Upper Elementary

Houston Upper Elementary School teachers pictured include back row from left: Carol Johnson, Rena Mixon, Chris Eldridge, Betsy Whitt, Sam Baker, Beverly Floyd, Pam Kelly, Shay Atkins, Kinta Atkins; middle row from left: Michelle Rish, Janet Smith, Betty Adams, Beverly Chandler, Pearly Carr, Linda Heair, Creadence Randle, Rebecca Wortham, Krystal Kipapa, Suzanne Moore, Barbara Klauser, Lana Cruse, Stacey Storey, Sharon Atkinson; front row from left: Trista Richardson, Andria Tate, Deanna Ashcraft, Leigh Ann Kimbrough, Peyton Herrington, Lakin Upshaw, Heather Boyer, Julie Hodnett, Pat Geiss, Alyssa Pettit, Amy Alford, Anna Leise Tedford.

HOUSTON --Houston School District has its first-ever “A” rated school this year, according to state figures.

And while district officials are proud, they’re continuing to march toward their long-term goal: An “A” rated district.

Meeting both those goals will help the community in a variety of very important ways, district officials said this week.

Houston Upper Elementary received 452 accountability points and an “A” rating for the 2018-2019 school year, according to Superintendent Tony Cook.

“This is a very important and a very significant achievement for our district and for our community. The first component families or businesses look for in a community is the quality of the school system.

“Our goal is to be an “A” rated district so that our students have the same opportunities as students in other communities with high performing school systems, and so that our community can compete for future businesses seeking to relocate or to open new offices.

Reaching that goal will require laser-like focus and a hand-in-hand effort between the school district and the community, the superintendent said.

In four years, the district has increased 130 points on the accountability model. In 2014-2015, the district had an accountability point total of 524 and received a low “C” rating. Currently, the district has a point total of 654, and a “B” rating for the third straight year, according to state figures.

“This 130 point increase is one of the highest in the state over the last four years and places the district in the top 30 percent of the state. The district has also received the Mississippi School Board’s Leadership Lighthouse award for the last two years consecutively.

“This achievement is a testimony to the commitment and dedication demonstrated by the students, staff, and parents of the Houston School District. District employees work tirelessly to ensure that our students are receiving high quality instruction and support on a daily basis.

“When you see a teacher or principal, stop them, pat them on the back, and thank them for what they do for our students and for our community. They all have families to care for, yet they make the time and effort to make every student one of their own. Please show your appreciation and support of them,” the superintendent said.

Principal Trevor Hampton said the “A” rating came as a result a “lot of hard work from the faculty, staff and students.

“We started with the mindset that an “A” rating was attainable, since we’ve had a B rating for several years. We believed our mission was to focus on a high level of teaching and student learning every day. We knew if we did that, the ratings would come, and they did.”

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