The Hancock County Board of Education on Monday approved a superintendent's contract with Alan Dedeaux.

Back in January, the board met with Mississippi School Boards Association Executive Director Michael Waldrop about how –– for the first time in district history –– the board would have to appoint a superintendent, effective Jan. 1, 2020 and execute a contract.

The contract the board approved Monday is for two-and-a-half years.

Dedeaux said that the annual contract amount is $140,000.

"I'm excited to continue to be a part of the Hancock County School District," Dedeaux said. "It's an exciting time for our schools. So many things are going on in our academics and construction, and want to see more."

In a separate matter, the board heard from Tech prep and Curriculum Coordinator Kim Saucier about the district's recent accountability data.

For the 2018-2019 school year, the district earned an overall "A" rating, she said, and five "A's" and one "B" at the respective schools.

Saucier said the district's leadership began last school year with some goals.

"The goals were that each school would increase their proficiency on the ELA MAAP test by 10 percentage points and the Math MAAP by 10 percentage points," Saucier said. "We felt like if we could do that, then growth would take care of itself."

The following schools met the ELA goal: East Hancock by 11 points; South Hancock by 14.7 points; and Hancock North Central by 16.2 points.

The following schools met the Math goal: Hancock High School by 12.5 points; South Hancock by 14 points; North Central by 15.6 points; East Hancock by 16 points; and Hancock Middle School by 20.6 points.

"As a district, we increased by 7.5 percentage points in ELA and 16.6 points in Math," Saucier said. "So we definitely saw improvement. Now you do know that our accountability ratings and proficiency is just one part of it, the larger part is growth. But we knew that if we were improving the proficiency, the growth would also be improving."

Saucier said that each school grew in ELA except for the high school.

"Now, when you're looking at this data, this ELA proficiency, I want to remind you that we're comparing the 2016-2017 school year to the 2017-2018 school year. So you have to remember that's different groups of children."

In Math, the only school that didn't meet the goal was West Hancock.

"But everybody grew at least 7.1 points, except for the high school ELA," Saucier said. "Just some of them didn't make the 10 points."

Saucier said that there are measures in place to address ELA at the high school.

With regards to the third-grade reading test results, 88.3 percent of students passed and after good-cause exemption, that percentage rose to 97 percent, Saucier said.

The district's graduation rate rose from 82.8 percent to 84.1 percent, she said.

"Now, that doesn't mean that we had 16 percent of our students drop out," Saucier said. "The definition of graduation rate is a student who graduates with a traditional high school diploma in exactly four years. So if you graduated with an occupational diploma, you don't count. If you graduated with a certificate, you don't count. If you are just a regular student who struggled a little bit and you got behind and you got a traditional diploma in five years, you don't count, because it took five years."

Saucier said that the district's new goals are to increase proficiency again by 10 percentage points.

She added that instructors are also making data-based instructional decisions using real-time data.

The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 4 at East Hancock at 5:30 p.m.

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