St. John LEAP results showing improvements

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 1, 2005


Staff Reporter

RESERVE — Recent final scores of the LEAP test, released by the state department of education, show St. John Parish schools improving greatly, though there is still evidence of more work to be done.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Coburn said the district is generally very pleased they have increased their LEAP scores every year under his administration, by decreasing the number of students scoring unsatisfactory, but also recognized other problems.

“There is a long way to go and we are going to strive to make sure the kids get the quality education they need,” Coburn said.

Low points were West St. John High math, where 58 percent of 10th graders failed math and only 16 percent of students are working on a basic level. At the St. John Redirection Center, 60 percent of students failed math.

Also, on the eighth grade level at West St. John High, only 2 percent of students are working at a basic level in math, while 76 percent of students have failed. At East St. John High, those scores were 25 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Coburn said he hopes for an accelerated math program to go district-wide next year, which he believes will show a drastic improvement in math scores.

However, Garyville/Mt. Airy Magnet experienced a huge improvement in the LEAP scores in both grades, especially in fourth grade, where there was a 10 percent improvement in English and an 18 percent improvement in math.

Other bright points were in LaPlace Elementary, which had no students failing in language arts and John L. Ory Magnet, which not only saw 2 percent of students falling into the unsatisfactory level, but also 28 percent mastering language arts.

Coburn credits the improvement in Language Arts and English with the Renaissance Reading Program, the teachers involved in it, and the student’s work on it. “I’m sold on it,” he said, “and the teachers are doing a great job of implementing it.”

The program is a reading enhancement strategy that allows students to spend 50 minutes of the day focusing on reading and reading comprehension. It was introduced into St. John schools for the 2002-2003 school year. According to the district’s web site, St. John is the first to fully invest in the program.

For the GEE 21, which is taken by tenth-graders, six percent of students in the district reached the mastery level in English, while 27 percent received an Unsatisfactory score. Eight percent mastered math, while 37 percent failed.