St. Charles Parish school children take a leap

St. Charles Parish Public Schools ranked fourth highest for “mastery” of the basic subjects in 2017-18 LEAP tests in Louisiana.

In St. Charles Parish, 49 percent of students scored in mastery and above, as well as showed one of the strongest gains of 3 percent over last year.

LEAP scores are indicators of how well students in grades three through eight are performing in the basics – math, English and the language arts, and social studies.

St. Charles Parish results also ranked significantly higher than statewide results of 34 percent of students ranking at mastery.

Ajit “AJ” Pethe, St. Charles Parish Public Schools’ assistant superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, said the test scores are based on a plan aimed at identifying areas for improvement, which is required for all school systems.

“As we move forward, we will be intentional in our focus on quality curriculum resources, effective delivery of curriculum, and ongoing formative assessment to monitor the progress of students and provide interventions as necessary,” Pethe said.

There are five levels of achievement on the LEAP test – advanced, mastery, basic, approaching basic, and unsatisfactory, he said. By 2025, the average performance of students has to be at the mastery level in order for a school or district to be rated an “A.”

The parish’s mastery results showing growth indicate the plan is working, and they put the school district among those showing year-to-year growth in test results.

In addition to supporting teachers and administrators in this effort, Pethe said St. Charles Parish students also were administered diagnostic and interim assessments as part of the LEAP 360 assessment system, which provided periodic samplings of student performance and identified areas for improvement.

“Collaboration between the curriculum and instruction department and the schools resulted in strategic practices relative to curriculum, instruction, and assessment,” Pethe said.

In addition to overall performance, he added, “We are particularly proud of the performance of our African American and economically disadvantaged students,” he said. “The high rankings of these two subgroups indicate that our emphasis on equity in education is achieving positive results for students.”

In economically disadvantaged students, the school district showed 40 percent at mastery, up from last year’s 36 percent, and black or African-American, 35 percent up from 31 percent.

Both results exceeded state results, which were 26 percent in economically disadvantaged students, and 21 percent in black or African-American students.

By school overall scores, Albert Cammon Middle School made the biggest jump in mastery performance at 45 percent, up from last year’s 35 percent.

Other schools showing year-to-year gains include R.K Smith Middle School, 39 percent up 5 percent; J.B. Martin Middle School, 57 percent up 8 percent: St. Rose Elementary, 43 percent up 1 percent, and Harry Hurst Middle School, 58 percent up 4 percent.

Lakewood Elementary School had 53 percent of students ranking in mastery, the same percent as last year. Schools that fell in results include: Luling Elementary, 29 percent down 4 percent; Norco Elementary at 57 percent down 1 percent; R. J. Vial Elementary, 49 percent down 1 percent, and Ethel Schoeffner Elementary, 50 percent down 1 percent.

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