State rating shows steady growth for area schools

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2008


News Editor

LAPLACE—The Louisiana Department of Education recently released its 2008 School Performance Scores, and all three districts across the River Region posted significant gains in the past year.

All nine schools in St. John Parish showed improvement in their 2008 School Performance Scores.

This has led to the parish once again showing an increase in its overall District Performance Score. In 2008, the score was 77.8, a gain of 5.6 points over the previous year. Not only was this gain significant in itself, but it more than doubles the increase the district showed between 2006 and 2007.

“We are very pleased with our ability to stay on this positive growth track,” said Superintendent Dr. Courtney P. Millet. In addition, Millet emphasized, “Our scores reflect that our teachers are making great efforts to engage our students in meaningful learning opportunities. It is obviously important that we continue our focus of meeting the needs of our diverse student population, which is accomplished through the utilization of a variety of methodologies, updated materials, and insightful, hardworking teachers.”

Millet continued by outlining what must be done to maintain positive growth. Among her aims were to use such scores and standardized test results to pinpoint areas of weakness, increase professional development, incorporate cutting-edge methods of instruction and maximize learning time.

St. Charles Parish, likewise, showed significant gains in its rating.

This year the district moved up to sixth in the state, up one place from number seven in 2007. Also, the district increased its star rating from two to three.

Superintendent Dr. Rodney Lafon noted, too, that the differences between districts in this upper echelon are very slim.

“I’m very proud of our teachers, administrators and students,” he said.

Never one to rest on his laurels, however, he pointed to the district’s goal of continuing growth. “Any time we improve, it’s a good thing,” he said but noted there is still work to be done.

“We are providing better and better means of professional development,” he said.

One concrete example of this is the professional training center the district opened at the beginning of this school year.

St. James Superintendent Dr. Alonzo Luce showed optimism after the release of the School Performance Scores.

“I am encouraged by the recently published school accountability results. It’s pleasing to witness the growth that we’ve had across the district,” Luce said.

Nine out of 10 schools in the district showed growth in the past year, and seven of those met their growth targets.

These gains tied the district for 22nd in the state with an SPS score of 91.9. Last year the district was rate 24th.

“We expect to continue growing as a district and do everything possible to help our schools that did not meet their growth targets,” Luce noted.

The state has been issuing School Performance Scores since the 1998-1999 school year.

This year, 57.6 percent of schools in the state showed growth, up from 49 percent in 2007.