One school meets growth requirements

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

VIDALIA &8212; Only one Concordia Parish school met state requirements this year for academic growth based on state achievement formulas.

The word at Monterey High School is ecstatic, Principal Neeva Sibley said, the feeling at the other schools &8212; a little disappointed.

The state released School Performance Scores and growth labels last week. Schools ranked &8220;academically unacceptable&8221; &8212; Ferriday Lower, Upper and Junior &8212; have known their scores for several months now.

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Of the remaining parish schools, only Monterey and Vidalia Junior High School showed any growth at all.

Yet VJHS isn&8217;t happy, Principal Paul Nelson said. Though they received the &8220;minimal academic growth&8221; label &8212; a big step up from last year&8217;s &8220;school in decline&8221; label &8212; the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders still failed to meet their growth target.

Based on the previous year&8217;s academic performance, the state uses a formula combining test scores, attendance and dropout rates to set a growth target for the next year.

VJHS was aiming for a 3.3; they achieved 2.7.

&8220;We were fully anticipating meeting our growth target,&8221; Nelson said. &8220;We really thought we had it.&8221;

In fact, the school&8217;s calculations show that they did met the 3.3 expectation. Nelson is working to recalculate and may be eligible for an appeal to the state.

Monterey well exceeded its growth target of 2.0, scoring 7.3 and getting the &8220;exemplary academic growth&8221; label. The school will receive financial rewards for their scores.

Vidalia Lower and Upper, which receive the same score, dropped 0.3.

Both schools are still above the state average SPS &8212; 87.4 &8212; with a 95.8 SPS.

Vidalia High School, labeled &8220;exemplary academic growth&8221; last year, actually dropped in its growth level, but still has a high SPS, 105.5, and therefore doesn&8217;t receive a negative growth label.

&8220;I was afraid it was going to be tough to hold onto (the exemplary label),&8221; Principal Rick Brown said. &8220;I was disappointed that we didn&8217;t hang a little tougher, but you can&8217;t be real upset as long as you are above 100.&8221;

Ridgecrest school is in a similar situation, actually dropping growth wise, but having a SPS of 104.9. Ferriday High School failed to meet their growth target, but dropped only marginally.

The other three Ferriday schools increased their SPS numbers but failed to meet growth targets and received the &8220;minimal academic growth&8221; label.