowler said the raise in ticket prices would offset the cost of sporting events.

“It’s been 9 years since we increased the ticket prices, and due to the fact that things just cost more nowadays we’re having to raise ticket prices,” Fowler said. “The money will go to security, referees and other expenses at the games.”

Fowler said the school district doesn’t make any money from sporting events.