School Board OKs Changes to Pupil Progression Plan

The Calcasieu Parish School Board on Tuesday approved a number of revisions to this year’s Pupil Progression Plan. But Tommy Campbell, chief academic officer, said the updated plan only “offers clarifications” rather than overall policy changes.

Much of the language for special education now includes the phrase “IEP team,” or Individualized Education Program. The change emphasizes a collaborative effort in making decisions for students with disabilities.

Instead of taking the LEAP Alternate Assessment, special education students will take the LEAP 2020 exam or a specialized “LEAP Connect” exam that tests modified grade-level skills and standards. Betty Washington, administrative director of special services, said the assigned exam will depend on a student’s IEP.

Sixth- and seventh-grade students who attend less than 167 school days will have to attend summer school or be held back. However, summer school is no longer available to middle school students testing for high school Algebra I credit because the credit is only awarded to students who score basic, advanced or mastery.

To be considered an English-language learner, students will have to take a new state test, the English Language Proficiency Screener. The amount of required class time to teach ELL students the immersion language is at least 60 percent for elementary schools and 40 percent for middle schools.

Eighth-grade students must score basic or better in either the English or math sections of the LEAP 2020 exam before they can proceed to the ninth grade. Students who perform below basic will be coded as a “transitional” ninth-grader on the high school campus or an alternative site like the district’s RISE campus on Shattuck Street.

Board member Glenda Gay questioned the purpose and success of the RISE program. Despite the revisions of the Pupil Progression Plan, she said more should be offered for the students at the campus.

“That’s a segment of our population that we’re not doing the right thing with … At some point we have to be realistic,” she said.

Gay suggested adding workforce training within the curriculum. School Board staff said the program offers woodworking, home economics and journey to careers. The courses put students on track to enter the Jumpstart Program once they reach the 11th grade.

State law requires educational entities to create and enact a plan to address student placement and promotion.

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