LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish School Board will meet with Superintendent Pat Cooper and top members of his staff Saturday for an update on the district’s turnaround plan and discussions on district programs, operations and facilities.
The School Board retreat is open to the public and is scheduled from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at South Louisiana Community College, 320 Devalcourt St.
The day is designed to build to build trust and transparency through discussion among board members and top district officials and starts with a discussion centered on everyone’s expectations, said Sandra Billeaudeau, the district’s assistant superintendent.
District achievement improved in the past year with the district’s label moving from a C to a B, based on student performance data released by the Louisiana Department of Education earlier this week. The goal is to move the district’s state accountability rating to an A within six years.
Districts with performance scores of 120 or out of a possible 200 points are rated as A districts. Schools and school districts earn F letter grades if they have performance scores of less than 75, up from 65 a year ago. Louisiana began school accountability in the late 1990s.
For elementary and middle schools, 90 percent of their school score consists of results from standardized tests given each spring. The rest is a mix of attendance and dropout rates.
High schools are different. Seventy percent is test scores and the remainder is a graduation index that includes several factors, including graduation rates.
The high school tests are changing. The graduation exit exam has been phased out in favor of a growing number of end-of-course exams. In the future, ACT scores will figure heavily into a high school’s score.
Billeaudeau said the Lafayette district faces several challenges, such as its high number of overage students, student achievement, technology infrastructure and facility needs and that discussion is scheduled to begin at 1:10 p.m.
“You have to work collaboratively,” she said. “It’s creating a more responsive approach for our children. We need to come to some solutions or some common ground to operate from.”
Board president Shelton Cobb said Friday he expects the board will receive more detailed information about the status of district programs.
“At board meetings, we get snippets of what’s going on,” he said. “It will also give the public an idea of where we are.
We did see a significant boost with the recent state scores.”
Cobb said the retreat will also be an opportunity to discuss the future of the district, particularly growth in the southern part of the parish at schools in Youngsville, where major expansions at two schools, Green T. Lindon Elementary and Youngsville Middle, will likely be funded by a $30 million bond sale the board approved Wednesday.
The board also will discuss other projects and school facilities needs, including involve major renovations at Northside High, Lafayette High and L.J. Alleman Middle and an expansion and renovations at David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy.
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