The Petal School District officially began in 1976 after community members decided they wanted to create a school district separate from the county school system. The city of Petal was incorporated specifically to form the new school district - a step signifying how important excellent education opportunities were to the citizens of this community. Since that time school employees have worked hand in hand with the community to ensure the schools reflect the local values and quality of life inherent in the citizens of the Petal School District. While retaining its positive small-town atmosphere, Petal has become state and nationally known for its quality schools and award-winning athletic and performing arts programs.
Five schools make up the Petal School District: Petal Primary (grades K - 2), Petal Elementary (grades 3 - 4), Petal Upper Elementary (grades 5-6), Petal Middle (grades 7-8) and Petal High School (grades 9-12). The district enrolls approximately 4,000 students annually and employs an estimated 300 certified personnel and 225 support service employees. Each school offers superior academic instruction as well as art, music, physical education, and technology classes. Students at Petal Middle School and Petal High School have numerous academic courses and electives available to enhance their educational experience.
Recognizing the importance of long-range planning, school district personnel, with the involvement of community members, designed and implemented two cycles of strategic planning to guide the district through the past fifteen years. Community members and school district personnel meet annually to revise and update the plan to keep it current and applicable. Because of their vision and the combined efforts of the entire Petal community, the Petal School District has been able to achieve remarkable results in recent years.
Some of the recent accomplishments of the school district include:
- Petal Schools have achieved the highest rating in the state accountability system (Level 5 - Superior Performing) since its inception.
- District Curriculum Maps were developed to ensure alignment with state instructional benchmarks and to promote consistency in instruction among classes.
- Individual Learning Plans have been developed for all students K- 8 to assist in individualizing instruction for each student.
- Several facilities have been added to enhance the learning and talents of students. These include the acquisition of a larger building to house the Petal
- Center for Children and Families, and the construction of new tennis courts, soccer complex, Sports Enhancement Facility, Performing Arts facilities and a new Band and Chorus building.
- Students in the Petal School District exhibit the characteristics of responsible citizenship by reaching out to help others. During the past few years they donated over $50,000 to charitable organizations and more than 20,000 hours of service to the community.
- The school district receives numerous federal and state grants during the school year to further enhance educational programs for students.
Due to Hurricane Katrina, Cisco Systems has generously donated over $5,000,000 in technology hardware, software and training in order to aid the school district become a beacon for its 21st Century Schools Initiative.