St. John the Baptist Parish schools rewarded for academic growth

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2008

RESERVE – The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board and Superintendent Courtney P. Millet, Ph.D., recently recognized East St. John Elementary and West St. John Elementary for meeting or exceeding their targeted academic growth rate in 2007 as set by the State Department of Education.

Both schools were presented with banners proclaiming them as Recognized Academic Growth Schools, making them eligible for cash rewards from the state.  East St. John Elementary will receive $15,156, and West St. John Elementary will get $9,134 to purchase classroom materials.

“We commend the effort of these two schools on behalf of their students.  We are proud of their accomplishments,” Dr. Millet said.

Louisiana’s School Accountability System calls for continuous improvement in student achievement. Each year, schools receive numerical scores known as School Performance Scores (SPS). The baseline scores are calculated by averaging two years of data and are used both to determine performance labels and to set growth targets for schools. This year’s schools were rewarded for scores posted in 2007.

This year’s calculation also included the Graduation Index for high schools. The index awarded points to schools based on how well its students perform over the four years of high school, ranging from a zero for a student who drops out to 180 points for a student who graduates with an academic endorsement.

The Accountability Commission created the Graduation Index as a way to better reflect the entire four-year experience of high school and the goals of high school redesign, according to Board of Elementary and Secondary Education officials who voted for the change.  Now, only 70 percent of a high school’s score is based on the 9th, 10th and 11th grade tests, instead of 90 percent. The remaining 30 percent comes from the Graduation

Index, which is designed to measure both how well high schools did in graduating their students and preparing them for college and careers.

Exemplary Academic Growth Labels were given to 163 schools statewide for meeting their Growth Targets, growing in all subgroups and not being in School Improvement. An additional 104 schools received Recognized Academic Growth Labels for meeting their Growth Targets, regardless of subgroup growth or School Improvement status.

Schools with Recognized or Exemplary Growth Labels will receive financial rewards as well as flags recognizing their achievement. The cash awards are based upon the level of academic achievement by the school – Exemplary or Recognized – and the number of students enrolled at the school.