Long ride to schoolPublished 12:10am Friday, August 24, 2012
VIDALIA — Forty-five students from various Ferriday schools had two first day of school experiences this year after choosing to relocate to new schools as part of a federal program.originally
Through the School Choice program, which is part of the federal No Child Left Behind program, students who attend schools that score below 75 on school performance tests have the option to attend another school in the parish.
Of the 11 schools in the Concordia Parish School District, three Ferriday schools scored below 75 percent on the 2012 school performance tests and are considered “in need of improvement.”
The schools and their corresponding performance tests are as follows:
Ferriday Lower — 63.
Ferriday Upper — 66.3.
Ferriday Junior High — 73.8.
The 2011 District Performance score for Concordia Parish was 91.4.
The 2011 average state performance score was 93.9.
Superintendent Paul Nelson said 45 students from Ferriday Lower, Ferriday Upper and Ferriday Junior High were ultimately granted the option to attend a different school.
Students were granted enrollment in the schools based on space availability, transportation and educational need
“We had 91 that asked and applied, but by the time we went back through, called them and asked again, that number dropped to more than half,” Nelson said. “I don’t know if it’s a group of people that apply together and then they all drop out together or people just changed their minds.”
Those 45 students were given the option to attend Vidalia Upper, Vidalia Lower or Monterey High School, all schools with high performance scores.
“Vidalia Junior High School and Vidalia High School are both really stacked with students already, so we couldn’t move any students to those schools,” Nelson said. “It also made sense geographically for some of the assignments.”
Twenty-eight students accepted school choice assignments to Monterey High School and 17 accepted to either Vidalia Upper or Lower.
Apart from enrolling a student into a new school after the school year has already started, Nelson said transportation is the next biggest issue for the district.
“It’s going to take a couple of days to iron out the kinks in transportation, because we might have to add a whole separate bus route,” Nelson said. “We talked about all the different scenarios for each area and came up with different plans.”
A student living in Ridgecrest, Nelson gave as an example, would be picked up at their home and ride the bus through Ferriday and Jonesville before coming down to Monterey.
“Some of those busses will snake their way around the parish before getting to school, but they’ll get there,” Nelson said. “No matter what, we’ll get those kids back and forth.”