St. John schools LEAPing the gap

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS – Staff Reporter

RESERVE – Programs recently implemented in the St. John Parish School system have shown a positive reflection, according to recently-released LEAP 21 scores. The Louisiana Department of Education has notified each school district of their results.

“In three of the four areas of comparison, our students showed improvement,” said Superintendent Mike Coburn. “We’re especially pleased with the marked, overall improvement of our eighth graders, and the improvement in reading for our fourth graders.”

The school district has begun the reconfiguration of grades K-8 and the Renaissance Learning Program. These two programs were developed in the interest of improving student academic performance. National research shows K-8 students perform better academically, have fewer behavior problems than those in middle school settings, and enjoy more parental involvement. The Renaissance Program is a nationally acclaimed learning enhancement software that has a proven track record in improving student test Coburn.

Eighth graders must achieve Approaching Basic level score to move to the ninth grade. Last year, 79 percent received a passing score in English. This year, 83 percent passed.

Last year, 58 percent of the parish’s ninth graders passed math, 68 percent passed this year.

Not only did more students pass, but more moved up on the scale. Last year, 34 percent of the eight graders scored at or above the Basic level in English, while 37 percent did so this year. Only 28 percent of eighth graders scored at or above the Basic math level last year, 43 percent scored at these higher levels this year.

Meanwhile, the district’s fourth graders improved slightly in English, but showed a decline in math. More fourth graders, 82 percent, scored at or above the Approaching Basic level this year, compared to last year’s figure of 81 percent. Their math scores have somewhat declined, with 75 percent scoring at Approaching Basic and above this year compared to 79 percent last year.

The district’s fourth grade results are consistent with other fourth grades across the state, according to information released by the school system.