High schools strive for more academic growth

April 30, 2008 at 11:58 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Destrehan and Hahnville both had minimal academic growth in the 2006-07 school year, but both school’s principals hope to exceed that mark next year by turning more focus to their freshman classes and increasing communication.

Destrehan gained a star in the 2006-07 school report cards, moving up from a two-star school to a three-star learning institution. Hahnville remained a two-star school, but made a huge jump in the most recent school report cards because   they were actually listed as a school in decline in the 2005-’06 school report cards.

"We had some growth, so we are proud of that," Hahnville principal Lorel Gonzales said. "However, we would like scores to be higher and we are working all year to accomplish this goal."

Destrehan principal Stephen Weber agreed.

"We are always striving to be the best in the state," Weber said. "I would have loved to see a little more progression though."

Weber hopes that progression will come with the introduction of more collaboration between the teachers.

"We want to create common assessments so that the teachers compare their students and see in what areas their students are performing well," Weber said. "Let's say one teacher's class scored off the charts in fractions. The other math teachers can talk to that teacher and maybe use their methods when they are teaching fractions."
Weber also says that focusing on the freshmen, the age at

which most kids in the country decide to drop-out, should lead to improvements as well.

"We have begun a ninth grade redesign so that we can catch them before they drop-out," Weber said. "We separate the ninth graders and give them more structure and more support."

Part of that support includes mandatory tutoring for all freshman students that are struggling in the classroom.

"Overall though, this is just a phenomenal student body," Weber said.

Gonzales says that Hahnville has also worked hard to stem drop-out rates.

"Our dropout rate has decreased since the previous year," she said. "We have developed interventions to address this and are seeing improvements in keeping kids in high school until they graduate."

In addition, Hahnville has received a state grant for a ninth grade redesign to plan a transition program for their incoming freshman. Gonzales says the school has also been monitoring teacher performance frequently to provide feedback for improvement.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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