Students prepare to LEAP

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 11, 2002


RESERVE – The St. John the Baptist Parish School System has been preparing students for the Louisiana Education Assessment Program (LEAP) test since the beginning of the school year and the preparation will contine until the actual exam takes place in March.

According to St. John Parish Superintendent of Schools, Michael Coburn, various LEAP preparations have been going on in all grades, especially in fourth and eighth grades. The test is targeted to these two grades and determines whether or not a student progresses to the fifth grade or to high school.

“We have been concentrating on quality teaching in every classroom,” said Coburn. “We have been doing extra, or ‘lagniappe,’ to inspire the teachers and students.”

Practice exams from the State Department of Education have been distributed in classrooms along with pamphlets, Coburn said.

Coburn also said after school tutoring sessions are being held throughout the elementary schools which began in September and before the Christmas holiday. The tutoring sessions are held two or three times a week and buses are available to students who choose to stay for the extra help.

“It has been very effective,” said Coburn. “We are staying positive and hope that it pays off.”

Coburn said the principals are trying to keep the students spirits up and prevent them from getting stressed out. Channel 63 will be broadcasting a LEAP preparation for parents. This will give them the opportunity to see sample test questions and work with the students to better prepare them.

Computers in each school also have programs to help students with the test.

“Technology is a major factor with helping,” said Coburn.

If fourth and eighth grade students do not pass the LEAP test, they have another opportunity after attending mandatory summer school to retake it. Second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh grades take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) in preparation for the LEAP and for state purposes. Coburn said this is the first year in St. John Parish history second graders will be taking the test.

“We want to help them prepare for third grade,” said Coburn. “We have one elementary school in ‘corrective action’ but all others have met their growth target,” said Coburn.

East St. John Elementary School in LaPlace is the only school in corrective action and the school system has implemented a plan with a district assistance team who have been meeting with teachers and students to give guidance and bring up their performance score within two years, said Coburn.

Sophomores and juniors are required to take the Graduate Exit Exam (GEE).

The March test results will be announced in May, Coburn said.