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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -
The grades are in for Louisiana schools. For many it's good news -- a record number posted A's, but many still missed the mark.
Schools are making progress and many schools in Calcasieu Parish scored in the average to above average range, but there are still some schools scoring below average at the "D" and "F" levels.
The Calcasieu Parish School Board knows about these particular schools and are working to improve them.
"In my district (there are) four schools. One school an "F" school, one "F" school, and three schools "D" schools," CPSB Member Fredman Hardy said.
Hardy knows change needs to be made in order to change these below average school scores. During a CPSB budget committee meeting on Tuesday, he put in a budget request to get special help for the teachers at these failing schools. Special help consisting of teaching aids and tutors.
"I made that request not only for my district, but for any district that has a situation where they have "D" schools, and "C" schools and "F" schools," Hardy said. "Because those schools sometimes need special help."
He said holding the principals of these schools accountable for getting the scores up, and getting children and parents involved is important for improvement.
"We can't leave them behind and we can't make excuses. We've got to have our principals step up and do these things," he said.
And even though only three schools in the parish scored an "F" letter grade through the State's education department, Hardy said that's three too many.
"I take it personally and I take it seriously and I take it educationally," he said. "It's important that we know where our children are at every time and in that academic queue."
Hardy said he feels hopeful about the future of these failing schools and knows that the failing grades won't be there forever. He said it's important to provide the best education for the students in Calcasieu Parish.
Schools in Calcasieu Parish receiving a "D" or "F" letter grade from the Louisiana Department of Education:
The official press release from the Louisiana Department of Education:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: 10/22/2012 Contact: Public Affairs, (225) 342-3600, Fax: (225) 342-0193
RECORD NUMBER OF LOUISIANA SCHOOLS EARN AN "A"
More Rigorous Standards, Tests Pose Challenges in Years Ahead
BATON ROUGE, La. - A record number of schools in Louisiana earned an A this year, according to school report cards released today by the Louisiana Department of Education. The number of schools earning an A rose from 98 last year to 163 this year. Statewide, 36 percent of schools earned an A or B, up from 28 percent last year, and D and F schools dropped from 44 percent in 2011 to 36 percent this year.
"Schools across Louisiana continue to make progress, which means more children are gaining the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and careers," said State Superintendent of Education John White. "While this year's grades are good news, schools will need to continue to work hard to maintain these good grades as Louisiana raises standards in the coming years."
This year, 983 schools made progress and 440 schools were designated a Top Gains school, which are schools that improved their School Performance Score by or beyond a pre-determined growth target. Top Gains schools earn monetary rewards for educational purposes within the school.
While the number of F schools increased from last year, from 115 to 157, the increase in this category was the result of a more rigorous grade scale used this year. This year, schools had to earn a School Performance Score of at least 75 to avoid earning an F, up from 65 last year. The number of schools earning a score below 65 actually dropped, from 115 to 70 - more evidence that raising the bar also raises student achievement.
"Reforms are working," said White. "Every time we raise standards, students and schools rise to the challenge. We raised the bar this year and we saw schools improve in every grade level. We will continue to raise the bar until all students achieve."
For this school year, schools will be graded, in part, based on more rigorous writing prompts. In the 2013-2014 school year, schools will be graded based on tests with more rigorous writing questions for all subjects - English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. All 11th graders will also take the ACT. The following year, 2014-2015, tests will continue to increase rigor. In 2014-2015, Louisiana will begin using rigorous assessments the state has designed with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).