Not all schools raise scores

Published 11:39 pm Friday, September 7, 2007

VIDALIA — When School Performance Scores were released Thursday, two Concordia Parish Schools were ranked as being “in decline” while two others made marked improvement.

The two schools considered in decline were Vidalia High School and Vidalia Lower Elementary School.

School Performance Scores are based on iLEAP, LEAP and GEE test scores, as well as dropout and attendance rates.

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Vidalia High Principal Rick Brown said he was disappointed by the scores and had been taken by surprise when they came out.

“We worked hard and the kids worked hard,” he said.

Part of the surprise came when statistics Vidalia High administrators were not expecting to be counted were included in the SPS reports, Brown said.

“They (the state) went further back (in years) than we expected when they looked at our drop out rates,” he said. “Last year all of our seniors graduated.”

The numbers released Thursday were only for overall school performance, and VHS officials are waiting for the breakdown to be released to plan their course of action, Brown said.

“When we know where our weaknesses were, we can plan to maybe focus more on that area,” he said.

Vidalia remains rated as a two-out-of-five star school.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ferriday High School and Ferriday Junior High School made enough improvement to pull themselves out of the “academically unacceptable” category and land a rating as a one-star school.

FHS Principal Michelle Bethea said the school’s improvement could be credited to determination and discipline.

“We did it with a lot of hard work from the students, from the parents and from the teachers,” she said. “Once you discipline students to get in the right frame of mind for why they are at school, things start to improve.”

While the rest of the schools in the parish were noted for some growth, one school, Monterey High School, was rated as having made “exemplary academic growth.”

Monterey is rated as a three-star school, and is the only school in Concordia Parish to achieve that ranking.

Monterey High School has consistantly raised its school performance score every year since accountability standards were introduced, Principal Neeva Sibley said.

“This hasn’t happened by acccident,” she said. “The teachers, students and staff work hard to prepare for standardized testing.”

The hard-working and dedicated faculty at MHS doesn’t always get the praise and recognition they deserve, Sibley said.

“I would match this faculty against any other in the state,” she said.