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Oakland Heights, Northwest not satisfied with successful'

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
Oct. 30, 2003
Kim Benton, principal of Oakland Heights Elementary, has only one goal for her school to improve scores on a statewide standardized test and she has devised more than 40 ways to reach it.
Oakland Heights Elementary School and Northwest Junior High School received a Level 3, or "successful," accreditation for this year. Both schools also received a Level 3 rating last year.
Curt Pouncey, principal of Northwest Junior High School, said he also isn't satisfied with his school's performance level. He said he believes his school should have received a Level 4, or "exemplary" rating.
Benton's dedication
Benton said she will do whatever it takes to ensure her students perform to the best of their ability. She also said she understands how important parental involvement is to student success.
Benton, Tia Bajus, the home school coordinator, and Sandra Crawford, the Barksdale literacy coach, have opened a parent resource center at the school to encourage parents to get involved in their child's education.
Benton also has scheduled home visits for parents whose children are not performing at grade level and she holds parent meetings every nine weeks that focus on academics.
Benton said she is confident that her students will improve their performance on the Mississippi Curriculum Test. She said she feels her school has the necessary resources to help them achieve that goal.
Pouncey's promise
Pouncey said he is determined that his school will receive a higher performance level next year.
Pouncey said before this year students didn't understand what the performance levels were based on or the differences in the "minimal," "basic," "proficient" and "advanced" categories.
But he said the staff at Northwest has worked hard with students to make sure they understand where they stand.
Pouncey said more parental involvement would help student performance in school and on standardized tests.