Students in D-rated schools granted transfer option

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2014

By Monique Roth

RESERVE — Some parents of school-aged children in St. John the Baptist Parish will now have flexibility to choose where their students attend school.

The St. John Parish School Board unanimously approved a School Choice Policy at its Thursday night meeting, which allows a parent or legal guardian to enroll their child in a school other than the school the child is scheduled to be enrolled in based on the school district attendance zones.

Superintendent Kevin George explained the policy is in response to Act 853 of the 2014 Louisiana Legislature. 

“No Child Left Behind allows students who attend ‘F’ schools the opportunity to attend an ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ rated school,” George said. “Act 853 allows the district to allow the same opportunity for students who attend ‘D’ schools.”

He said there are slight differences in the policies for students who attend “F” schools and for those who attend “D” schools, adding the St. John Parish School District does not currently have any “F” rated schools. Parents can find out a school’s rating by visiting the Louisiana Department of Education website at

There are currently four “D” rated school is the St. John Parish system — Emily C. Watkins Elementary, Fifth Ward Elementary, St. John Alternative School and West St. John Elementary.

George said the School Choice Policy is currently in effect, and parents should contact the district’s Child Welfare and Attendance Office at 985-536-1106 for information on how to access the policy. 

“There are restrictions to this policy, and transportation is not provided,” George said. “Affected parents should call for more details.”

George said new school ratings will be released on Oct. 20, and district officials are expecting to have a drop in “D” rated schools.

Ratings for elementary schools are calculated solely on test scores, while middle school and high school ratings take several factors into account, including graduation rates and test and ACT scores.