On Thursday, State Superintendent John White presented a check for $169,077 to 20 Calcasieu Parish Public School principals for achieving Top Gains School status. (Nichole Osinski / American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, February 07, 2013 9:30 PM
State Superintendent John White on Thursday presented a check for $169,077 to 20 Calcasieu Parish Public School principals for achieving Top Gains School status.
Each school will receive $8,453 to be used toward furthering their students’ education. Schools were recognized for growth during the 2011-2012 school year. To reach Top Gains designation, schools must improve their School Performance Score by reaching or exceeding a certain growth target from two to 10 points. In Louisiana, 440 schools earned Top Gains School status.
“You get a parish like this with 20 schools and that’s more than a third of the schools that made Top Gains and that’s a big deal,” White said. “It’s not just rewarding the principals, it’s rewarding the teachers and kids and the parents because it takes so much work to make a great school.”
The state rewards schools that achieve their growth target with year-to-year improvement and are not in subgroup component failure.
School Performance Scores can be increased by low-performing students improving academically as well as yearly progress in state assessments taken by students.
Westwood Elementary Principal Gerald Treme was one of the district principals recognized for his school’s improvement. Treme said while there have been challenges, such as meeting subgroups needs, the school is always looking at how it can get an edge on student performance.
“With all the new implementations coming down from the state department we have to make sure that we have enough professional development coming into our schools,” he said. “I credit this to our staff as well at Westwood; they’re a very hard-working staff and that goes to show you that’s why we’re where we’re at.”
Superintendent Wayne Savoy said the parish is continually trying to find ways to meet higher standards, especially as new requirements come from the state. Last year the district went from a C to a B classification, changing the requirements for performance targets. Savoy said this is proof of the hard work going on in schools.
“I’m proud of all our principals in our schools but this particular group really made some gains,” he said. “It shows that everybody is really trying to find ways to continually improve the instruction we have here in Calcasieu Parish.”
In 2013, schools with a letter grade A will have to increase their School Performance Score by five points to be classified as a Top Gains School. Schools rated a B or lower will have to increase their School Performance Score by 10 points. Annual growth in subgroups of low-performing students or a combination of subgroup growth and overall improvement can help schools earn up to 10 extra points.
W.T. Henning Elementary Principal Terry Collins said she believes teachers who focus on the needs of individual students have contributed to the parish’s success.
“Their dedication to that academic success is what has contributed to this success,” she said. “It’s an honor to be here and in our particular school students made history this past year with their test scores that were higher than they have ever been.”
White said Calcasieu Parish’s focus on an early education with programs, such as Head Start, has helped the schools make gains. White said that last year 75 percent of schools throughout the state grew in performance to some degree. He said now this means schools have to raise their standards and look for more ways to provide students with a path to a career or college.
“We’re very proud of all of our schools because they have all made gains,” School Board Vice President Annette Ballard said. “Naturally the schools being honored today made the greatest gains and in reality, as a whole, Calcasieu Parish is doing very well.”
Schools recognized were: Alfred M. Barbe High School, Bell City High School, DeQuincy High School, Dolby Elementary School, Frasch Elementary School, W.T. Henning Elementary School, Sam Houston High School, Iowa High School, John F. Kennedy Elementary School, E.K. Key Elementary School.
Also, Maplewood Middle School, Moss Bluff Elementary School, A.A. Nelson Elementary School, Cypress Cove Elementary School, Prien Lake Elementary School, Starks High School, Vincent Settlement Elementary School, Vinton High School, Westlake High School, Westwood Elementary School.