Last Modified: Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:13 PM
Calcasieu Parish School Board member Fred Hardy held the first of several parent meetings Thursday night to discuss low academic performance at four District 2 schools — Washington-Marion High School, Ray D. Molo Middle, Jessie D. Clifton Elementary and Combre-Fondel Elementary.
Thursday’s meeting was held at Washington-Marion for parents of juniors and seniors.
“I am trying to get parents into action because the academic performance of these children is very low,” Hardy said. “So I want to show them some evidence. I want them to see where these schools are ranked. I want them to look at those ACT scores. It’s unbelievable and embarrassing.”
Hardy said all the schools in his district have a low school performance score, which is a letter grade issued by the state based on the academic performance of students. Hardy said that Washington Marion, Molo and Clifton were given an SPS score of a “D,” and Combre-Fondel a “C.”
“When you start at elementary, then to middle and then to high school, you are going to have a D graduate,” Hardy said. “That’s a big problem for a large number of our children.”
According to Hardy, his goal for these meetings isn’t to give parents opinions. “I want to give them evidence and some solutions to the problem,” he said.
The evidence Hardy was referring to was given to each parent at the meeting in a packet. Along with each schools SPS score, the packet also included Washington Marion’s ACT test scores. “Out of 120 students that took the ACT, 91 students received a zero from the state, which means they didn’t score above a 17. When I looked at these scores, my heart dropped,” Hardy said.
The meeting also included solutions and options for parents. A representative from McNeese spoke about an ACT tutoring program, and a representative from Sowela talked about their programs for students who may not want to attend a four-year school.
Principals from each of the four schools also spoke to parents about past and future improvements and their solutions to help increase student performance.
Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Holly Boffy also spoke to parents and gave information about parent petitions and transferring schools to a recovery school district.
“I’m saying to parents that you have some options,” Hardy said. “Parents need to know how these schools are performing, and they need to make a decision about what they can do about that.”
Additional parent meetings discussing the issue will be held on the following dates and locations:
• Washington Marion High School, Monday, Dec. 9, at 5:30 p.m. for parents of freshman and sophomores.
• Jessie D. Clifton Elementary School, 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10.
• Ray D. Molo Magnet Middle School, 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11 5:30-7 p.m.
• Combre-Fondel Elementary School, 5:30-7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16.