Bay High School students on Monday celebrated the fact that their school earned an “A” rating this year.

The Bay-Waveland School District Board of Trustees on Monday heard from several of the district's administrators about the district's accountability scores for the 2018-2019 school year.

Superintendent Dr. Sandra Reed said that for the "first time" in district history, the BWSD has been rated an "A" district.

Reed said that Waveland Elementary moved from a "D" rating to an "A;" North Bay Elementary moved from a "B" to an "A;" Bay-Waveland Middle School remained a "B;" and Bay High School moved from a "B" to an "A."

Steven Engle, principal at Waveland Elementary last year, said that "North Bay carries our scores."

"It's based on the proficiency in the third- grade reading test and growth from third to fourth grade," he said. "Our scores are directly tied into North Bay and their staff."

Engle said that another factor for the improved rating was the administration's approval of the addition of assistant teachers, "which opened up a whole new round of interventions in helping these children grow."

Jeremy Weir, who served as principal of North Bay Elementary last year, said that NBE grew "111 points" in total.

"It's all because of the hard work of the teachers and the kids," Weir said.

Weir also thanked the administration and the board for its support.

"We've had support that we've never had before and it trickled right down to every student," he said.

Jenny Seymour served as the principal for BWMS last year.

Last year, the school was identified as an Additional Targeted Support and Improvement status school, which was based on the average of students with special needs and disabilities' performance over the past three years. The students fell in the bottom five percent of all special education students in the state, Seymour said. Every month, Seymour was required to provide the board a report.

As of now, Seymour said, BWMS was "one of 16 of 297 schools that had made it out of school improvement."

Seymour went over some of the programs that were implemented last year as a result of the ATSI designation including: Data analysis; Tiger Time targeted intervention for all students; additional targeted intervention for students with disabilities; three days a week after-school programs for students with disabilities; monthly progress monitoring and data tracking; individualized instruction; improved testing accommodations; and the addition of student planners and student IDs.

Bay High School principal Dr. Amy Coyne said that the high school's score rose from a 737 to 782.

Coyne said that the rise in the high school's scores comes from "really committed people who are making sure the kids know that they're loved and taken care of before they're able to proceed."

Coyne also shared how BHS ranks against other schools in the state: BHS ranks tenth in the state out of 156 high schools; BHS's reading proficiency is 13th in the state; BHS's math proficiency ranks 22nd in the state; BHS's growth for all student ranks ninth; BHS ranks sixth in the state in the reading growth in the most promising 25 percent category; and BHS ranks fourth in the state in the math growth in the most promising 25 percent category.

Nicole Menotti, the district's director of curriculum and instruction, spoke about the district's overall accountability data.

The district is tied with DeSoto County for 19th in the state, she said. The district was the only one in the state to move from a "C" to an "A" rating, Menotti said.

"Our growth in graduating rate went from number 90 to number 12 in the state," she said.

The district ELA's most promising 25 percent moved from 101 in the state to number one, Menotti said. The district's math most promising growth moved from 131 to 10.

The overall ELA growth moved from 36 to 31 in the state, Menotti said. The overall Math growth moved from 52 to 37 in the state, she added.

Menotti also mentioned some areas where the district will continue to focus.

"We moved from number 30 to number 39 in the state in ELA proficiency," Menotti said. "And if you look at the coastal areas, we are not in the top of the coastal rankings in proficiency. We're at the top in growth, but not proficiency."

Menotti said the district remained at 52 in math proficiency. The district's acceleration moved from 141 to 133, but "it is still one of the lowest of the state, thus our need to move to dual enrollment."

"Our college and career ready, which is ACT, dropped from 25 to 24 in the state," she said. "We do have a plan of teaming with Harrison County, Pass Christian, Pascagoula, and Gautier to work on certifying some of our teachers to be ACT-certified teachers."

Menotti said the district is "high in growth, but staying about the same in proficiency and we've got to do better in proficiency, so that's one of the things we've got to work on."

Reed said that someone asked her how the district moved from a "C" to an "A" in one year.

"What I said was, we came in, we got unquestionable support from the board," she said. "We then in turn formed a really rock solid leadership team that offered unconditional support to our schools. And that's how we did it."

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