Area principal takes issue with MDE school grading system

Calls for overhaul and accountability in practices and policies

DORSEY, Miss. (WCBI) – The principal of the Dorsey Attendance Center is taking to social media to refute the most recent school ranking from the Mississippi Department of Education.

When Dorsey Attendance Center received an F rating from the state, Principal Grant Martin was shocked and upset.

“There are two letters people remember: an A school and an F school, and we are not an F school,” Martin said.

Martin contacted the Department of Accountability at the Mississippi Department of Education. MDE requires schools to test 95% of students who are in grades three through six. Martin said Dorsey is a small school, meaning that a few students out on testing days can make the school miss the goal. The penalty for missing that mark is a letter grade drop on the school rankings. Martin appealed the state score.

“We are a school going up, not down and the state of Mississippi should acknowledge that,” Martin said.

Martin said the Department of Accountability said two students had not been tested. But the principal explained those two could not take any tests at Dorsey, because they had moved a month before the state tests. The two students were still in the Mississippi Student Information System, or MSIS.

“They were still in the system, on April 1 even though the students had moved on March 17 and enrolled in Tennessee on March 27. We gave the paperwork to the office of accountability, showing they were in Tennessee, and parents and the school wrote a letter. We had documentation and the appeal was still denied,” he said.

Martin said MDE should do a better job of updating its student information system.

“Someone should be held accountable,  and there needs to be changes about participation, when a student counts, how they count, but when a kid moves out of state, it should not be held against any school in the state of Mississippi,” Martin said.

The principal says he has heard from faculty, teachers, and administrators throughout the region and across the state with similar concerns. But he is the first one to speak out and he hopes it will lead to some changes.

A spokesperson for MDE sent us this statement: “The grade issued to Dorsey Attendance Center was determined based on an established policy of the Mississippi statewide accountability system, which applies to all schools in the state,” Shanderia Minor, Public Information Officer, MDE.

For 24/7 news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Categories: Featured, Local News