The majority of schools in the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District improved their school performance score during the 2016-17 school year, according to school report cards released Nov. 7 by the Louisiana Department of Education.
Six of the district’s 10 evaluated schools improved their school performance score from the 2015-16 school year, with two schools - East St. John Elementary and Garyville-Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School - moving up a letter grade.
In addition, Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School grew its score by 10.1 points and has been named a Top Gains school by the Louisiana Department of Education. The department recognizes schools as Top Gains schools when they outperform their pre-determined growth goal.
The overall District Performance Score fell slightly in 2016-17, down just over one point to an 83.8 to put it in the C category.
“While we are disappointed in the small drop in our overall District Performance Score, we are encouraged that the majority of our schools grew and are now A, B or C schools,” Superintendent Kevin George said. “We will keep working hard every day to make sure our schools and district are meeting expectations.”
The district once again earned the maximum 10 progress points awarded to districts that are helping those students who need it the most. These points are awarded to districts who grow those students who were approaching basic and unsatisfactory in previous years and who then exceed expectations the following year. The St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District has earned this distinction every year since progress points were instated.
For the 2017-18 school year, the district has already taken measures to address some of the areas that contributed to the slight decline. Seniors are now scheduled into ACT-prep electives to help increase their academic skills and ACT scores, are given the opportunity to take the ACT WorkKeys test, which measures students’ knowledge of the skills required for success in the workplace, and are given the opportunity to retake the statewide-ACT test.
Measures have also been put in place to more accurately report the cohort graduation rate, which measures the number and percentage of students who enter high school as a freshman and graduate no more than four years later. Schools lose points for students who are not considered legitimate leavers. East St. John High has put a plan in place to track every student who withdraws from the school, ensuring that the proper coding and documents are secured from parents.
All of the district’s schools are now an A, B or C, with the exception of Fifth Ward Elementary. The only remaining D school, K-8 during the 2016-17 school year, was reconfigured this school year to educate preK through fourth-grade students, with East St. John Elementary, a B school, reconfigured to educate fifth through eighth. This was done to allow educators to pool resources and more efficiently design curriculum for the appropriate age groups to ultimately increase student performance.
“We are proactive as a district,” George said. “We evaluate our schools throughout the school year and take corrective action even before the state releases this data. We are always looking for ways to improve and these school and district performance scores will be used to evaluate further how we can do just that.”
School Performance Scores are based on student performance including assessments and readiness, graduation, diploma strength and progress. District Performance Scores are also based on student achievement on annual assessments, academic indicators and measures of career and college readiness, such Carnegie credits earned through ninth grade, graduation rates, ACT scores and earning Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Dual Enrollment.
To assist parents in evaluating schools, the Louisiana Department of Education today announced the launch of Louisiana School Finder. Louisiana School Finder hosts detailed information about each school’s offerings and academic performance. It can be accessed at www.louisianaschools.com.