The Lauderdale County School District is being recognized by state leaders. For the second year in a row the Mississippi School Board Association is honoring the district with a Lighthouse School Leader Award; it recognizes the top school districts in Mississippi. With a 'B' rating, Lauderdale County is one of 50 school districts that scored at least a 'C' in state testing last spring. However, in the future that could change.
"We're happy with being a 'B' school district, but we certainly want to move toward being an 'A'," says Superintendent Randy Hodges with the Lauderdale County School District.
The district is striving to get that 'A' rating under the guidelines of a new curriculum which has been adopted by the state. It's called Common Core, and it will require Lauderdale County students to take the same exams that students in the forty plus other states which have adopted the curriculum will take.
"Across the state we had some pilot schools that implemented Common Core, and their scores dropped as was anticipated because it's more rigorous, more challenging and more difficult," says Hodges.
In the past tests were often multiple choice, and students could simply darken in the answer. However, with the Common Core Curriculum students will be required to do much more and explain how they determined the answer.
"So, we're in the transition year moving from the old state framework to the new Common Core," says Hodges. "It is harder; it is more difficult. Statistics and data from across the state tells us that 'yes, your scores are going to drop,' but at the same time we're preparing for the future. I think in the end the state will gain from it because yes it is harder, but ultimately we will have a better student."
Although Lauderdale County schools are starting to implement the Common Core Curriculum this year, students will not be tested on that format until next year.
Meanwhile, other local districts that received the Lighthouse Leadership Award this year were: Enterprise and Union, which both received an 'A' rating, and Neshoba, Scott, Smith, Jones and Newton County schools.