Parish schools’ scores: Ferriday, Delta Charter recognized for improvement

Published 12:02 am Thursday, November 9, 2017


NATCHEZ — Statewide performance ratings released this week indicate the Concordia Parish School District and Delta Charter School maintained the ratings received in 2016, a C and B grade, respectively.

Though the overall scores have not changed by a full letter grade, schools in the district, two F-rated schools rose to a D and one D-rated school rose to a C.

Email newsletter signup

Ferriday lower and upper elementaries were rated F in the 2016 scores, but rose 6.3 points to a D school this year.

Ferriday High School sustained growth of 14 points, pulling the school from a D to a C grade. This quick rise in scores put the high school in the state’s top gains category, a designation for schools that are rapidly improving scores.

The majority of schools, however, maintained their scores from last year, but saw a decrease in their school performance scores.

Ferriday Junior High dropped approximately two points from a 58.1 in 2016 to a 55.7 but kept its D ranking.

Vidalia High School kept its B rating, despite dropping approximately 8 points from a 98.1 to a 90.5.

Vidalia Junior High also lost points, going from 82.4 to a 79.6, but kept its C rating.

Vidalia upper and lower elementaries dropped one point, from a 78.5 to a 77.5, in the C category.

Monterey High School has remained the only A school in the district, despite dropping approximately five points from a 110.3 to a 105.8.

Superintendent Whest Shirley said he was proud of the growth he sees in the district, though would like to see progress in the schools which have stagnated in 2017.

“I’m very pleased,” he said. “Especially for Ferriday High School being named one of the top-gains school in the state. I want to congratulate faculty, staff and stakeholders and everyone who played a part in that.”

Delta Charter School’s school performance score rose from an 86.8 to a 99.7, just three-tenths of a point from becoming an A-rated combination school.

“I’m just very proud of my staff and my teachers; they worked very hard for this,” said Monica Miller, operations manager for Delta Charter School. “We continually come up every year, and we hope to grow even more.”

Delta Charter, too, was rated as a top gains school.

Delta Charter is considered a combination school and is given an overall score for all grades. The school also receives a separate score for both its third- through eighth graders and its high schoolers.

The third- through eighth-graders scored a 92.4, a rise from 82.7 in 2016.

The high school grades are comprised of three different categories: ACT index assessment, end-of-course exams assessment.

Delta Charter students scored 78.3 in its ACT index, 89.7 in its end-of-course exams and received 8.9 progress points, a rise from only 4.4 progress points in 2016.

Progress points are awarded when students exceed the expected growth from year-to-year in exams or when an eighth-grader takes high-school level courses.

“My teachers are very hard-working, very dedicated,” Miller said. “And of course, the students, too. We couldn’t do it without them.”

A challenge facing both the parish school district and Delta Charter, Shirley said, is the changing score schedule for the 2017-2018 school year.

In March of 2017, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) endorsed a draft of the implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, but 40 superintendents across the state voiced concerns about the changing grades.

“I want to see improvements and here’s why,” Shirley said. “ESSA has caused all the states to look at how they evaluate schools. It’s going to be harder to make an A.”

At first, Shirley said, the state’s application of ESSA would have made the basic designation — a three on the state exam’s five-point grading scale — count for only 70 points. The basic grade currently counts for 100 points, meaning every school in the state would see a drop in overall grade.

After meeting with the 40 superintendents in September, however, the BESE agreed to compromise, making a basic score count for 80 points in the 2018 school year.

Still, however the Louisiana Department of Education predicts a 57-percent rise in F-rated schools and a 37-percent drop in A-rated schools in the 2018 school year.

“My message at my next administrators’ meeting will be to principals, ‘If we stay the same next year, we will drop,’” Shirley said.

Schools which are on the lower margin of a grade, he said, could see the progress they’ve made disappear.

Miller said Delta Charter is not as worried about the change in the state’s scoring schedule because the school is on the higher end of the B scale, meaning it is less likely its score will drop enough to remove a full letter grade.