Wingfield, Blue Mountain Improve Graduation Rates Brock Turnipseed
lthough Jackson Public Schools’ (JPS’) Wingfield High School (WHS) and South Tippah School District’s Blue Mountain School (BMS) differ greatly in their student
populations, they recently shared a common issue: a need to boost slumping graduation rates. Both were among schools identified for the Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) designation by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) in 2018 — through an Every Student Succeeds Act requirement — for having graduation rates that were less than or equal to 67%. Although the schools’ graduation numbers are vastly different — WHS averages 150 to 170 graduates per year, while BMS averages 18 to 20 students — the commitment of their principals and support from MDE’s Office of School Improvement (OSI) helped both campuses improve graduation rates and exit their respective CSI designations. “As leaders, BMS Principal
Left: Plants grow in Wingfield High School’s (WHS’s) aquaponics lab.
Kelly Gates and WHS Principal
Right: Recent WHS graduate Gregory Sampson tends to plants growing in the school’s aqua-
Roderick Smith have demon-
ponics lab. The school uses its agricultural science department to engage students and encour-
strated an openness to learning
age them to graduate.