County school talk benchmark concerns


The second Benchmark assessment scores for the 2019-20 academic year are in and all elementary schools in the Coahoma County School District earned a C, while Coahoma County Jr./Sr. High School’s score was a D.

School principals reported the scores and discussed strengths and weaknesses during the Tuesday, Feb. 11 board meeting.

Cortney Jackson, principal of the junior and senior high school, said the first grade was an F with a score of 483, but the recent grade went up to a D with a 540.

“We are moving in the right direction,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the overall growth in math was 56.5 percent.

“It was a really good gain for us, but it wasn’t as much as we got after the first Benchmark,” she said.

Jackson said growth in the bottom 25 percent was 14.25 percent.

“In reading, our proficiency was 53 percent proficient, which is really good for us,” she said.

Jackson said proficiency in science was 19.5 percent. She said 33 students are enrolled in US History and proficiency was 48 percent.

She said proficiency in science was 19.5 percent.

Jonestown Elementary School principal Charlette Artis-Harris was pleased with progress her school made.

“At the end of the results, we became a 353, which is a C,” she said. “So that means we met our goal.”

Artis-Harris said the overall growth in math was 86 percent.

“We’re still working on English,” she said. “The test was comprehensive, so this Benchmark should look excellent because we know how the questions are going to be asked and all of the standards. We can address those needs.”

The growth for all in English was 44 percent.

“We know we’ve got to be 80 percent, so we have a long ways to go,” she said. “We make a stride each day for that.”

Artis-Harris said each student’s growth is being measured and there are interventions and enrichment programs.

“We’re going to use the data to help drive instruction,” she said. “That way, the teacher can look and see what they do and make adjustments to their instructions as well.”

Lyon Elementary School did not reach its goal.

“I won’t say pleased to present, but I’m not upset to present this data because our goal is a B,” said Lyon Elementary School principal Crystal Gooden. “We make that declaration every morning. We declare, we decree that Lyon Elementary will be a B, but on our second Benchmark, our scores show that we are currently at a C with 348 points.”

The growth in English Language Acquisition was 55.5 percent and the growth in math was 56.7 percent.

“Where we failed was in our science,” Gooden said. “Right now, we don’t have a certified science teacher. Our science teacher did resign. However, we have some supports in place.”

Friars Point principal Latasha Turner said her school did pass its goal of a 330 score with a 343.6 for a C grade, but she still was not satisfied.

“I must say, when I first received the Benchmark data back, I wasn’t pleased because I really expected us to have a B,” Turner said.

Turner said, after looking at the data, she made adjustments with the staff to put people where they best fit.

“So we do know we need to work, but because of the changes we’ve already made, I’ve seen growth from the students,” Turner said. “It’s going very well at this moment.”

Sherard Elementary School principal Marcus Johnson said his school’s score was a 329 for a C.

“I am content, but I would be lying if I told you I was pleased with where we are right now,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he anticipated growing pains with fourth grade reading because the students scored so well in that area last year.

“I was concerned about being able to maintain that proficiency,” he said.

Johnson said he has seen growth in math.

He also said he has seen growth in the bottom 25 percent, which he calls the “most promising 25 percent.”


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