Schools, city boast of growth in classroom and community

Growth in the classroom and in the community was the subject of this morning’s “Breakfast with the Mayor” session, where Biloxi Public Schools Superintendent Arthur McMillan spoke about the school district’s impressive showing in state testing and Community Development Director Jerry Creel reviewed his latest list of economic development projects.

“I am so proud of our students, our teachers and our administrators,” McMillan said, noting that over the past several years Biloxi has moved from a Top 20 school in academic achievement, to a Top 10 and now No. 3 in the state.

“This is not something that happens by accident,” McMillan declared. “This is something that represents a great deal of dedication from a team of folks. It was amazing last year, when two weeks before the state tests we had 150 students and teachers show up on a Saturday morning for tutoring. Then, a week before, again on a Saturday morning, we had 300 show up!

“I can’t say enough about the dedication of our people. And these scores mean that people who are moving to our area are going to want to live in Biloxi. Businesses that are considering re-locating to this area are going to want to be in Biloxi. That means more tax dollars, an expanding tax base, and an improved quality of life. And let’s not forget, we are educating the future leaders of our community.”

Biloxi’s economy, meantime, is often misunderstood, said Creel, the city’s economic development chief.

“People have this perception that if it’s not on Highway 90, then it’s not happening,” Creel said. “That’s just not the case. I usually pull out my list and go over it with them, and they’re shocked. They say, ‘I didn’t realize we had so many things going on.'”

Creel produced his list and reviewed projects that included the Golden Nugget, Hard Rock and IP casino resorts, new restaurants on west beach and downtown, and more than a thousand residential lots north of I-10.

Said Creel: “When new businesses are looking to re-locate, they look at rooftops.”

See more online

How we ranked: To see how Biloxi and south Mississippi schools were scored by the Mississippi Department of Education, click here.

The list: To see the economic development list from Jerry Creel, click here.

Picture this: To see photos from this morning’s session, click here.