The Biloxi school board set aside more than an hour Tuesday night to recognize a parade of students, teachers and administrators who have made Biloxi Public Schools one of the 10 best school districts in the state.
Dozens of students and teachers from the district's six schools were recognized for their performance in statewide testing, where results show that Biloxi Public Schools jumped from No. 20 to No. 9 in the state, and went from having one star school to having three star schools, and from three successful schools to three high performing schools.
"We missed becoming a Star district by five points," Superintendent Arthur McMillan told the standing-room-only crowd at the Biloxi school board meeting. "We were only eight points off the second place school, and we were the third highest on the Coast, and only one point behind Ocean Springs."
McMillan said later that the outstanding test scores meant the hard work must continue.
"Growth is what it's all about in all of the federal testing models," said McMillan, who came to Biloxi from Enterprise, a small school district that topped state rankings. "The models are all concerned about whether you grow that student an academic year. And it's not about growing the class an academic year; you are graded on whether each student grows an academic year. Itís crucial for us to keep growing this way because we want our student to compete in a global marketplace.
"We've done well, and our numbers are good, but now we are going to be judged by those numbers," McMillan declared. "We must grow from where we are today. That means the pressure is on the students, the teachers, the administrators, and, yes, the parents, who play such an important role in this equation.
"The good news is that we have shown that we are capable of succeeding. We know that with hard work we can do it. And that's what we must keep doing."
See the photos: To see dozens of images from the school board meeting, click here.
By the numbers
Here are charts to show students and teachers who were recognized Tuesday evening:
How the individual schools in the district and the district itself fared in testing
The best of the best students
The best of the best secondary teachers
The best of the best elementary teachers
How Biloxi did among Coast schools, ranked by QDI
Get your share of millions of dollars in scholarships
Biloxi seniors last year were offered 424 scholarships valued at more than $5.7 million, and the high school wants to tell parents and students what money is available this year and how they can get it.
Biloxi High School is hosting a Financial Aid Night for seniors and their parents or guardians on Monday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. in the BHS cafeteria.
Information concerning filling out financial aid paperwork, applications, grants, important deadlines, and college scholarships will be discussed.