Performance results translate to honors

Two local charter schools received special recognition from the Louisiana Department of Education, based on the recently-released performance letter grades.

Lake Charles Charter Academy was one of 137 charters statewide to earn the Top Gains Honoree title for demonstrating excellence from one school year to the next. Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy was one of 20 charters in the state to be named an Equity Honoree for its excellence in educating students who are disabled, English learners and/or economically disadvantaged.

Pam Quebodeaux, Lake Charles Charter principal, said the most improvement came from math. She said kindergarten through eighthgrade students spend 90 minutes a day learning math. For students below grade level, a required intensive math class was assigned as an enrichment, and teachers provided after-school tutoring opportunities up to three days per week.

Kimberly Lewis, Southwest Louisiana Charter principal, said the school uses a combination of small group instruction, quality curriculum and after-school tutoring to help its disadvantaged students.

The two local charter schools made notable gains that were above the average public schools. Overall, student performance at Louisiana’s charter schools remained steady, despite tougher standards.

Caroline Roemer, executive director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, said the results are worth celebrating.

“Maybe they didn’t hit their long-term goal, but they’re moving students — including the populations of students that many believe may not be able to make such progress,” she said.

With the increased rigor of state testing standards, charter schools face the same challenges concerning its struggling student populations, Roemer said.

However, their ability to have independence and autonomy around hiring, curriculum, hours and operations “lends to better decision making” for student success, she said.

””Charter Schools

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