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St. John Parish Public Schools score “C” is latest District results

RESERVE — The St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District grew its District Performance Score nearly two points on the Louisiana Department of Education’s more rigorous grading scale, according to data released Thursday by the department today, with half of its schools receiving recognition from the state for improving student achievement.

The new scoring system changes how scores are calculated by reducing the number of points awarded to schools and districts in key performance categories.

Anticipating a drop in letter grades as a result of the new system, the Louisiana Department of Education released District and School Performance Scores statewide today using both the old and new scale.

St. John the Baptist Parish, however, maintained its C letter grade with a 69.6 on the new scale and an 84.8 on the old scale, just .2 away from a B.

Scores released by the state Thursday ranked East St. John High, LaPlace Elementary, East St. John Preparatory, West St. John Elementary, Lake Pontchartrain Elementary, Garyville/Mt. Airy Math & Science Magnet and Emily C. Watkins Elementary as “C” schools.

West St. John High School and John L. Ory Communications Magnet were ranked “B” schools.

Fifth Ward Elementary School was ranked as an “F” school.

In addition, District leaders said several of the district’s schools were recognized by the state for outstanding student performance.

West St. John High School and John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School were named Equity Honorees by the Louisiana Department of Education for outperforming 90 percent of all schools in the state in student subgroups.

West St. John High School was recognized for outperforming most schools in the state among African-American students, while John L. Ory was recognized for outperforming most schools in the state among Hispanic/Latino students.

Four schools have been named Top Gains schools by the Louisiana Department of Education for scoring an A in the Progress category, which measures the number of students who improved their scores on state tests.

Schools recognized as Top Gains schools are East St. John Preparatory Academy, West St. John Elementary School, John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School and Garyville-Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School.

“That shows we have quality instruction in our schools and shows we are actually doing our job of helping our students grow,” Superintendent Kevin George said. “Seeing growth in School Performance Scores in seven out of our 10 schools is also encouraging. While we are pleased with these improvements, we are not content with where we are and we expect more gains moving forward. I’d like to thank all 972 of our employees and the School Board for contributing to this growth in our schools.”

The district also saw growth in two key graduation categories, raising its Cohort Graduation Rate an impressive 23 points and its Strength of Diploma nearly seven points.

“This means we are graduating more students with more rigorous graduation credentials,” George said. “More of our students are participating in dual enrollment, more are passing CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and more are graduating with Industry Based Credentials. We’re not just graduating more students, they’re graduating with a better diploma.”

School Performance Scores are based on student performance including assessments and readiness, graduation, diploma strength and progress. District Performance Scores are also based on student achievement on annual assessments, academic indicators and measures of career and college readiness, such as Carnegie credits earned through ninth grade, graduation rates, ACT scores and earning Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Dual Enrollment.