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Parish schools get report card

VIDALIA — The Concordia Parish school system’s report card has come in, and it has two As, one B, one C, two Ds and three Fs.

The Louisiana Department of Education released school performance scores for 2012 Monday, and four of the nine Concordia Parish schools met their growth goals for the year.

School performance scores are calculated based on student test scores, school attendance and dropout and graduation rates. They are based on a 200-point scale, with anything below 75 points graded F and anything above 120 rated A.

The school district’s overall score was 97.7, or a grade of C. In 2011, the school district’s grade was 91.4

The schools that exceeded their growth targets included Ferriday High School, Monterey High School, Vidalia High School and Vidalia Upper Elementary.

Notable was Ferriday High School’s 15.2-point gain to a total score of 89.6, up from 74.4 in 2011.

Superintendent Paul Nelson said the school district was pleased with the results, especially at the high schools.

Nelson said end of course score requirements for graduation has helped serve as a motivation for students, but the school district is also better learning how to meet accountability goals.

“We have been really working on how to make our teachers know and understand the assessment guides for our courses, so teachers are now familiar with what is going to be on the test and the format it will be in,” Nelson said.

Likewise, school performance scores for high schools also factor in how many students are taking dual-enrollment courses and earning technical certificates, something Nelson said has increased in recent years.

The three schools given the F designation were Ferriday Junior High School, Ferriday Lower Elementary and Ferriday Upper Elementary. Ferriday Lower Elementary fell 14.5 points from 2011 to a score of 55.4.

Because the school performance score for lower elementary schools is 90 percent determined how the third graders at the upper elementary schools perform, FLE took a hard hit after a bad year at FUE, Nelson said.

“The Ferriday Upper scores were bad, and there is no other way to describe it other than that,” Nelson said. “So we have been working with the schools to have more integration between the second and third grades.”

Nelson also said some staffing changes were made at FUE.

The school performance scores for each school were as follows:

• Vidalia High School, graded A, scored 128.8

• Monterey High School, graded A, scored 123.6

• Vidalia Lower Elementary, graded B, scored 108.7

• Vidalia Upper Elementary, graded C, scored 106.3

• Vidalia Junior High, graded C, scored 97.9

• Ferriday High School, graded D, scored 89.6

• Ridgecrest Elementary School, graded D, scored 88.9

Ridgecrest Elementary became the Concordia Parish Academy of Math, Science and Technology, a magnet program, this fall.

• Ferriday Junior High, rated F, scored 75.6

Nelson said that even though FJHS was rated 75.6, the school performance score letter grade rating also factors in the previous year’s performance, and so even though the school earned a score that would have been graded‘D in 2012, the 2011 score kept the school from moving out of that category.

“Sometimes I think the letter grades don’t reflect the hard work that the staff has put in to get to a point, because we don’t all start at the same point,” Nelson said.

• Ferriday Upper Elementary School, graded F, scored 67.

• Ferriday Lower Elementary, rated F, scored 55.4.

Nelson said that while parents should pay attention to the school letter grades, he said he feels they can be misleading.

“You have to look at it yourself and ask, ‘Is that (rating) really true?’” Nelson said. “Vidalia Junior High is at 99, and they are considered a C.”

Likewise, the FHS scores improvement is not necessarily reflected in the school’s letter grade, Nelson said.

“Those letter grades are important, but they should not be the only thing that you use to judge the quality of your child’s school. We are going to continue to work hard, and we are going to continue to work harder and smarter. We want people to know that when they are sending their kids to our schools, we are working hard to make it a better place.”




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