For Immediate Release: Sept. 27, 2022

    Tishomingo County School District to Earn First New Grade Since the Start of the Pandemic

    The Tishomingo County School District will earn an “A” rating for its performance in the 2021-22 school year when the Mississippi State Board of Education approves official grades for Mississippi schools and districts on Thursday, Sept. 29.

    Mississippi’s schools and districts are graded on an A-F scale. The grades are part of the state’s accountability system, which helps teachers, school leaders, parents and communities know how well local schools and districts are serving students.  

    The Tishomingo County School District’s “A” grade is largely due to the progress students made during the 2021-22 school year rebounding after achievement declined in the first year of the pandemic.

    “We are so excited to maintain our ‘A’ rating from 2018-2019.  This success is due to the hard work of our students, teachers, staff, administration, school board, and parents through an unprecedented time in history.  Our classrooms had to change dramatically due to COVID-19.  Staff, students, and parents had to learn to use technology in ways we were not used to as well as deal with multiple absences caused by COVID or quarantine requirements.  We truly have great teachers, administrators, and staff who had to totally shift daily operations to make school safe to open while trying to ensure students could learn each and every day.  So to maintain an ‘A’ rating is phenomenal,” explained superintendent Christie Holly. 

    Statewide, Mississippi students made more progress than they typically do in one year as schools focused on accelerating learning after the first year of the pandemic. However, key factors including a student achievement decline in 2020-21, testing waivers, and one-year adjustments to the accountability system played a role in 2021-22 school and district grades. Therefore, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) advises caution when interpreting score changes between the 2018-19 and 2021-22 school years.  In particular, substantial shifts in performance may be temporarily influenced by factors associated with pandemic disruptions.  “As most people know, when the pandemic hit, the federal government issued waivers to states since schools were unable to test in 2019-2020, and the pandemic continued to impact students and staff in 2020-2021.  While we tested in 2020-2021, those results were skewed due to the continuing effects of the pandemic on school attendance and required quarantines and isolations due to exposure and sickness.  Those numbers were pretty low in comparison to where we were at the end of 2019.  Our results from last year showed some incredible growth in certain areas that we know are not sustainable from year to year.  That is why MDE is cautioning that school and district ratings may experience a pendulum ‘correction’ over the next few years until we get back to data that is not impacted by missing test scores or severely impacted data from COVID years,” said Holly.

    The MDE emphasizes the importance of looking at the individual components that contribute to school and district grades to get a more complete picture of student growth and achievement, particularly student proficiency levels.

    Mississippi’s school grading system considers many indicators, including how well students perform on Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) tests for English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades 3-8 and high school, whether students are showing improvement on those tests from year to year, and whether students are graduating within four years. The system also factors in performance on the ACT and advanced high school courses and how well schools are helping English learners and the lowest-achieving students make progress toward proficiency. “Our schools have worked very hard to increase graduation rates, offer accelerated coursework for our high school students, and increase growth rates for each child.  If you look at our numbers, we have done an outstanding job in some of these areas,” Holly explained.  “The Tishomingo County School District has invested part of its COVID-relief funding into in-school tutors that work with students throughout the school year as well as after-school tutoring in the spring.  Our goal was, and continues to be, to use these funds to put people in front of our children so we can close learning gaps caused by the pandemic.  While we are very excited about our ‘A’ ranking, we know we have to continue to improve our student proficiency and growth numbers.  We have seen English-language arts take more of a hit than mathematics.  So if possible, we need parents to help us with reading at home as much as possible, exposing children to grade-level vocabulary in the home, and using writing as appropriate with their child.  Any time our parents can assist our students with ELA or math concepts in the home, it helps our teachers tremendously.  Our kindergarten teachers are seeing a large learning gap in student learning as well.  We feel this is due to child care being limited during the pandemic and children not being exposed to critical information (colors, letters, and numbers) due to lack of child care.  While we will definitely celebrate our success, we know we need to keep the momentum going to help our students’ continuous learning,” stated Holly. 

    Here are the rankings for district schools:

    Belmont School (K-12 non-traditional) – B

    Burnsville Elementary School – C

    Iuka Elementary School – A

    Iuka Middle School – B

    Tishomingo County High School – B

    Tishomingo Elementary School - B


    Learn More About Mississippi’s A-F Accountability System