This week, the Mississip­pi Department of Education made its way to the coast to honor the Long Beach School District as it continued its statewide tour recognizing the highest ranking school districts across Mississippi.

On Tuesday, state education leaders visited Long Beach school leaders at Harper Mc­caughan Elementary School for their Celebration of Excel­lence Tour. Of the 144 public schools across the state, Long Beach School District was one of the 15 school districts in Mississippi to earn an A rating.

A tradition of academic ex­cellence is not new for the Long Beach School District, local educators said.

“For 25 years, this school district has been great,” said Long Beach School District Superintendent Dr. Jay Smith.

And state leaders agreed, pointing out this year had the highest gradua­tion rates and ACT scores ever in Mis­sissippi.

“If expectations are high,” said Mis­sissippi State Department of Educa­tion Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright, “kids will achieve high.”

Following the school choir’s ren­dition of holiday tunes and a brief speech from Dr. Wright, Dr. Smith highlighted several administrative officials.

He spoke of some statistical num­bers and said this year marked the highest graduation of students with disabilities. Again, he reflected, that “tradition is from what we have done in the past.”

Mississippi House District 120 Representative Richard Bennett intro­duced Dr. Wright to the audience filled with teachers, administrators, and city officials.

A banner was presented to school leaders in honor of their successful year.

Story by Hunter Dawkins