Pass High among top schools in the nation
By Geoff Belcher
Apr 25, 2014, 21:23
The Pass Christian School District, long recognized as one of the state's best, got more kudos this week when Pass High was named one of the 2014 Best High Schools in the nation.
U.S. News and World Report on Tuesday released the 2014 Best High Schools Rankings, a list of standout schools that excel, not only in their own state, but nationally.
"At a time when public education endures a lot of criticism over standardized tests, dropout rates and ill-prepared graduates, it is exciting to see that great things are happening in the Pass Christian School District," Superintendent Beth John said this week.
U.S. News analyzed more than 31, 200 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were evaluated on overall student performance on state-mandated assessments, as well as how effectively schools educated their black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students. The evaluators then used participation in and performance on the Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams to evaluate how well schools prepared students for college-level course work.= To be eligible for a state ranking, a school must be awarded a national gold or silver medal.
"I am so pleased to announce that Pass Christian High School was the only school in Mississippi to earn a state ranking," John said. "Pass High is listed as the number one school in Mississippi. Out of 31,200 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Pass Christian High was ranked number 2,003."
John said Friday there is no "secret formula" to the district's success.
"First of all, we try to hire the best of the best and retain the best of the best, but then those people have to have the commitment that's part of our district culture," she said. "Relentless focus on student learning is at the heart of it.
" I don't know that that's a secret ... but a culture we've built here. We built it after the storm. All of our schools were destroyed. Our city was destroyed. That was a chance for us, I think, to figure out what it is we're really all about, to rebuild from the ground up. I think that helped us."
John said the district's administrators and staff meet each summer to look back at the prior year and see what worked and what didn't.
"We go back over our beliefs, we go back over our data, we revisit it," she said. "The key is never taking your eye off the goal. This is tough work. It really is challenging,
"We just want our students, whatever they choose to do when they leave high school, we want them to be successful ... When they leave us, we want them to feel confident in the world, whether they go to college or raise a family or whatever they decide to do."