HUES earns Champions of Change

Houston Upper Elementary School Principal John Ellison, center, holds the Mississippi Department of Education "Champions of Change" plaque the school earned for dramatically improving state test scores. Ellison is surrounded by the staff and teachers of Houston Upper Elementary School. (Floyd Ingram / Buy at photos.chickasawjournal.com)

Houston Upper Elementary School Principal John Ellison, center, holds the Mississippi Department of Education “Champions of Change” plaque the school earned for dramatically improving state test scores. Ellison is surrounded by the staff and teachers of Houston Upper Elementary School.
(Floyd Ingram / Buy at photos.chickasawjournal.com)

HOUSTON — Schools get grades, too.

Houston Upper Elementary School recently was recognized as a Champion of Change by the Mississippi Department of Education for going from a D to a B in state testing scores.

”This means a lot of each of us at this school,” said Linda Heair, a fifth grade teacher at HUES. “This is our reward for a lot of effort to make our school better.”

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) honored 57 schools this fall for academic achievement or progress on state accountability rankings. MDE staff recognized schools that have earned the title of High Progress, Gold Ribbon, High Performing or Distinguished under federal Title 1 guidelines as Champions of Change.

HUES was one of 23 schools across the state to earn the distinction for demonstrating the

greatest gains in closing achievement gaps among students. This award status goes to

schools that represent the highest 10-percent of schools that have improved their overall QDI

scores over a period of years.

“Everyone knows I like to win and see success,” said HUES Principal John Ellison. “We have a team mentality here and I want to be the first to say our teachers, our staff and our students earned this award.”

Ellison also pointed a high level or parent involvement and a PACE Grant that rewarded students for academic progress.

Ellison was named HUES principal two years ago and made parent involvement a key part of his management approach at the school teaching third, fourth and fifth graders.

PACE gifts awarded to students last spring ranged from $100 bills and Ipods to snowcones and an extra recess, but the real reward was a smile and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Houston Upper Elementary School and the PACE Foundation presented awards to more than 350 students for high achievement on last year’s MCT2 (Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition) and individual test score improvement.

PACE has budgeted $15,000 over the next three to five years for improvements in education.

Houston Superintendent of Education, Dr. Steve Coker, said as with all grades the Champions of Change came with a lot of effort by teachers and staff.

“We have seen a lot dedication and hard work by the people at this school,” said Coker. “They have good leadership and with the help of faculty and staff they have seen good results.

“This is an exceptional improvement and an example of what we want to see at all our schools, said Coker. “This award has brought honor and recognition to this community and our schools.”

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