Public school gains encouraging

Public school students in the past school year showed gains on several key barometers, a report issued Tuesday morning by the state Department of Education shows.

The reviews show that:

The state’s high school graduation rate was 72.3 percent in 2012, up from 71.3 percent in the previous year.

The rate of children prepared for kindergarten was 54 percent in the fall of 2012, up from 52 percent a year earlier.

Participation in classes for college credit, historically among the nation’s lowest, rose 33 percent in 2013.

Many of the figures have been released previously, and the state has been pushing to improve its high school graduation rate since 2009.

But state Superintendent of Education John White said the snapshot of school gains over the past year are encouraging.

“My big takeaway is educators and parents should feel a lot of satisfaction on how much we have taken on and how much we have accomplished in a short amount of time,” he said.

Despite a slight gain in kindergarten readiness, White said he would like to see faster gains.

The state is launching an overhaul of its early childhood education classes, and 15 parishes area about to launch pilot projects.

In other areas, the rate of students who passed a pre-ACT exam before entering the ninth grade doubled, from 20 percent in the spring of 2010 and 40 percent in the spring of 2013.

Also, about 800 teachers have said they are interested in training sessions for Advanced Placement courses, which can pave the way for college credit.

That would double the number of educators who underwent training last year.