St. Charles schools’ success recognized

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 5, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

HAHNVILLE – Two St. Charles Parish schools recently received recognition from the Louisiana Department of Education for obtaining high rates of success with students and high standards for excellence in classroom observations under Compass, the state’s new evaluation system.
Although appreciative of the recognition, St. Charles Parish public school district’s new superintendent, Felecia Gomez-Walker, said the district has “far less confidence in using those results at this time.” The school system will, instead, use the information for their own development.
“The fact that it’s (Compass) in its first year, we believe that it lacks precision and reliability, as well as validity. We are using the information not to make judgements but to improve and refine our processes,” said Walker.
Hahnville High School and Lakewood Elementary School made the list along with 61 other schools across the state.
The Department of Education released the listing just a day after revealing its 2012-2013 Compass Annual Report. Each of the schools on the list scored in the state’s top 10 percentile for student improvement or overall achievement. According to the DOE, individual evaluators, such as principals or assistant principals, complete Compass observations. The success of students and the high bar for labeling educators “highly effective” is supposedly an indicator that the listed schools have high standards for classroom teaching quality and that the standards are working for students.
The statewide average for highly effective classroom observation scores per school was 27 percent.
“When they take the two (elements) and combine it to list people in the top 10, it’s a little discomforting to us to really comment,” continued Walker. “As far as Compass is concerned, we certainly look at student achievement results. We have chosen as a district not to make judgements based on the teacher evaluation system.”
For more information about the list, visit