By STEVEN NALLEY
Starkville School District administrators informed stakeholders of the district’s current status and projections for its future at the first of four strategic planning meetings Thursday at Starkville High School, including projections for student enrollment growth that are leading administrators to look at creating a new, additional campus.
SSD superintendent Lewis Holloway gave a presentation on SSD facilities’ status that used enrollment for the 2012-2013 year in all grades to project enrollment in those grades for the next seven years, up through 2019-2020. This chart showed current SSD enrollment at 4,274, with projected enrollment in 2019-2020 at 4,765.
“The problem is, as a school district, our campuses are maxed out. There’s virtually no place to (add new buildings to existing campuses),” Holloway said. “It looks like, some time in the future, we may need another school.”
The redistribution of grade levels among campuses that would result from a new campus would probably lead to the new campus housing fifth and sixth graders or sixth and seventh graders, Holloway said. As for the existing facilities, Holloway said MGT of America’s Building Assessment System (BASYS) showed all buildings in the “Good” or “Fair” range, but Overstreet School was just two percentage points above falling from “Fair” to “Poor.”
SSD officials also talked about several initiatives the district has rolled out since Holloway became superintendent in summer 2012 and their effects on students and staff. Jody Woodrum, SSD superintendent for curriculum and instruction, talked about the Measures of Academic Progress Assessment and its ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of both students and teachers.
For instance, Woodrum said, MAP scores students not only on mathematics but also on categories such as algebra, data analysis, geometry and measurements. As a result, even though the SSD has only given one MAP assessment, it has already discovered patterns of strength and weakness, and parents can use the SSD’s Compass Odyssey tool to help children with their academic weaknesses at home.
“In algebra, we are higher than the national average in every grade from K-5,” Woodrum said. “Measurement is a relative weakness for us in middle school and can be traced back through every year from second to eighth grade. The good news is measurement is one of the easiest places where our parents can help us.”
Julie Fancher, SSD test coordinator, reported on the district’s state assessment results, including the district’s overall “C” or “Successful” grade and Quality Distribution Index of 155. She said the Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition used to determine this QDI will be replaced in 2015 with a new online assessment, and SSD staff will continue to strive toward higher QDIs.
“Although we are a ‘Successful’ school, are we really successful as a ‘C?’ It doesn’t feel that way,” Fancher said. “I know lots of you as parents, if our children came home with C’s, we would want to improve. So, we are aware of that. That’s part of your job on this committee is to help us with improving.”