EDITORIALS

Letter from the Superintendent of Schools: Patrice Pujol

Staff reports

We have been very pleased with the academic progress we have made in our schools in Ascension Parish as we have embraced the state’s accountability programs and sought to make positive changes. Our school system is currently a top-tier district in the state, and we are the first school district in the Greater Baton Rouge Metro Area to earn district accreditation from the nation’s leading educational organization for certifying standards among schools. 

Today we learned how our schools and district faired in the Louisiana Department of Education’s accountability system used to measure performance. I am pleased to inform you that we performed exceptionally well, and though we expected growth the scores are better than we had predicted.

Our district score grew from 105.6 in the 2009-2010 school year to 109.5 in 2010-2011. The vast majority of our schools showed continued growth. Some made their largest year to year increase to date and one school reached the largest one year growth ever achieved in our district since the adoption of the accountability system over 10 years ago.

This release marks the fifth time in six years that our district performance score has increased. Since the 2006-2007 scores were released, our district has grown over 11 points – one of the best systematic advancements of any school district in the state.

Nevertheless, we understand that continued growth requires self-examination and the need to adapt to change. I want to make you aware of a new letter grade system for individual schools and public school districts. These letter grades were released for the first time today by state department.

The previous identification system assigned star ratings to schools based on their School Performance Scores. The new letter grade system is designed to communicate a school or district’s academic performance in a more familiar way (A, B, C, etc.). In this new system, our current district performance score of 109.5 earns us a B rating.  Ascension Parish continues to rank in the top 10 districts in the state.  Only one out of the 70 school districts in Louisiana earned an A rating in the new system, and only 13 districts received a B so we are truly among a very select group of successful districts.  While the way the scores are calculated has not changed, it is important to note that these letter grades represent broad scoring ranges and are based on a 200-point scale. They also represent one indicator of student achievement on state standardized tests, like LEAP, iLEAP, and the GEE. 

The letter grades assigned to the individual schools do not take into account the multiple ways our students demonstrate academic success. Every school in our system has students who are performing exceptionally well. We are proud that each and every school is producing students who achieve at high levels on many indicators of academic achievement like the ACT, Advanced Placement tests, Early Start courses, DIBELS, and district-benchmark assessments. Many middle school students are earning Carnegie units that can be applied to high school graduation requirements and many high school students are earning college credit prior to graduation. Such accomplishments enable our students to compete in today’s technologically advanced workforce.

Each faculty and staff member in Ascension Parish is dedicated to ensuring that all of our students are successful in our ever-changing world. That is our mission. Though every school in the district has accomplished much, we are committed to continuous improvement in order to achieve our mission.   

Please take time to visit our website at www.apsb.org to review the school performance score history of your child’s school in order to see the upward trend we have worked so hard to establish over the last decade.  You can also see the new letter grading scale posted on our website.

We welcome your involvement, and we are here for your questions.  Please feel free to contact your school principal if you should have any questions about your child’s school, or you may contact me directly at superintendent@apsb.org.