Concordia Parish schools working to improve scores

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2005

VIDALIA &8212; School improvement plans didn&8217;t have to be submitted to the state until Nov. 1, but plan implementation started long before that at the three Ferriday schools.

Collaborative planning for teachers, specific professional development, less extracurricular, more academic and specialized tutoring are just some of the ways the schools are now working to improve.

Ferriday Lower will start after school tutoring for second-graders this spring, with hopes of improving low language usage and reading skills.

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Ferriday Upper wants improvement in science and math. And Ferriday Junior eighth-graders will take a series of mock LEAP tests before the real thing.

All of the Ferriday schools were within 10 points of the goal, the lower and upper less than a point from it.

Administrators have remained confident that scores would improve and the schools would step out of school improvement level 2 this year, but the influx of Katrina students after the hurricane caused a significant distraction at the schools.

The state gave each school the option this year to drop passage of the iLEAP in fourth- and eighth-grades as a requirement for promotion, but Concordia Parish schools will keep the requirement.

Superintendent Kerry Laster and Director of Academic Affairs Fred Butcher have said they are afraid students will relax and not perform well if they know the tests don&8217;t matter.

Testing will be in March. Consequences for low school improvement rankings get more severe each year. Eventually, the state system is written so that a consistently underperforming school can be taken over by the state.