At the December 2010 meeting of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, a new rating system for school performance was approved in an effort to offer more clearly conveyed labels to the public. As a result, Louisiana public schools will now be awarded a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F based on school performance scores.
St. Mary’s 2011 district performance score (DPS) of 96.7 exceeds the state’s performance score of 93.9 and reflects a 2.4 gain from the prior year.
Under the previous “star” rating system, St. Mary was considered a two-star district. The 2010 performance labels of St. Mary schools identified five three-star schools, 15 two-star schools, one one-star school, two schools labeled Academic Watch and no schools labeled Academically Unacceptable. Today’s release indicates a letter grade of “C” for St. Mary’s district performance score of 96.7. Additionally, the 2011 performance labels reveal one “A” school, five “B” schools, 11 “C” schools and six “D” schools in St. Mary Parish.
The 96.7 DPS signifies a 17.6 point increase over the past seven years. St. Mary now ranks 30th among Louisiana’s 70 school districts. The significance of the ongoing growth trend is noteworthy, considering that in 2004, St. Mary’s DPS was 79.1, giving the district a ranking of 44th of 66 school districts.
District performance scores are calculated using individual student scores on various standardized assessments, as well as factoring additional data such as graduation cohort index, student attendance and dropout rates.
The St. Mary Parish School Board commends Berwick High (123.4) as an “A” school, one of only 98 schools in Louisiana to achieve this status.
Also achieving honor roll status and an SPS between 105.0 and 119.9 are the following “B” schools: Berwick Elementary (112.1), Berwick Junior High (111.1), Hattie Watts Elementary (108.1), J.A. Hernandez (106.5) and Wyandotte Elementary (105.5).
Further recognition is extended to these “C” schools with school performance scores between 90.0 and 104.9: Bayou Vista Elementary (104.4), Morgan City Junior High (103.5), Foster Elementary (101.3), Norman Elementary (100.4), Maitland Elementary (98.7), Shannon Elementary (97.7), Aucoin Elementary (97.7), Morgan City High (96.5), Centerville High School (96.1), Patterson High (93) and Patterson Junior High (90.7).
Targeted district efforts have been in place in the following “D” schools since the initial release of scores in May: LaGrange Elementary (88.1), Raintree Elementary (84.9), West St. Mary High (82.8), Franklin Junior High (75.6), B.E. Boudreaux Middle (74.0) and Franklin High (73.6).
The state’s letter grade system also assigns a plus (+) to a school’s letter grade if the school meets its growth target and a minus (-) if the school’s SPS has declined by at least .1 in 2011. Six schools met their growth targets garnering the plus (+) designation and nine schools received a minus (-) added to their letter grade.
When school performance scores were first assigned in 1999, the goal was set for schools to work toward 100 and the cut score for academically unacceptable (AUS) was 30. This year, the academically unacceptable label is given to schools with an SPS of less than 65.
St. Mary Parish is fortunate to have 10 of 23 schools reach the 100 and above aspiration with no schools warranting academically unacceptable status. Beginning with the 2012 performance labels, schools that fall below 75 will be designated academically unacceptable. Only two of the district’s 23 schools fall below the raised 2012 AUS cut score of 75.
According to Robbi Gouaux, St. Mary Parish accountability manager, “Baseline School Performance Scores include standardized assessment scores administered in grades 3-11 and utilize attendance and dropout rates based on school grade configurations. Additionally, the graduation index is included in the high school SPS. The graduation index tracks a cohort group of students for four years, assigning point values as the students graduate from high school. Bonus points are added for students qualifying for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarship program, attaining Industry-Based Certifications and/or receiving Academic or Career Tech Endorsements.”
“Schools in St. Mary consistently strive to exceed their annual growth targets. This persistent, unwavering dedication of district students and staff has resulted in admirable sustained academic growth throughout the last seven years. The district has achieved commendable academic growth during the period of 2004 to 2011, in part through a collaborative effort to rely on a philosophy of reliance on data-driven, results-oriented practices,” Aguillard said.
“I am confident that our district possesses the capacity and commitment to continue working to steadily improve student achievement. I extend my sincere congratulations and appreciation to all stakeholders for their contribution to building a culture of heightened academic excellence. The district remains resolute to exert every effort to address the academic needs of St. Mary Parish students.”