We have the best schools in the state. We know that.
And high schools in Pass Christian and Ocean Springs are getting nationwide recognition from U.S. News & World Reports, which rates Pass High the best in the state. Ocean Springs High was rated third.
We hope the rest of the state is taking note, too, because Mississippi's struggling schools could learn a lot from Pass Christian and Ocean Springs.
First, these top schools are in tight-knit communities that recognize the importance of education. One of the first questions a potential employer asks about is the schools. They don't want adequate schools, either. They want great schools.
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These cities know that.
"We get a lot of support from the community, our central office and we have the best teachers and students. I think that plays a big role as to why we're successful," said Pass High principal Robin Killebrew. "We try to get out in the community. We have events like Pirate Palooza, the Pirate showcase and other fundraisers. We get out to Rotary and talk to the alumni association. And we are very supportive of student activities. We go to athletic events. We show support outside the high school."
And both communities are generous when it comes to paying for education. Both spend far above the average spent per pupil in the state. That translates into better teachers, better facilities and better results.
But the state isn't as generous. This year, rather than spending more for already underfunded schools, the state has chosen to cut education spending.
"Like other schools, we have to deal with limited funding," Killebrew said. "You just have to adjust with what you have."
We're sorry they have had to make that adjustment but we're pleased they've handled it admirably.
Both schools received a silver medal. Perhaps there is a gold medal in their futures.
"While we enjoy this ranking, we will continue to seek out ways to improve as we guide our students on their quest to college and career readiness," Killebrew said.
We invite the rest of the state to join us on the journey to academic excellence.
We hope the rest of the state is taking note, too, because Mississippi's struggling schools could learn a lot from Pass Christian and Ocean Springs high schools.
This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists, and cartoonists are their own.