Schools ranked 5th best

5 elementary schools jump from “B” to “A”

All except four schools in St. Charles Parish received an “A” grade, according to a report card released by the Louisiana Department of Education.

The St. Charles Parish school district, as a whole, received an “A” rating. The letter grade remains the same as last year, but the points awarded to the district increased from 105.9 to 107.4.

Both Hahnville and Destrehan high schools received “B” grades. R.K. Smith Middle School and Luling Elementary School, both in Luling, received the only other “B” grades in the parish. St. Charles Parish said the school district as a whole was ranked as the fifth best in the state, out of a total of 128.

“This type of success is only made possible through the dedication and hard work of our students and employees,” Superintendent Felicia Gomez-Walker said. “Because of their commitment…we are able to achieve this remarkable rating.”The greatest improvement came from Mimosa Park Elementary and Lakewood Elementary, who both jumped by 14.1 points. This took the two schools from a “B” grade to an “A” grade.

Michele DeBruler, principal at Mimosa Park, attributes the success to a “whole team approach” that helps students from the perspective of not only the teachers, but also the parents, support staff, administration and St. Charles schools’ central office. All students, DeBruler said, are carefully tracked starting in  kindergarten to ensure that any changes in their progress is responded to with any resources deemed necessary.

“Every student is treated as an individual,” DeBruler said.Kelli Oertling, principal of Lakewood, echoed the sentiment, and said that this has led to a higher number of students scoring at the mastery and advanced levels, the two areas that, according to DeBruler, weigh most heavily on the school’s ultimate score.

“We focus on every child, every day, and we intend for our scores to grow,” Oertling said.

Virtually every school outperformed the state standard for students struggling with English and math. Of students functioning below their grade level in English and Math at the start of the year, 65 percent exceeded expectations by the end in St. Charles Parish. Statewide, an average of only 55 percent exceeded expectations in English while only 53 percent exceeded expectations in math.

A high correlation was found, however, between the number of students from households that qualify for free or reduced lunch at an elementary school and that school’s grade. In Lakewood Elementary, which received one of the highest grades in the parish, 41 percent of students qualified. Eighty-two percent of students at Luling Elementary, which had the lowest score in the parish, qualify for free or reduced lunches.

Luling Elementary’s score also decreased by 0.5 points when compared to last year.

In addition to Mimosa Park and Lakewood, three other schools in the district rose from a “B” to an “A” rating. These were Albert Cammon Middle School in St. Rose; Norco Elementary in Norco; and St. Rose Elementary in St. Rose.

Destrehan and Hahnville High schools had graduation rates of 83 and 85 percent, respectively. Both are significantly higher rates than the state average of 74 percent.

The state’s education department said that the overall rise in school quality measures not only the improvement among students, but, for the first time, the teacher progress as well. State Superintendent John White said that the new data shows schools that set higher standards see greater progress in their students.

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