St. Mary now ranks 26th among the state’s 72 public school districts.
While the school district climbed from C status at 96.7 points in the last school year to a B at 105.5, gaining 8.5 points, even higher gains were achieved by individual schools.
Most notable was Franklin High School with the highest gain in the district at 17.9 points. It is still classified as a C school though, climbing from 73.6 to 91.5 points.
The only A school in the district was Berwick High School with a grade of 141.1. It maintained its status this year while climbing 17.7 points from 123.4 in the previous school year.
Also making gains this year were Morgan City High School (B) at 16.2 points, from 96.5 to 112.7; West St. Mary High (C) at 11.8 points, from 82.8 to 94.6; and Shannon Elementary (C) at 6.4 points, from 97.7 to 104.1.
The lowest scoring school in the district was Franklin Junior High School, which had a D. At 77.8 points, it still gained 2.2 points over its previous score of 75.6.
Also a notable loss was Blue Ribbon School Hattie Watts Elementary which lost 3.1 points, but maintained its B status with a score of 105 points.
Schools receive their report cards based on school performance scores that primarily result from iLEAP , LEAP and End-of-Course testing. Specific school ratings may also include additional data such as graduation cohort index, student attendance and dropout rates.
Statewide, a large portion of schools continued to improve. Out of nearly 1,300 public schools, 983 had higher performance scores, about 76 percent.
But the state’s overall grade was mid-range, a C.
St. Mary Superintendent Donald Aguillard said there were no changes in the grading scale from 2011 to 2012 other than schools needed to earn 75 points to escape the F label.
The previous bar was 65 points. High schools benefited by moving away from Graduation Exit Examination testing to End of Course testing which occurs during the semester the course is taken as compared to the exit exam that saw two core courses tested each in 10th and 11th grades.
Performance labels for 2012 reveal a total of one A school whose school performance score falls into a range of 120 to 200, nine B schools of a 105 to 119.9 SPS, nine C schools reporting an SPS between 90 to 104.9 and four D schools with an SPS of 65 to 89.9.
The state’s new letter grade system does not assign a plus or a minus to a school’s letter grade as it did in 2011. However, seven St. Mary schools did meet their growth targets, and 18 of the district’s 23 schools experienced academic growth in 2012.
For meeting growth targets, those seven schools — B.E. Boudreaux Middle School, Berwick Junior High, Berwick High, Foster Elementary, Morgan City High, Shannon Elementary and Wyandotte Elementary — receive financial incentives.
According to Aguillard in a statement by email, “In 2004, I challenged St. Mary students and staff to set a goal of reaching a district performance score of 100. In the eight years since issuing that challenge, I have witnessed a district that collaboratively strives to achieve for the pure betterment of the students it serves. I am extraordinarily proud of the dedicated and determined efforts made on behalf of the educational progress it took to attain this sometimes daunting achievement.
“Together we have transformed an average, at times, failing district into one of the premiere educational settings in our state.
“High standards of success have been placed into motion to afford St. Mary students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in career and college settings. The real winners exemplified by today’s score release are St. Mary’s children who are now better prepared to meet and exceed academic challenges in the future.”