Lake Charles-Boston's Current Situation

The state has labeled Lake Charles Boston academically unacceptable. The school is already in corrective action and early projections say it could get worse in the fall.

KPLC's Education Reporter Pam Dixon took a closer look at the problems Lake Charles Boston can't seem to shake.

Lake Charles Boston High junior Kevin Bartie never imagined he might not graduate from the school he and his brothers have known all their lives. Bartie says, "I've been here three years. It feels like another home."

But home isn't what it used to be according to top Calcasieu parish school administrators.

The overall low academic performance and high absenteeism by students and high teacher turnover are convincing some that it's time to close Lake Charles-Boston high school for good.

Lake Charles-Boston sophomore Terri Turpeau says, "I don't agree. They could have done more."

But, Pat Deaville, leader of the Lake Charles-Boston district assistance team, says the school district has spent the last five years trying to improve student achievement with school improvement plans, professional development programs and instructional methods, but student achievement remains at unacceptable levels.

Deaville, "We discovered even with professional developmental that was taking place, even with experts we still weren't seeing results...We've done everything the state requires and more, tried increasing staff gave our own curriculum and instruction department any school would love to have."

Biology teacher Keshia Broussard-Rideaux says she and others who are actually doing the teaching were left out of the decisions when it came to trying new things.

Broussard-Rideaux "Before a program is thrown into the school, talk to the teachers... Just because you implement something here doesn't mean it will be effective because it worked somewhere else."

She also says she offers after school tutoring programs, but many students don't take advantage of them.

Another problem for teachers, is the fact that less than one out of ten freshmen read at their grade level...69% read at a 6.5 grade reading level.

Lake Charles-Boston principal Rodney Geyen says, "By the time they get to high school we're struggling to carry on. It's very important to close a reading comprehension gap 3-4 grade levels behind with five to six months to taking the tests."

Some blame the elementary and middle feeder schools for promoting unprepared students.

Broussard-Rideaux says, "Last year they didn't have to pass LEAP 8th grade because of the hurricane. And there's social promotion. A 16 year old in middle school is going to be put in their grade."

According to the school system's academic progress report, 48% of the 374 students enrolled are projected to fail at least one class. 33% are projected to fail multiple classes. The numbers get worse when you single out freshmen, where 69% are projected to fail one class and 56% projected to fail multiple classes.

The overall grade point average for the entire student body is 1.9, a D-plus.

Broussard Rideaux, "I don't think it's fair to say the teachers aren't doing their job, we're trying. We need more help."

More help that some say needs to come from parents and the students themselves. Many students are simply not showing up for class to learn. 41% of the students (153 students out of 374) have 20 absences or more.

Deaville: "If the student comes to school everything we do the teachers, professional development instruction in place has a chance to work. If the student isn't there doesn't matter how well trained teacher or innovation things for students".

While there may be plenty of blame to go around, you can't blame a lack of money. More money is spent per student at LCB than at any other high school- nearly 8,000 per student compared to 4,000 to 6,600 per student at other high schools.

Almost half the high school students in the LCB school zone have already chosen to attend other schools for a number of reasons, including federal majority to minority transfers and state allowed school choice for low performing schools.

Many people blame a large exodus of capable students for the school's low academic performance.