It’s just another day of classes for Quitman High School students, but this is the moment for which Principal Howard Savage has been waiting. Up until now the 2016 – 2017 Mississippi School Performance Grades have been embargoed. He was waiting until the Mississippi Department of Education officially released the scores.
At 1:17 p.m. he uses the school’s intercom system to call everyone into the school’s auditorium. Once everybody arrives, he plays a video. “You can live your dream,” the speakers shout before Savage steps up to the podium and begins to show a familiar Power Point presentation.
It was in this same place starting in August of 2016 that Savage began talking about the collective dream of becoming an “A” school. His goal at that time was to improve the school by one letter grade during the 2016 -2017 school year. QHS had received three consecutive years of a “D” rating.
“Do you remember that?” He asks the crowd.
Yes, they do.
He continues, “How do you think we did?”
The response is mixed.
“We didn’t go up one letter grade,” he tells them. He pauses, and then says with the same exuberation and confidence he has been using to tell anyone who would listen that Panther Nation is established,
“Quitman High School is now a “B” school!”
During the 2016 – 2017 school year the students, faculty, and staff of Quitman High School moved their school from 504 out of 1000 points to 697 out of 1000 points. The 193 point gain is phenomenal, and Dr. Savage suggests that everyone should congratulate themselves and the people around them for a job well done.
One year ago when Howard Savage, Jr. took the job as QHS Principal, he knew that Quitman High School could and would be an “A” school. He explains,
“I love this place. My family loves this place. We have great teachers and students willing to put in the work, and parents who are eager to help with their kids. Now we are going for the “A” rating, and we are planning on doing the work it takes to reach our goal.”
For a group of people who moved a school 193 points in one year, the attainment of only 90 points to get an “A” rating does seem inevitable, but Dr. Savage doesn’t leave the success of Quitman High School to chance. He now expands on the data from the Department of Education to include plans to improve the school’s graduation rate and urges students to encourage each other to stay in school.
The QHS principal would like to thank the stakeholders of Quitman for helping Quitman High School reach their 2016 – 2017 goals, and he is confident that everyone will begin echoing the new school motto. He calmly smiles when he says,