Changes coming for St. John Schools student promotion

Published 12:01 am Saturday, June 22, 2019

RESERVE — Discussion centered on new early release requirements Thursday evening as a St. John Parish School Board Committee reviewed additions to the 2019-2020 Pupil Progression Plan.

To qualify for early release, students who entered ninth grade in 2018 and 2019 must earn a score of at least 18 on the ACT or receive approval from the principal.

Students with early release must also be enrolled for at least 50 percent of the school day for both the Fall and Spring semesters.

During Thursday’s meeting, an educator in attendance called the new ACT requirement “discriminatory.”

“I have a problem with the whole policy, particularly when you start assigning an ACT score to it,” she said. “There are many students who, even in their best performance, will not score that.”

She said the standard fails to recognize the unique strengths and weaknesses of every student. Additionallsaid the policy is too stringent for students who need to have early release to take part time jobs and help support their families.

Committee member Rachel Chaney said lowering standards would mean giving up on helping students reach their fullest potential.

“While I agree many students may not score that, what are we supporting?” Chaney said. “Our job is to educate and have our students level up. Why are we saying, okay ‘12 ACT person’, why don’t you go home half a day, like we’re done trying to educate them?”

Dr. Juanita Hill, supervisor of student information services, noted the policy also allows approval based on principal recommendation or a silver on ACT Work Keys assessment.

“It is looked at on an individual basis, so we’re not trying to cancel out that all SPED (special education) kids can’t have it if they have an ACT score of 12,” Hill said. “It’s a case-by-case basis.”

According to Hill, the most significant change to the 2019-2020 Pupil Progression Plan, to be voted on for adoption by the School Board Thursday evening, involves graduation.

Students who qualify for early graduation are eligible for Top 10 class placement, including valedictorian and salutatorian.

“Those who graduate early have always been eligible (for valedictorian and salutatorian), but we’ve never had any policy,” Hill said, adding the confusion has previously caused problems with naming a valedictorian.

The Pupil Progression Plan is reviewed for update each summer. Included belowe are some of the most noteworthy additions and changes discussed at the meeting:

Promotion of grades K-7

Kindergarten and first grade students are now permitted to skip grades.

Students failing English Language Arts and/or math may be eligible to attend summer school if they have failed no more than two of the four core subjects, which include ELA, math, science and social studies. However, students who have failed both science and social studies are ineligible.

Those who miss more than 20 days of school but pass all subjects are not eligible for summer school for promotion. These students must adhere to the School Board Level Committee process.

Promotion of grades 8-12

If an eighth grader meets the district’s promotional requirements but was non-proficient on LEAP 2025, the student will be placed in transitional ninth grade and enrolled in remedial ELA and math fundamentals. These classes will offer Carnegie units toward graduation.

Students will have 10 school days to complete missing assignments to earn a passing grade. After the extension period expires, the student will earn a ‘0’ except in cases granted by administration for extenuating circumstances.

Class ranking will not be reported on transcripts until Spring semester of a student’s junior year.

P.E. requirements

Under new guidelines, sixth through eighth grade students will receive letter grades of A,B,C,D, or F in P.E. and health. Eighth graders will be required to complete a final exam in health.

Under previous guidelines, sixth grade students received satisfactory or unsatisfactory in P.E. and health.

English Second Language

Students learning English are no longer required to master the language before enrolling in other foreign languages classes such as Spanish or French. Students observed to not be putting forth effort in English language may be assigned failing grades, regardless of the language barrier.


Homework can only be graded for completion and must be filed as a formative assessment.

Progress Reports

Progress reports will be issued to all students no later than the 11th day of each marking period, as opposed to the 23rd day as was the case in 2018-2019. The school will notify parents by robo-call or text prior to issuance.

All final grades must be recorded within two days of the end of each marking period.