Failing schools in NASD, state at risk

Published 12:09am Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NATCHEZ — Two Natchez schools in Natchez would be removed from local school board control if Mississippi lawmakers pass an education bill that would enforce state control on failing schools.

But Natchez-Adams School District officials said they already have plans in place to ensure that won’t happen — even if the proposed bill passes.

The Senate Education Committee added a proposal to House Bill 890 last week, which would allow the state Department of Education to take over any F-rated school that doesn’t reach a C rating after two years, or any F-rated school that improves to C and then ever drops back to D or F.

The two-year clock would begin running with the ratings that follow the school year beginning next fall. That means takeovers could begin sometime after fall 2015.

The state accountability model that grades and rates schools uses a system of A through F to rate schools.

The NASD — along with Morgantown Elementary School and Natchez High School — received an F rating in last year’s accountability results.

Superintendent Frederick Hill said the bill will put into place something that might not need legislative attention.

“It shouldn’t take a law to get our schools to where they need to be,” Hill said. “Anytime you have a failing school, it’s something that needs to be addressed, and I’m confident that we are on the right track to getting away from that designation of F.”

Hill took over as head of the school district on July 1 — after all testing related to last year’s ratings — with one of his main challenges being to increase student achievement.

The state rankings are based on two factors — test score performance and a growth target measuring the improvement students make on tests.

Test score performance is judged based on a formula called a Quality Distribution Index.

The QDI reflects the academic achievement of all students in the district and is represented on a scale of zero to 300, with higher numbers showing a better rating.

The plan Hill has implemented in the district includes raising the district’s QDI rating from a 124 to a 166.

“If we can make that jump we will be labeled as a successful school district and even a high performing district,” Hill said. “It has to be a district-wide effort to help all the schools improve, and I feel very confident that as a district we will reach that goal.”

NASD Board of Trustees President Wayne Barnett said the bill allowing state takeovers doesn’t worry him as much as failing schools.

“What I’m worried about is the schools, whether that’s in Adams County or somewhere else, that are failing,” Barnett said. “If the state can do a better job, more power to them, but I don’t think that’s the answer.

“I think the answer is local control.”

Barnett said the plan Hill has implemented in the district, along with a constant communication between Hill and the board, is the answer to getting the district out of the ranks of failing schools.

“We want to improve public schools, and I think we’ve taken a step in the right direction by hiring Dr. Hill and putting those plans into place,” Barnett said. “We’re trying to make the changes that need to be made and communicate to teachers and principals that it’s time to move this district forward.

“I think you’re going to see, within two years, a different report card for our district.”

  • Anonymous

    Just leave it at “two Natchez schools”

  • Anonymous

    When you change the schools from being a day care to schools that hold the student, teachers AND parents (parent) accountable you may start to see improvement. Right now, you can’t fire the incompetent teachers, the parents (parent) only wants a daycare and most of the students couldn’t care less.

  • Anonymous

    All you got to do is tie their entitlement check to grades and you would see a difference in attitude.

  • Anonymous

    Many thanks to Bucket and the boys for completely slaughtering the school system. It is dead now. The tombstone should be here shortly.

  • Anonymous

    I think the new superintendent Dr. Hill will do everything in his power to correct as much as he can. However, with both of those schools; discipline is the key. I’ve visisted both schools, and have distant relatives that attend both schools. I also know most of the staff at both schools. Except for the odd one or two they are exceptional. However, at both schools the discipline is not where it should be. The system is going to have to grow a backbone, stand up to parents and make them accountable as well. Teachers can’t teach and those that want to learn can’t learn until the discipline is improved. Both schools need a zero tolerance policy.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Now I like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its so factual!!!

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    I have to admit that this is one thing this republican state legislature has done right for we have watched over 3 decades of Adams county public schools go straight down to nothing!! With students leaving high school and not able to do math, write , spell, english, or basis education subjects!! Adams county during its day had the highest academics in the state in public schools but you know the rest of the story!!

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Think of this way-if you had your family with 4 kids in public schools in Denver Colorado and had a chance to move to Natchez knowing that if you made the move you would have to put your 4 kids in private schools to get a good education(with spending these kids college education money) would you move to Natchez huh’??!!! This isn’t hard to answer!!

  • Anonymous

    “I think the answer is local control”…we clearly see what local control is capable of Mr. Barnett and that is failure.

  • Anonymous

    Then how are some of the student able to pass the state test if they are not able to do math, write, spell, do english or learn basis educational subjects!!!!!!! Remember it is the state that creates the test and rates the school systems. So where is the problem? How would you fix the problem?

  • Anonymous

    At what point was Natchez High a decent grade? When Parents quit worrying about their kids and expect everyone else to do the parents jobs in raising them, this happens. When the system cannot back up discipline to students who deserve it, this happens.
    I went to ACCS, McLaurin, and South Natchez. The most educational thing I received was from Vo-Tech. Those teachers I could relate to. I was a hands on build it and watch it work student. I had a dislike for school and my grades reflected that. My parents tried though. They stayed on me and did what they could, but it was up to me to see it through. Parents can’t shelter their kids nor can the school.
    There are so many variables to what students relate to and the choices could be very slim, with some of this due to funding I would assume and other parts are due to the lack of involvement by parents. This is becoming a “They Owe Me” society and it will take a skillful approach by school board to correct this, but there will be a sad part of a collateral damage of students who cannot or will not have what it takes to to make the grade unless parents stand up and take care of their own, but that should have started years ago. The teachers can only do so much. Some teachers will not even do the minimum due to the twists in the system that our society has allowed to take place with the fear of rocking the boat and having the chance of discipline placed on them.

  • Anonymous

    High school is not a day care. There are many young men and women that complete high school and go on to college. They complete college and find their way in the job market. They are not babies but young men and women.

  • Anonymous

    Teachers are only part of the picture. To fix the schools you need to fix the whole picture. Fixing part of it will never work.

  • Anonymous

    What’s the “hold” picture? This is a refreshing suggestion. I would recommend putting a “hold” on any further tax increases to fund a failing public institution. Our public schools are a disgrace.

  • Anonymous

    Birth control. Embrace the concept.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Apparently the state test has been brought way way down(35 years) to a level to let these people pass or there is cheating going on by student and teachers!! But I feel if this republican legislature of Ms. has the medicine to cure the problem that I support them and I’m a die hard democrat and hope the bill passes!!!! Maybe when passed it will get rid of the school leaders, school board(very well needed to do in Adams county) and teachers that aren’t doing what they receive a pay check and benefits that need to find another career huh’??!!!!!

    In a message dated 3/12/2013 9:12:53 P.M. Central Daylight Time, notifications@disqus.net writes:

    (http://disqus.com/)

    natsanus wrote, in response to khakirat:
    Then how are some of the student able to pass the state test if they are not able to do math, write, spell, do english or learn basis educational subjects!!!!!!! Remember it is the state that creates the test and rates the school systems. So where is the problem? How would you fix the problem?
    _Link to comment_ (http://redirect.disqus.com/url?url=http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2013/03/12/failing-schools-in-nasd-state-at-risk/#comment-82738393 0:vUR8cxaOQDfeMReRdcf4LV5xUak&impression=81d95746-8b83-11e2-bcf8-003048db5ee e&type=notification.post.registered&event=email&behavior=click)

  • Anonymous

    Mmmmm; How did you edit your original comment and replace “hold” with “whole”?

  • Anonymous

    What evident do you have to support your assertions. Do you really think the state is involved in misleading these young men and women? Do you really think these kids are not capable of learning? I would really like to know what drives your assertions. Shame on the state government if it is involved such an ugly deception.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for correcting my use of the word “hold”. I didn’t shut mine computer down therefore with your help I was able to edit mine comment.

  • Anonymous

    Yourne welcome.