Students at French Camp Elementary score 6th in the state on test scores

CHOCTAW COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – A Choctaw County school is one of the top in the state.

When the Mississippi Department of Education released test scores for 640 elementary schools across the state,

French Camp Elementary was ranked 6th overall.

How does a small school in rural Choctaw County end up being one of the best-performing schools in the state?

French Camp Elementary teacher Stacy Telano will tell you it starts with believing in their students.

“We set high expectations for our kids. We know that they are capable of way more than what people give them credit for and at the beginning of this year and last year we set goals and they surpassed them,” said Telano.

Those high expectations have really paid off.

“When the numbers started rolling in and it was looking like it was going to be pretty good when I told them I broke down into tears because I’m so proud of how hard they worked. Like teachers do what we can do but in the end, kids are the ones who perform,” said Telano.

Long-time counselor, Jerene Parker, has seen many changes at the school over the years. She is quick to give much of the credit to the teachers.

“I think we have a lot of new programs that are helping. The main thing is our teachers, Our teachers are super. They do a great job, they care about the kids, and they want the kids to do. Well, they don’t give up on them, ” said Parker.

After 2 years of COVID-altered schedules, there were struggles getting back into routines and making up lost ground, but with administrators, teachers, and students working together, they were able to rebound and excel.

“We saw some lack in reading fluency, comprehension, and just because a lot of students were reading in that time. When we got back in full swing we teachers quickly identified the gaps and the areas they were missing and went full swing ahead to try and fix those,” said Telano.

Parker says the community and parents are invested in the student’s success.

“We have a lot of support from the community here at French Camp and they are just as excited as we are.”

Elementary Principal Amber Vowell says the faculty and staff have created an environment that encourages and values learning.

“They try to make learning fun, and when you do that and the kids see that, the kids get behind you and the parents get behind you. I think when our students really love to learn they want to do the very best they can on these test scores. When you’re excited about being in here and you know how important education is, I think it’s just a trickle effect, ” said Vowell.

Now, teachers and staff are planning to celebrate the student’s success.

“We want to do something really special for our students. We want to let them know how special they are and how important they are. That includes the pre-K all the way through last year’s 6th graders because everyone plays a role in making the school special, ” said Vowell.

6th place is just the beginning.

“We want to do even better next year and that is our goal to keep going up,” said Vowell.

French Camp Elementary will be hosting a parade for its students.

They will be giving out prizes and certificates to kids on the football field Friday afternoon at 1:00.

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