With the closing of the 2015-2016 school year, Lucille Lovette, interim superintendent of the Yazoo City Municipal School District, shared some encouraging statistics, including a 75.1 percent graduation rate.
“In 2010, our graduation rate here was only 62.2 percent,” Lovette told the school board during their meeting Monday afternoon. “Our preliminary says we are at 75.1 percent, and that is great. At the high school, (principal) Mr. Hudson and everybody are to be commended for their good work.”
In sharing attendance figures, she said the high school didn't do well.
“We wanted them not to go less than 90 percent,” she said. “May is a hard month to keep children in school, especially our seniors. We did dip down a little, but still we're still over 90 percent.”
At Webster Elementary School's testing, 173 kindergarteners scored at or above the state average this spring, and only 21 students scored below the state average. At McCoy Elementary School, 79.1 percent of the students passed the state tests compared with 53 percent last year. Currently, there are 286 students in the summer literacy program.
Lovette said there were some students who weren't promoted to the next grade.
“It's hard for any child to fail, but it's better for that child to repeat that grade at a lower level than passing them on up and their not being able to perform the work at the next level,” she explained, adding that there were 72 students at the kindergarten and first grade levels who were held back.
“They were all invited to the literacy program this summer and work on their skills,” she added.
In grades two and three, there were 44 students who did not pass the test. In the fourth grade, there were 12 who did not pass. In grade six, there were 31 and in grade eight, there were 18 students who were not promoted. In grade nine, 61 students were retained.
“As you can remember, this is the group of students that came in about two years ago,” Lovette said in reference to the ninth graders. “(They were) a rather rambunctious bunch of students and we've still been having a lot of discipline problems. This is the same group of students (for whom) I (requested) a transitional program during the summer, and it was approved, but we couldn't get the students to attend the program.”
Of those 61 ninth-graders who weren't promoted, 58 are currently in a “credit recovery” summer program at the high school.
There were six seniors who did not graduate.
“We had 128 (seniors) and 124 so far have graduated and that is just astronomical because in the past we've had as high as 70 who were not ready to graduate,” she said.
Lovette said there are approximately 280 students participating in the summer feeding program. About 270 students are being fed breakfast and from 300 to 350 are present for lunch.
Nissan has donated a vehicle to the school district. The vehicle is scheduled to arrive June 21.
Lovette said that while efforts had been made to begin a beautician and cosmetology class in the district, the Mississippi Department of Education did not give approval for the class.
Also in her report to the trustees, Lovette reported that there 19 dyslexia students in the first grade, which was an “overwhelming” number.
In other school board business:
• Awarded the district's pest control needs to Redd Pest Control.
• Declined changing the central office's June summer hours of operation to 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and closed all day Friday.
• The board’s regular July meeting date will be held on Tuesday, July 19, at 5 p.m., and the budget work session will be held Monday, June 20 at 10 a.m.