St. John scores up, much room for progress

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2008

Although scores in St. John Parish showed marked improvement over previous years, parish scores continued to lag behind their River Parish neighbors.

“Clearly, our hard working teachers, school administrators and staff have worked collaboratively to move St. John Parish schools forward,” Superintendent Dr. Courtney P. Millet, Ph.D., said.

Among fourth-graders taking the LEAP Test, for the most part the percentage of those scoring at the Basic level or above lagged behind the rest of the state while those scoring Approaching Basic or below surpassed the state average. The only exception to this was in mathematics, where 22 percent of St. John students scored at the Mastery level compared to 20 percent statewide.

Individuals school results varied greatly, however. For example, John L. Ory Magnet had 99 percent of its 4th grade testers score Basic or above, with many 4th and 8th grade testers achieving an Advanced score on both English/language arts and math.  

Also, despite the shortfalls, the percentage of fourth-graders passing the LEAP this spring was about the same as the statewide average.

Initial test takers on the GEE this spring showed gains in both English and math.  Science scores did not show similar progress but the school system is addressing this area of the high school curriculum, according to Dr. Millet.  Dr. Kathy McWaters, PhD., who specializes in science curriculum and instruction, was recently assigned to East St. John High School to assist in efforts to improve science GEE scores, the superintendent said.

In St. John the Baptist Parish, 80 percent of tenth grade initial testers on the GEE earned an Approaching Basic score or above in English/language arts and 81 percent earned an Approaching Basic score or above in mathematics.  An Approaching Basic or above score was received by 63 percent of students in science and 75 percent of students in social studies.  The parish’s GEE scores were comparable to the state scores of 82 percent Approaching Basic or above in both English/language arts and math.  However, the parish averages fell below the state average in science and social studies, where the state recorded an 82 percent and 84 percent success rate in those respective categories.

“All of our teachers, staff, principals and parents are working to realize our dreams and goals for a better St. John the Baptist Parish School District,” Dr. Millet said.  “As an educator in St. John, I go to sleep at night thinking, ‘What can we do to make our schools better?’  I truly believe that working together to maintain an intense focus on maximizing our resources – human potential, time, funds and space – our students will continue to show gains in academic achievement.”