Local realtors joined the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District at its quarterly Pastors Luncheon Aug. 29.
St. John the Baptist Parish School Board President Albert “Ali” Burl III said inviting a different segment in is another way to reach out to the community about what is happening in their schools.
“We thought this time we’d invite the realtors to keep them informed about what’s going on in the St. John the Baptist Parish School System,” Burl said. “They are the first line of defense when someone is buying a house and asks what is going on in the school system, so we want to let them know what is going on so they can be more informed when speaking to potential buyers.”
Topics covered included the district’s improvement plan and highlights from the new school year such as the opening of the new STEM Magnet High School Program, where the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District will become the first school system in the state to offer a pre-pharmacy program.
“If you want to see another place that has some amazing things going on go over there and ask the principal for a tour. We’ve partnered with LSU and Xavier and the World War II Museum for its Robotics Program. Students leaving there can have credits in LSU’s engineering program or Xavier’s pre-pharmacy program,” Superintendent Kevin George said. “We want to make sure we have a lot of different options for kids. We want to make sure we are the best choice for anyone moving to this parish.”
Realtors and pastors also received information about changes to the grading system the Louisiana Department of Education uses to evaluate school districts that will lead to a decline in district performance scores across the state.
When school performance scores are released in the fall districts will receive four letter grades: one based on student performance on standardized tests, one based on student progress, one under the old formula and one under the new formula.
“You can have the exact same performance you did before and your score will drop based on the changes. That’s not just St. John the Baptist Parish that’s districts across the state,” George said. “They took the formula and applied it to current scores for schools across the state. Currently, there are 277 ‘A’ schools. When you apply the new formula there will only be 168.”
George said according to district calculations the school district has grown. However, the new score will not reflect that.
Realtor Ched Edler closed out the meeting by pointing to those gathered in the room such as himself, School Board member Patrick Sanders and District Attorney Bridget Dinvaut as evidence that public schools work.
“We are all public school products and I don’t think we did too bad for ourselves,” he said.