Hard work paying off

Hattiesburg (Miss.) American: Last Friday was report card day for school districts across Mississippi. For some, the accountability ratings showed just how much their hard work paid off. For others, the ratings were an indication that there is much more hard work to do.

There were 19 districts that received the top A rating in the 2012-2013 school year, according to data the Mississippi Department of Education made public on Friday. In 2011-2012, there were three A-rated districts.

F-rated districts fell to 15 from 20.

And the ratings marked a big milestone for the state. For the first time since Mississippi began using its current standardized tests, there were more districts on the top two rungs of the rating system — 60, than on the rungs now rated D and F, 51.

Mississippi switched to A-to-F last year, after having used a seven-step system running from a high of “star” to low of “failing” to rate its 151 districts.

Lamar County schools Superintendent Ben Burnett has the right attitude — celebrate your accomplishments but look at raising the bar.

And the educational bar is about to be raised. State education officials expect scores will drop when the new Common Core tests are administered for the first time in 2015.

Positive direction

But we’re encouraged by the direction in which our school districts are moving. Even Hattiesburg Public School District, which received a C rating, has plans in place to improve student performance and get things turned around.

Educators, parents and students across Forrest and Lamar counties deserve a big pat on the back for their accomplishments. Their hard work is paying off.

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