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Local schools always trying to improve

 

Oxford High School’s test scores give it the highest rating possible while Lafayette High School rates in the third-highest category.  

OHS is ranked a Star school. Lafayette is ranked Successful.

Oxford School Board president Bella J. Chain said other schools in the district were ranked as high performing, which is the ranking between star and successful.

The tests students must pass to graduate are part of the SATP (Subject Area Testing Program). Tests are given in Algebra 1, U.S. History, Biology I and English II.  

OHS princpal Mike Martin said very few students are unable to graduate from OHS because of their tests, though he admitted it may be a factor in some students’ decisions to drop out before graduation.

“We offer a credit recovery program to help students ‘catch up’ and graduate on time,” said Suzanne Liddell, the director of federal programs and student assessment for the Oxford School District.

The graduation rate for the Oxford School District is 86 percent while the statewide rate is 74 percent, according to Liddell.

All students at OHS take a class designed to help them succeed on these tests, Martin said. He emphasized the role of the faculty and staff’s dedication in making these impressive scores possible.

“We have a wonderful staff here that is doing everything within their power to help prepare students for state testing,” Martin said.

Chain said that test scores are not the most important thing to the Oxford School District.

“We try not to teach to the test,” she said. “We try to educate the whole child, and we do have intervention strategies for students that don’t score well.”

After-school tutoring is required if students are not doing well in class, Chain said.

At LHS, they provide after-school tutoring two evenings per week. Lafayette County superintendent Adam Pugh said that the teachers often come in early in the morning or stay late in the afternoon for any students who need help.

Outside tutors come in around testing times to work with the kids, Pugh said.

The Lafayette County schools offer in-school remediation for some students and use computer-based programs to help the students prepare for the tests.

Both districts have seen improvement in the past few years. OHS’s improvement is seen in its ranking. These rankings incorporate how much the schools have improved as well as their overall scores, Martin said.

At Lafayette, improvement has been present, but Pugh is not ready to see it stop.

“I want to continue to grow and get much better at what we’re doing,” he said.

Pugh hopes to improve the school’s ranking in the next couple of years.

“Star school is what we’re shooting for,” he said.