Jackson County

Here are 10 top reasons the No. 1 district on the Coast has to celebrate

Students with the Ocean Springs Upper Elementary participate in hands-on learning with a garden that they tend. Checking the pH balance is part of the experience.
Students with the Ocean Springs Upper Elementary participate in hands-on learning with a garden that they tend. Checking the pH balance is part of the experience.

The Ocean Springs School District is highest-ranked on the Coast, according to the 2016-17 Mississippi Department of Education accountability ratings, and three other districts also have a reason to celebrate.

Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Long Beach and Poplarville school districts were among 15 in the state to earn an A rating.

All four school districts are getting a visit from State Superintendent of Education Carey M. Wright for the annual Celebration of Excellence tour.

Wright visited Poplarville on Wednesday, and she’s going to Ocean Springs High School at 1 p.m. Monday and to Biloxi and Long Beach on Tuesday.

Ocean Springs Superintendent Bonita Coleman is proud of these top 10 accomplishments for 2016-17:

1. It is the highest rated “A” district in South Mississippi, ranking fifth in the state.

2. Its high school is ranked No. 1 on the Coast.

3. 98 percent of the third-graders passed the Third Grade Reading Gate (to advance to the next grade) the first time they took it. After a second shot at the test, the pass rate was 99 percent.

4. No. 1 on the Coast for scores on the state English test in grades 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8. They were second in the entire state for scores on the English II, high school exit exam.

5. No. 1 on the Coast in 8th grade math and in the Top 5 for scores on the state math test, grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8th grade Algebra I and high school Algebra I.

6. Kindergarteners taking the state Readiness Assessment scored double what was expected. They had an average improvement of more than 200 points, when the expectation is a gain of 100 points.

7. Students taking Advanced Placement exams exceeded the average score of students in the U.S. and the world on six of the exams and continued to increase qualifying scores in AP math and science.

8. In the rigorous program of study — International Baccalaureate — graduated 13, which is more than twice the general number of students at other schools. There are only two school systems in the state that offer IB, a program for juniors and seniors. Ocean Springs’ scores continue to exceed the national level.

9. Boasts a composite ACT score of 21.5, exceeding the national average of 20.8. It has 53 students with an ACT of 30 or better, one of them a freshman. And it has one student with a perfect score.

10. Has 173 students who scored passing or better on their AP exams, garnering from the School Board a $100 check for each AP class they passed. Some will get several hundred dollars.

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