Word has been received from the state that Sunset Elementary school, one of three elementary buildings in the Vicksburg school district, has achieved its goal of being removed from the “focus” school designation. For two years running, the Department of Education in Lansing has deemed Sunset to fit this category. A concentrated effort was needed to bring it into conformity with other high achieving elementary schools in Vicksburg and the state.
Being a “focus” school meant that the gap in achievement from the lowest students to the highest needed to be closed. State standardized testing indicated that Sunset had too big a gap and thus had to concentrate on helping the lower-achieving students, while still challenging those on top to stay there and even improve their test results.
“This [designation] brought things to light that needed to be fixed,” according to Board President Skip Knowles. “I appreciated the way our staff jumped in and dealt with it. They brought additional resources to Sunset and the district, especially when it came to carefully looking at student data in order to fix it. The staff rose to the occasion to make sure that all kids were receiving a quality education.”
Predicting the size of school enrollment is not an exact science according to Superintendent Charlie Glaes, and 2014/15 school year is no exception. He informed the school board members that 171 kindergarten students have registered to date, while the school graduated 193 in June. This is about 22 short of the enrollment figure that the coming year’s budget was predicated upon, he said.
Nonetheless, the phones have been busy with parents contemplating their options in these two weeks leading up to opening day on Tuesday, September 2, according to Karen Hill, the administrative assistant. She is expecting an uptick in other grades and said she was optimistic that the school would be very close to its projections for total enrollment of approximately 2,500. It stood at 2,683 on August 25.
Tobey Elementary enrollment is down about 30 students from last year, thus some boundary changes are being contemplated by the administration, to equalize out the classroom sizes throughout the district, Glaes informed the board.