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Raising the bar at West Hills Elementary

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
Sept. 18, 2003
If a student at West Hills Elementary doesn't turn in homework three times, it may be the parents who are called to the principal's office.
This new policy is one of several at West Hills designed to improve student achievement.
Principal Sandy Davidson said, "Our focus is now teaching the child every skill that they need to become a productive citizen."
Davidson said the homework policy is also an attempt to stay in touch with parents.
Other new programs at West Hills include one-on-one tutoring 20 minutes a day for students who scored below the "proficient" level on the Mississippi Curriculum Test. Students also are encouraged to read with rewards and trophies.
Other principals in the Meridian Public School District are implementing new policies to improve student achievement, such as after school programs and more one-on-one tutorials.
On the 2003 Mississippi Curriculum Test, West Hills students in the second- through the fifth-grades scored below the state's average proficiency level in 10 of 12 categories. "Proficient" means a student is performing at his or her grade level and is prepared to move on to more challenging material.
The two categories that were above the state average were fourth-grade reading and fifth-grade reading.
Another new policy deals with early check-out for students. Davidson said she expects teachers to teach from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and she expects students to be in class during that time.
West Hills Elementary received a Level 3, or successful, accreditation for the 2002-2003 school year the same as in 2001-2002. The school is one of five Meridian elementary schools that receive a "successful" rating earlier this month from the Mississippi Department of Education.
Davidson is determined to raise the bar for students, teachers and parents.