State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright applauds as Amory School District Superintendent Ken Byars receives an award for the district’s A rating during a community celebration last week at Frisco Park. Joining in the applause were Amory School Board members Robert Pickle, left, and Jimmy Ann Ray.

AMORY – State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright formally celebrated the Amory School District’s A rating Nov. 6 during a community celebration at Frisco Park, which included special guests and performances by students.

“Amory is one out of only seven districts in the state to meet early childhood education requirements. Amory is one of only 31 districts to earn an A,” she said, also recognizing Amory High School history teacher Masha Laney’s service to her advisory committee.

Wright reviewed what it takes to be an A-rated district through the Mississippi Department of Education.

“We look at how all students are excelling. Scores are analyzed for growth. We also look at how well both struggling and high-achieving students are served. Amory has excelled in all areas. Amory has grown over 100 points in the state accountability model. All subjects are placing among the top percentages,” she said.

Wright offered a challenge to the students.

“Continue to work hard and aim high. Achievement is at an all-time high,” she said.

She named stellar Mississippi statistics for the fourth- and eighth-grade benchmarks based on national assessments.

“Eighth-graders advanced more than most others in the state. Fourth-grade reading and math scores are number one in the nation. ‘Mississippi is last’ is the old story. Mississippi is the talk of the nation now, and I intend to be back here next year,” Wright said.

She was also pleased to announce that since beginning her position in 2013, graduation rate has increased to an all-time high of 84 percent throughout the state.

Amory School District Superintendent Ken Byars was concise in his response.

“I hope this will be an annual event as well. Our community is only as strong as our school district,” he said.

Byars’ sentiment was echoed by East Amory Elementary School teacher Heather Moody, who attended with husband and fellow staff member, Chris.

“Hard work pays off,” she said.

Mayor Brad Blalock served as the celebration’s master of ceremonies, saying he was glad that his child was getting a quality education from an A-rated school district.

Honored guests included the board of aldermen, Amory School Board and District 7 Sen. Hob Bryan.

Choirs from both the district’s elementary schools were joined by the Amory High School marching band and cheerleaders.

West Amory Elementary School students sang “Thank You Teachers,” which was followed by a patriotic medley performed by East Amory Elementary School students featuring “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

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