School ratings increase

St. Charles now has nine 3-star schools

St. Charles Parish public schools have improved their district performance rating for 2008, according to figures released by the Louisiana Department of Education.

Out of 69 public school districts, St. Charles Parish ranked sixth in the state, rising from seventh place in 2007. And 9 out of 17 schools scored at least 100, a goal set by the state for schools to reach by 2009.

The scores are based on last spring’s standardized test scores and on attendance and dropout rates.

Mimosa Park Elementary scored the highest among the parish’s schools with an overall high score of 117.5.

Mimosa principal Michele de Bruler attributes her school’s achievement to their significant improvements with overall attendance and reading comprehension.

“At Mimosa, we offer kids a caring and nurturing environment that makes it easier for them to want to come to school,” she said. “But we also give incentives and several school-based clubs that children can become a part of if they have good attendance.”

de Bruler says that students who maintain good attendance records, do their homework regularly and have positive behavior are invited to join certain clubs and to attend Percy’s Attendance Celebration, an event named after the school’s mascot.

“At the end of each nine weeks, we hold a celebration in the cafeteria for all the kids who reached the attendance goals set for them,” de Bruler said. “Here we reward them for their achievement and I give a motivational speech to help them continue the good work.”

Improvements in the school’s reading comprehension programs were also an integral part of Mimosa’s 2008 performance score.

“We’ve really redesigned our literacy programs over the past few years,” said de Bruler. “Helping kids become independent readers and have daily reading time is one thing that we focus on at Mimosa.”

de Bruler points out that there are several support groups in place for each reading level at the school.

“We want to help each student, whether they are above-average students or kids who really need the extra help, to continue to excel,” she said. “An we want to utilize every one on our staff in a positive way and support all students, regardless of their academic levels.”

Crediting Mimosa teachers, de Bruler says that she is pleased to know that the school’s instructors are giving it their all.

“Our teachers spend a lot of time planning for our kids’ individual needs,” she said. “And this new performance score shows that Mimosa’s educators are dedicated to each child’s advancement.”

The assistant superintendent of secondary schools and quality assurance for St. Charles Parish, Felecia Gomez, says that Mimosa’s rating represents one grade level’s achievement in addition to attendance and points out that the entire school district improved. St. Charles now has nine 3-star schools.

“It is very encouraging that we moved from a 2-star district to a 3-star district,” she said. “We are one of nine districts in the state to score over 100.”

Gomez notes that four other schools in the parish had tremendous improvement in their performance ranking since 2007.

Luling’s Lakewood Elementary saw an increase of  5.3 points from 108.7 in 2007 to 114 in 2008.

Allemands Elementary in Des Allemands jumped 6.2 points from 93.4 in 2007 to 99.6 in 2008.

Ethel Schoeffner Elementary in St. Rose saw an increase of 3.4 points from 108.5 in 2007 to 111.9 in 2008.

Paradis’ J.B. Martin Middle rose 4.1 points from 100.2 in 2007 to 104.3 in 2008.

Gomez adds that the school district does have long-term goals in place to improve every school’s rating in the coming years.

“Each school’s school performance plans will continue to address individual school needs,” she said. “The central office will continue monitoring and providing support to those schools in need.”

The parish’s high schools  both saw slight improvements from their 2007 scores,  with Hahnville High School at an overall score of 98.7 and Destrehan High School topping out at 103.4.

The nine 3-star school’s are: Destrehan High School, Lakewood Elementary, J.B. Martin Middle, Mimosa Park Elementary, A.A. Songy Kindergarten Center, Harry M. Hurst Middle, New Sarpy Elementary and Ethel Schoeffner.

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