DeSoto Schools Get Grade of “B” From Mississippi

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(Southaven, MS) DeSoto Central High Principal Cory Uselton gets results from his students.

Every year under his leadership, his school has earned a “star” or “A” rating.

DeSoto County as a whole, has always been judged a “High Performing” district.

That is until the grading system changed this year, resulting in a grade of “B."

Uselton says he still considers DeSoto an “A” district, ”I do, with what we’re doing, with the accountability that goes along with it. The difficulty of the tests. We’re very, very pleased with what we’re doing, but at the same time we’re always trying to get better."

The “B” grade came as a surprise to some, especially since no district had as many “A” Schools as DeSoto.

Lewisburg High was given the highest academic rating in the state.

There are those who think, but won’t say on the record, that this new grading system was created to help build a case for charter schools in Mississippi, by making it very hard for districts to make the top grade.

The switch to letter grades this year came with a tough grading scale with a top score of 199.

”We were at 190, which is on the very high end of that. We are actually eight points ahead of last year,” said DeSoto Schools Director of Accountability and Research Ryan Kuykendall.

Only three districts in Enterprise, Clinton and Pass Christian got the “A” rating.

Those districts are far smaller than DeSoto which is the State’s largest.

”The thing that doesn’t get put out there in the public, is growth is a major, major component. Student growth of this model and our student growth is among the highest, the very highest of the 152 school districts” said Kuykendall, who delivered new test materials Monday, and says the fight to get that “A” grade, begins today.

”We have a great school board, great Superintendent, and you’ve got to have those things to be successful,” said Uselton, who believes next year, the district will reclaim its “A” grade.