St. John Parish among school districts showing growth in LEAP scores

Published 12:40 am Saturday, August 13, 2022

(The Center Square) — Student test scores recently released by the Louisiana Department of Education are revealing which districts and schools flourished in recent years and which held fast or declined.

Student scores on 2021-2022 LEAP tests released last week showed 80% of Louisiana school systems improved proficiency rates for grades 3-8 compared to 2022-21, gaining back roughly half of learning lost to pandemic policies and storms that keep kids from the classroom in recent years.

But results varied significantly, with some schools making impressive strides despite a high percentage of students in poverty, while many districts posted no growth or declines compared to last year.

Erin Bendily, a former Louisiana education official who now serves as vice president for policy and strategy at the Pelican Institute, pointed to some of the highlights on Twitter.

A total of 17 districts posted no growth or declines in student achievement in grades 3-8 or high school, or both, Bendily noted.

Students in Livingston schools, for example, declined 2% in proficiency for grades 3 through 8, while high schoolers in the same district declined by 1%. Students in City of Baker schools, as well as those in St. Tammany and West Feliciana parishes, also slid 1%, both for third through eighth grade and high school.

Others that showed no improvement or declines in at least one category of students included the Recovery School District and Central Community Schools, as well as Assumption, Beauregard, Bossier, Cameron, Pointe Coupee, Richland, St. Charles, St. Mary, Tensas, Washington, and City of Monroe schools.

Meanwhile, at least eight districts with students who lost learning time due to last year’s Hurricane Ida still managed to post gains.

“Kudos to these school systems that missed 15+ days (three weeks) of school due to Hurricane Ida and still posted growth in student achievement,” Bendily posted to Twitter.

In Plaquemines Parish, students in grades 3-8 improved proficiency by 4%, while high schoolers in the same district improved 3%. In Orleans Parish, the improvement was 3% and 2%, respectively. Jefferson Parish students in grades 3-8 improved 2%, and high schoolers there improved 3%.

Students in both high school and grades 3-8 improved 2% in Terrebonne, St. James, and St. Helena parishes. St. John the Baptist Parish students in grades 3-8 improved proficiency by 3% and high schoolers there improved 1%, while in Tangipahoa students improved proficiency by 1% in grades 3-8, and by 2% in high school.

Bendily also posted to Twitter to highlight “schools serving a more than 85%+ economically disadvantaged student population that saw BIG growth in just one year.”

Those schools include Boley Elementary in Ouachita Parish with 19% growth in students testing proficient and above, Progress Elementary in East Baton Rouge with 15%, JCFA charter school in Jefferson Parish with 14%, Thrive Academy in East Baton Rouge with 14%, Palmetto Elementary in St. Landry Parish with 13%, and J.S. Aucoin Elementary in St. Mary Parish with 13% growth.