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Harris, Autry object to MHS accreditation

By Staff
SEEK NEW EQUATION Principal R.D. Harris and Algebra II teacher Mary Dubose talk about the accreditation level recently assigned to Meridian High School by the Mississippi Department of Education.Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
Oct. 8, 2003
Meridian High School Principal R.D. Harris said Tuesday he believes his school is better than the "under-performing" accreditation level awarded by the state for the 2003-2004 school year.
Meridian High received a Level 2 rating and Harris said he believes that doesn't represent the good work at the school. He and Interim School Superintendent Sylvia Autry will ask the Commission on School Accreditation on Thursday for an exemption.
If the commission approves Harris' request, Meridian High will receive no accreditation level for the 2003-2004 school year. The Commission on School Accreditation meets in Jackson.
Meridian High School's accreditation level was based on 99 students who took Biology I in the 2002-2003 school year. Accreditation levels for high schools are normally based on scores from subject area testing in English II, U.S. History and Biology I.
However, most students take English II, U.S. History and Biology I in the ninth grade and Meridian High has only 10th- through 12th-grade students.
Harris said the 99 students who took Biology I in the 10th grade last year either failed Biology I in the ninth-grade or didn't take the subject area test. Harris said he believes those 99 students do not fully represent what is happening at Meridian High School.
Harris added that Meridian High students have an American College Test, or ACT, average score of 20 higher than the state average of 19.9. Harris said the school has other qualities overlooked by the commission.
Harris said he hopes the board will withdraw the school's low accreditation level.
Autry said she believes next year's accreditation level will better represent what is happening at the school.