By Alyssa Schnugg
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright visited Oxford and Lafayette County schools Thursday to congratulate them for being “A” districts and present them with an Award of Excellence.
Wright first stopped at Lafayette Elementary where she was treated by several Christmas songs from the Lafayette High Choir.
At 11 a.m., she spoke at Oxford Intermediate School after the school’s concert band performed several holiday pieces and was “interviewed” by the school’s Charger Chat podcast.
Superintendents Adam Pugh for Lafayette and Brian Harvey for Oxford thanked Wright and their prospective faculty, staff and students for helping the district achieve what many schools in Mississippi did not. There are 151 school districts in Mississippi. Of those, 31 achieved an ‘A’ rating in the 2018-2019 school year.
According to Wright, the Lafayette County School District was one of 22 districts that achieved an A rating two years in a row and Oxford was one of nine school districts that have achieved an A rating for the last four years; however, the OSD has actually received an A rating every year since the Mississippi Department of Education started issuing the district grades in 2012.
Wright said that schools achieving an ‘A’ rating often share several things in common, including high expectations for children and staff; a laser-light focus on what’s happening in the classrooms; using data to make better decisions and community involvement.
However, she also pointed out what makes Oxford and Lafayette school districts “unique.”
At Lafayette, Wright noted that two LCSD teachers have won teacher of the year in the last two school years and passed a bond by 91 percent to build a new elementary school.
“When people vote for a bond issue, not all those people have students in the school district,” she said. “But they believe in the school system and they believe in the quality of the education it provides.”
In Oxford, she pointed out the district’s new initiatives—including the 95 in 5 Plan and Portrait of a Graduate—the district has the highest number of graduating students who are college and career ready in the state and the district’s focus at closing the achievement gap.
“It’s one thing to recognize an achievement gap,” she said. “But there’s an absolute leadership commitment in closing that gap and that’s something Oxford should really be proud of.”