Ferriday schools trying to boost scores

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 26, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. – Ferriday’s public schools are about to get some new teams – but their goal won’t be a sports championship. Instead, these are teams of district personnel who will be going into the schools starting in October to advise administrators and teachers on what they can do to boost students’ test scores.

&uot;This isn’t something we are doing because the state made us do it – they didn’t,&uot;&160;said Interim Superintendent Lester &uot;Pete&uot; Peterman. &uot;We’re doing this because we feel we need to. This will be an ongoing program for 10 years.&uot;

On Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Education released its ratings of schools with students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Those scores are based mostly on how students scored on two standardized tests, the LEAP Test and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

Email newsletter signup

”We’ve got a long way to go but you can’t fix something unless you know where it is,” Gov. Mike Foster said as the scores were released. ”Now, we know where the problems are.&uot;

Because Ferriday’s four elementary and middle schools scored in the 30s, they and almost 500 other schools were rated below average. The state’s goal is for every K-8 school to score at least 100 at the end of 10 years.

The district actually figured its own scores ahead of time and began selecting and training 18 educators for the assistance teams during the 1998-99 school year.

Principals of Ferriday schools have reviewed what areas of the standardized tests students scored the lowest on last year and are drawing up &uot;school improvement plans&uot; for boosting those scores. Those reports will be submitted by Oct. 1.

Assistance teams for each school will be selected in early October and will begin working with principals later that month to suggest strategies for reaching those goals.

In addition, a educational facilitator paid with federal grant money is already working at Ferriday Upper Elementary and Ferriday Junior High. &uot;That person is there to assist teachers in making sure they are addressing the things that need to be addressed,&uot;&160;Peterman said.

The district has also contacted a testing service about developing periodic tests to make sure students are learning what they should in reading/language, math, science and social studies. Those tests will eventually become part of the students’ grades, Peterman said. But he does not yet know when the tests would start, how often they would be given or when they would become part of students’ grades.

Peterman said he is proud of how other schools in the district scored. Vidalia schools scored in the 70s; Monterey High School scored 82.5; and Ridgecrest Elementary scored 91.8.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.