September 20, 2018
To the HPSD Family,
I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the hard work that our staff and students are putting forth each day. We are pleased to have more Hattiesburg Public School District students proficient according to the 2017-2018 MAAP than the previous year. As a district, we increased proficiency in math, reading, and science. We also increased our dual enrollment and Advanced Placement course performance. Several of our schools showed significant gains from last year’s accountability scores: Grace Christian Elementary (64 point increase), Hawkins Elementary (20 point increase), Rowan Elementary (44 point increase), Woodley Elementary (72 point increase). Moreover, Woodley Elementary has moved to a “B” school rating.
In an effort to move our district forward, we have fully staffed our classrooms with highly qualified teachers, especially in the MAAP/SATP tested subjects. Increased curriculum and instructional supports are also in place. Our teachers are providing students with more purposeful feedback, increasing instructional rigor and strengthening literacy efforts to increase comprehension, writing, and reading maturity. We are also improving the climate and culture of our schools to create a more positive environment for all students. A key component to move Hattiesburg High School is to ensure that from all grade levels we are sending more academically proficient students into ninth grade. We are headed in the right direction as reflected in our proficiency data increases across the district in all subjects. This year, we launched a Middle College Program with 11 students through a partnership with Pearl River Community College. The Middle College program will give students the opportunity to complete their high school career with a diploma and associate’s degree.
As a district, we are working continuously to improve student performance and the culture of our schools. Our plan includes an intentional focus on programming for academic success and supporting teachers as they provide quality teaching and learning experiences for students. We know that sustainable change takes time. To ensure the academic success of all students, we are primarily focusing on four strategies: 1) aligning our curriculum, instruction, assessments and professional development throughout the district, 2) promoting early learning and literacy, 3) strengthening pathways to college and career opportunities and 4) sustaining our staff and recruitment efforts.
In order for any plan to be successful, it takes everyone working together. We need continued support from our students, teachers, parents, and community. We appreciate all of your dedicated efforts in helping move Hattiesburg Public School District forward.
Robert Williams, Ph.D.