IT’S A WHOLE LOT OF WINNING: Ferriday High School hosts academic rally ahead of state testing

Published 12:05 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

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FERRIDAY — There is “a whole lot of winning going on” at Ferriday High School, or so the students proclaimed during a Friday morning pep rally.

However, unlike other rallies that are focused on winning sports, Friday’s pep rally was all about academics, specifically state testing that is coming up next month.

It’s nearly impossible for students not at least see the study material, which decorates the high school building. As students walk to and from class, they can see note cards taped to the floor and the walls.

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Instead of hard-hitting on the field, students will be hitting the books in hopes of reaching scores they have to have to graduate this year, school district superintendent Toyua Watson said during a school board meeting Thursday.

She added out of each school in the district, Ferriday High School has struggled the most to fulfill graduation requirements, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We started this school year with 56 seniors not meeting graduation expectations,” she said. “Today we’re at 27 and in the next 30 days we plan on that number being even lower.”

Before the pandemic, Ferriday’s graduation rate was just under 90 percent and dropped to 81.5 percent in 2020, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Education.

Watson said many students were just shy of passing state exams by a few points.

“Some were so close that we even asked if they could be rescored, but there wasn’t anything they could do,” Watson said.

The students have to pass their exams beginning in March, or they would not graduate, she said. Friday’s rally was all about motivating the students to study and do well and also to help their peers to study and succeed.

Additionally, each student would receive individualized instruction in areas where they have scored the lowest on their previous exams, Watson said.

“We haven’t put this level of attention on our other schools’ graduation because we haven’t had this problem at all of our other schools,” she said. “What we are doing at each school is things that target their needs. … There are a lot of different focuses going on and at Ferriday High School, its graduation.”