Judge OKs plan to move third grades

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2000

VIDALIA, La. — A federal judge has approved a plan to move third grades in Ferriday and Vidalia to upper elementary schools, Concordia Parish School Board Attorney Norman Magee announced at the board’s Tuesday meeting.

That change, which would affect about 157 third-graders, would be in place for the 2000-01 school year. The plan would also move kindergarten and pre-K classes in Ferriday to Ferriday Lower Elementary. The district has not yet decided how Ferriday Kindergarten Center will be used.

The reasoning is that having third-graders in upper elementaries — now only fourth and fifth grades — would let those schools to better prepare them for the LEAP Test. Fourth- and eighth-graders must pass LEAP to move to the next grades.

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In the next two months, the district will order nine temporary buildings, transfer six or seven teachers to different schools and move textbooks and equipment among schools to accommodate the change, said Superintendent Lester &uot;Pete&uot; Peterman.

The plan was approved in early March by the school board, in mid-May by the U.S. Justice Department and on June 1 by U.S. District Judge F.A. Little Jr. It had to be approved by the court because the district is still under a 1970 desegregation order.

Also in Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted to list students’ numerical grades, as well as their letter grades, on report cards. That change would start with the 2000-01 school year, said Fred Butcher, the district’s supervisor of curriculum and instruction.

In its July meeting, the board will also be asked to approve a pupil progression plan that will require students to take certain courses to be considered honors students, Peterman said.

That way, being an honors student &uot;would mean you have taken the … toughest courses Concordia Parish has to offer,&uot;&160;Butcher said.

That change would start with students entering ninth grade in fall 2000.

The board also:

Approved a new policy spelling out grade requirements for participation in extracurricular activities.

Authorized a contract under which the Rapides Foundation is giving a $23,800 grant to the district for teacher training for the 2000-01 school year.

Approved 18 appointments, 10 resignations, seven retirements, seven transfers and nine items related to employee leave.

Appointed Dorothy Marsalis as a part-time vocational counselor.

Approved the district’s special education application.