Local schools address learning loss through achievement plans

Published 2:37 pm Friday, March 18, 2022

RESERVE — Site leaders from various St. John Parish Public Schools are working to increase student achievement and address learning loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Each school site has developed a plan that includes performance data and projected scores.

Learning loss across all St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools was evident in the 2021 Simulated School Performance Scores released in December 2021 by the Louisiana Department of Education. The simulated 2021 scores were made available for informational and planning purposes only and are not being used for evaluative means.

According to the Department of Education, “The 2020-2021 school year was a year unlike any other, and the state results cannot be accurately compared to the previous years.”

East St. John Preparatory Academy’s simulated school performance score was 43.5, a decrease of 16.5 points from 2019.

Principal Johnika Gayden-Gaines said school leaders are committed to making sure students have the resources to grow and excel academically.

“We are working almost around the clock six days out of the week to service kids inside and outside the classroom as well,” Gayden-Gaines said. “Since December, we have been at school every Saturday, strategically focusing on the individual needs of students. We originally planned for every other Saturday, but by parent request and demand, we are there every Saturday, servicing the needs of 70 to 100 kids.”

East St. John Preparatory Academy has also partnered with a local church to provide tutoring and additional support to students.

Superintendent Dr. Lynett Hookfin presented the academic growth plan for West St. John Elementary, a school site that received a simulated score of 48.4, a decrease of 14.7 points from 2019.

“At this time, they are making sure there is more instruction time added to the day,” Hookfin said.

Power standards specific to each grade level are reviewed from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. daily. Inclusion teachers are working with scholars with exceptionalities to include more small groupings, while teachers and staff members are working in clusters to plan instruction that focuses on critical needs.

LEAP 2025 is a focus area that includes test prep, practice with online testing platforms, after school LEAP power sessions and strategy Saturdays.

Fifth Ward Elementary is another school where additional instructional time has been implemented. While the letter grade did not change from an ‘F’, Dr. Hookfin said Fifth Ward has shown signs of growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of all the schools in the district, its simulated performance score showed the smallest decline between 2019 and 2021, decreasing slightly from 45.1 to 44.2.

Achievement plans for additional school sites will be shared in the coming months.