A longtime fixture near the top of the Mississippi Department of Education accountability ratings, Ocean Springs High School is set to assume the position as the top-ranked high school in Mississippi after a meeting of the Commission on School Accreditation Tuesday.  The results will become official after the State Board of Education votes to accept the ratings Thursday for the 2018-2019 school year.

The accolades did not stop there for Ocean Springs School District, as the district checked in as the second highest performing district in the state, the best rating in the district’s history. OSSD remained the highest performing school district on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the section of the state which is now overwhelmingly dominated with A-rated school districts. 

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“When our district was recognized as the third-highest district in the accountability ratings last year, I was elated,” said OSSD Superintendent Dr. Bonita Coleman.  “Over the last eight years, we have moved up each year in the state’s rankings by focusing on building leader and teacher capacity to meet the needs of our learners. More and more families are choosing OSSD, and we are proud to add another layer of shine to the Greyhound legacy.”

School districts are ranked on a 1,000-point model which takes 13 categories into consideration. Test results are based on all students participating in tests across the district, while other results are based on how students at district high schools achieve.

The areas are as follows:

  • Reading Proficiency
  • Math Proficiency
  • History Proficiency
  • Science Proficiency
  • Reading Growth
  • Math Growth
  • Reading Low Growth
  • Math Low Growth
  • EL Progress (if applicable)
  • Acceleration (college level courses)
  • College and Career Readiness
  • Graduation Rate

Only Petal outranked OSSD in the district accountability rankings. Both districts improved a spot from last year’s rankings.  All of the schools in OSSD ranked as A-rated schools.

“Every student who takes a test, an advanced course, or is a member of one of our graduation cohorts figures into our district accountability data,” said Coleman. “Our success as a district depends on the success of each of our students.  The success of all our Greyhounds, whether in kindergarten or 12th grade, has been and will continue to be our main focus.”

All high schools are ranked on a 1,000-point system where points are awarded in 13 different categories. OSHS lead all schools in the state with 811 points. Only three other schools crossed the 800-point mark: Hernando High School (809), West Harrison High School (807), and Enterprise High School (804).

“To improve when you are near the top of the rankings is a difficult task,” said OSHS Principal Dr. Vickie Tiblier. “Teachers have to be willing to accept the challenge of helping every student achieve in the classroom.  Students have to be willing to accept responsibility for their learning. Administrators have to accept the risks that come with making changes to an already successful system, and support personnel often go as the unsung heroes, as they spend every day supporting what our teachers, students and administrators are doing in our building.”

While reaching the top of the state’s accountability ratings thrilled Tiblier, she also noted that it cannot be a stopping point.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for everyone involved in this,” said Tiblier. “We need to take a moment to celebrate this accomplishment and understand what we did to make it happen. However, we cannot let this be our crowning achievement. We still have areas for improvement, and we must continue to work to improve in those areas to continue to deliver the best education possible for our students.”