St. John LEAP results positive

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – For the first time in recent memory, St. John the Baptist Parish has surpassed its River Region neighbors in percentage of students meeting LEAP Test promotional standards at both the fourth- and eighth-grade levels.

According to Superintendent Courtney Millet, “This data shows that St. John public schools are making very good progress where it matters most for our students. In fact, this great progress in meeting promotional standards for fourth and eighth grade will also assure more students graduating on time in years to come.”

This is good news as the school system is planning a two-year phase out of the Leon Godchaux Accelerated Program as part of recent cuts made to the budget.

On the fourth-grade level, 83 percent of St. John’s public school students passed the test and will be promoted to the fifth grade. This is nine percentage points higher than the state average and eight percentage points higher than the district’s scores last year.

St. John students fared nearly as well on the eighth-grade level, with 82 percent meeting promotional standards. The state average was 68 percent. Last year, 77 percent of eighth graders in St. John made the grade.

What’s more, not only are more parish students passing the test, but they are scoring at proficient and above in numbers not seen before.

Growth has been seen in all grade levels and subjects since Millet was appointed superintendent in 2008.

In the English Language Arts portion of the test, both fourth and eighth grades made an 11-percent jump over results from 2007. Math saw an even greater improvement as fourth-graders and eighth-graders improved by 25 and 14 percent, respectively, over their 2007 counterparts.

In terms of overall improvement over 2007’s scores the parish gained 12 percentage points.

This compares favorably to the state’s average growth of 5 percent during the same time frame. This leap makes the district No. 8 of 71 in terms of growth.

GEE scores in the parish saw similar growth. Students who took the test, which is required to graduate from public schools in the state, improved in every area. The biggest increase was in mathematics, where 77 percent of students passed compared to 66 percent last year. Science showed the smallest growth with only 49 percent passing, a jump of 4 percent over last year.

“Over the past few years, our district has worked tirelessly to ensure instruction is focused on teaching and learning in order to have the best impact on student achievement,” said Millet, adding, “Our school administrators’ and teachers’ willingness to grow has brought improvement to our classrooms and to our students.”

Neighboring St. Charles Parish, a perennial leader regarding LEAP results, saw 79 percent of its fourth-graders and 80 percent of its eighth-graders pass the LEAP test.

Further upriver in St. James Parish, 78 percent of fourth-graders passed the LEAP, surpassing the state average by 4 percent, while only 68 percent of eighth-graders made the cut. The percentage of eighth-graders in St. James meeting promotional standards was equal to the state average.