Schools bustling this week

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Concordia Parish school personnel were mobilizing this week for students’ return to school on Monday.

Work done this week to prepare for the arrival of almost 4,000 students included everything from crunching test score numbers and decorating classrooms to fixing broken air conditioners and gathering school supplies.

&uot;For the last two days, we’ve been in staff development during school hours and teachers have been getting their rooms ready after school hours,&uot; said Dorothy Parker, principal of Ferriday Junior High. &uot;I’ll probably be here Saturday and Sunday myself trying to tie up loose ends.&uot;

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In addition, some principals were busy evaluating the number of students that failed a retest of the Louisiana Educational Assessment Test this summer.

Such scores help determine which students pass to the next grade and which end up in classes 4T and 8T.

Those are classifications for students who passed their fourth- and eighth-grade classes, but are taking transitional classes in the subjects they failed on the LEAP test.

Based on students’ scores, principals decided by Friday which classes students will attend this school year, said Superintendent Lester &uot;Pete&uot; Peterman.

&uot;But they’ve been busy in workshops and faculty meetings today, so we (at the central office) probably will not know the number of students in transitional classes until Monday or Tuesday,&uot;&160;Beatrice Williams, Title I supervisor for the district, said Friday.

Fourth- and eighth-graders who passed their classes but failed the LEAP retest for the first time will be placed in transitional classes in the subjects they failed on LEAP – math, English, or both.

But students who passed their fifth- and ninth-grade classes – and, in the case of ninth-graders, have enough Carnegie units to pass to the next grade – but failed the LEAP for the second year will be allowed to pass.

That is because the State Department of Education only allows students to be held back in transitional classes for one year due to LEAP, Williams said.

Ninth-graders who fail the test for the second time and do not have enough Carnegie units to pass to the 10th grade can enter a pre-General Educational Diploma (GED) program with their parents’ permission. Without permission, they stay another year in grade 8T.

According to scores released earlier this month, 39 fourth-graders and 22 eighth-graders failed the English portion of this summer’s LEAP retest. And 49 fourth-graders and 41 eighth-graders failed the math section.

School-by-school scores were not yet available as of Friday afternoon.

Besides interpreting test scores and holding faculty meetings, school faculty were busy this week holding open-house events to allow parents and students to meet teachers.

That was the case Friday afternoon, when Vidalia’s lower and upper elementary schools held their &uot;Meet the Teacher&uot; events. Teachers also used that time to gather school supplies for each student.

Despite the rush in getting ready for the first day of school, district administrators seemed optimistic that all would be ready.

&uot;We’re expecting a smooth start of school,&uot;&160;Parker said. &uot;We’re raring to go.&uot;