LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish school district’s performance rating improved from a C to a B based on data released Monday by the Louisiana Department of Education.
The district’s performance score increased by 11.9 points from 97.6 last year to 109.5 based on 2011-12 school year data, according to the state Department of Education.
“We have to give a lot of credit to the kids, parents, teachers and principals,” Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Pat Cooper said. “That’s where it’s all supposed to happen.”
The scores released Monday also showed that Northside High School has been removed from the state’s list of academically unacceptable schools, a label it received in late July based on preliminary performance scores.
The high school’s score is now 76.7, 2.3 points above a preliminary score of 74.4 released in July. School officials had said that a bump in the high school’s score was expected based on errors detected in the state’s calculation.
District accountability supervisor Tom Spencer said he’s waiting for more data from the state to verify scores for the district’s other high schools.
“After our experience last year with errors, we would like to verify that the data was corrected as the state said they would correct it and I would like to verify some of these numbers,” Spencer said.
Cooper also credited reorganization of the central office, which included the creation of an accountability office a separate office of accountability for its oversight of testing and other data reported to the state.
“They did a lot of work over the spring and summer to make sure that the scores were cleaned up and our kids and teachers … were getting credit for all their work,” Cooper said.
Cooper began work as the district’s superintendent in January and set in motion a turnaround plan for Northside High School in February.
He said Monday he expects his turnaround plan for the district, which took effect this academic year, will help to further improve other struggling schools in the district, particularly J.W. Faulk and Alice Boucher Elementary. Both elementary schools were identified as F schools with an academically unacceptable school label or AUS label when preliminary scores were released in July,
The state reported Monday that the number of F schools increased from 115 last year to 157 in 2012 or 36 percent, a bump state officials attributed to raising state accountability standards from a minimum score of 65 last year to a 75 this year to prevent an F label and academically unacceptable status.
Both elementary schools are the only schools in the district with an F label. Faulk has a score of 65.1 and Boucher, 69.5. Changes in administration and staff at both schools were made over the summer, Cooper said.
“I think we’ll see the same kind of results at those two schools. We’ll know at the end of the year when they take their tests,” Cooper said.
He said Monday the district is continuing to review the state data and to formulate strategies for schools that didn’t show improvement.
“Those schools that remain at a D level, we’re certainly going to figure out what to do there,” he said. “We’re going to continue to zero in on getting those C and D schools where they need to be, and obviously the two AUS schools.”
Cooper’s turnaround plan includes recommendations designed to move the district to an “A” label within six years. The improvements made in the past year should give the community “a big lift,” he said.
“I think we’ve crossed a big hurdle in letting them know that we can make that kind of progress,” Cooper said.
Schools meeting or exceeding growth targets were: Acadiana High, L.J. Alleman Middle, Comeaux High, L. Leo Judice Elementary, Lafayette High, Youngsville Middle, J. Wallace James Elementary, and Early College Academy. David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy received its first performance score — 99.6, which is a C label.