Six St. John schools score high in performance survey

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Staff Reporter

GARYVILLE-A recent survey by the Centers on Education Policy said that six of the ten St. John the Baptist Parish schools received good overall performance scores on the Louisiana accountability system, and only one school in 2004 did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind Act.

The study was conducted in 36 school districts across the nation. St. John was the only school district in Louisiana that was part of the study.

Garyville-Mt. Airy Magnet School fell short of the overall proficiency target in math for Grade 8, and the school was given an “academic warning.”

Patricia Triche, principal of Garyville-Mt. Airy Magnet, said in the report that the students in the eighth grade did better than they had in seventh grade, so progress has been made.

Garyville-Mt. Airy Magnet, along with East St. John High, were the only two schools within the parish chosen by the Centers on Education Policy to be involved in in-depth case studies.

Triche has high hopes for the changes taking place at Garyville-Mt. Airy and in the study noted that “higher expectations for students at all grade levels will bring about higher achievement.”

In a later phone interview, Triche expressed the same sentiment, saying that the No Child Left Behind Act has helped because it has forced schools to look at the division of their students.

Students are divided into subgroups, such as black, white, English as a second language, etc. and no subgroups are given special attention.

“If subgroups do not show growth,” she said, “then the school does not show growth.”

Triche also said the school will improve in the upcoming year due to the No Child Left Behind accountability emphasis.

“Accountability works-when the school is under performing, the school goes into corrective action,” Triche said, “It works to get schools to where they need to be.”

Part of achieving that at Garyville-Mt. Airy will be focusing in on tutoring. According to the survey, students give up half of their physical education time for group instruction, and extra part-time teachers have been employed to assist in math and reading.

“We’re tutoring the smart kids,” Triche said, “we’re focusing on everybody.

“For schools to do better, all students need to better.”

The case study for East St. John High said the school made AYP in all areas in 2004.

No schools in the parish are in a corrective action or improvement phase, which happens after a school does not make AYP for two or more consecutive years.

The district student enrollment has increased by 243 students within the past two years, which points to parents choosing to keeping their children in public schools.

Superintendent Michael Coburn said in the study, “We are retaining more of our students, and that’s great news for our school system and our communities.”