Reports of this week’s announcement by U.S. News & World Report that two Hattiesburg-area schools were ranked among the top three highest-performing public high schools in the state of Mississippi comes as no big surprise to us here at The Lamar Times.
We’re honored to cover No. 2-ranked Oak Grove High and No 3-ranked Petal High on a weekly basis and nobody knows how exceptional they are more than our staff.
Now in its seventh year of providing the annual rankings, U.S. News analyzed more than 21,035 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia during the study (Nebraska was the only state that didn’t report enough data and therefore was not included).
Not only did these two schools rank at the top of Mississippi schools, but they both ranked among the top 8% when compared to all schools in the nation.
That’s quite a departure from the usual “bottom of the barrel” ranking that Mississippi is usually graced with when it comes to educational rankings. Of course, the study just reiterates what we have known all along – that Pine Belt students can compete at any level.
The ranking comes as the result of our top-notch superintendents and top-notch school boards hiring top-notch administrators who, in turn, hire top-notch teachers who provide a top-notch educational experience for our students.
It’s a trickle-down formula that works without fail.
In fact, we contend that nothing spurs growth in the local economy more than quality schools.
Regardless of what governmental tax incentives are offered, decisions to locate (or re-locate) a business to a new community often has more to do with quality of life for its employees (and executives) than anything else. And no young executive with children wants to relocate somewhere with lousy schools.
For career-minded individuals considering a move to a new community, the performance of a local school district is among the first things that is reviewed and the U.S. News report will go a long way towards recruiting young professionals to the Hub City.
Congratulations to Lamar County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ben Burnett, Petal School District Superintendent Dr. John Buchanan, and their respective staffs for once again giving our area a feather to place in our collective cap.
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