FHS receives College Readiness Award

Published 7:31 am Wednesday, November 14, 2012

By Lucy Parker

The Daily News

In a year when ACT results will become part of the formula that decides a school’s performance score, Franklinton High School has been recognized for its students’ performance on the test.

The ACT organization recently presented the 2012 College Readiness Award to Franklinton High in recognition of its “outstanding utilization” of the test, Principal Lisa Tanner said. The award went to high schools that displayed significant increases in their students’ ACT composite scores and increased or maintained student participation in the ACT, thus improving students’ college readiness.

“We do that through administering the PLAN test in the 10th grade, and we have been setting up diploma tracks for the children, helping them to be more aware of what they want to do when they graduate, and making sure they’re getting what they need to have to be ready for the workforce or a junior college or vocational college or a four-year university,” she said.

The ACT results are also used to better prepare students for a retest if they need to improve their score as part of scholarship or college entrance requirements, Tanner said.

The framed certificate and accompanying letter arrived in the mail last week, Tanner said. She proudly displayed the award in the office and informed parents that the school had received it.

The school was also recognized during the Washington Parish School Board’s meeting last Thursday, with Superintendent Darrell Fairburn officially presenting the College Readiness Award to Tanner. Fairburn said he was extremely proud of Franklinton High and that the school has “led the way” in the system with its improvement on the test.

Franklinton High was one of 20 schools in Louisiana to receive the honor.

“I think that’s great,” Tanner said. “That means we are moving in the right direction. We are helping our children become college ready, and we’re helping them also to understand what it takes to be successful after high school. That’s what so many of them have been ill prepared for in the past, and we’re trying to do better at preparing them for whatever road they take.”

Tanner said the school is offering new career and college readiness programs through its vocational education initiative. Those programs include the IT Academy, where students can earn a Microsoft Excel certification they can take with them to college and which counts as a dual enrollment opportunity for the school. Endorsements like that help with the School Performance Score, or SPS, she said.

“So that’s a win-win for everybody,” she said.

With an SPS of 110.3 and a letter grade of B for the 2011-12 school year, Franklinton High was first in the system when that data was released last month by Louisiana Department of Education.

Beginning with this school year, ACT scores will factor into the SPS, Tanner said. This spring, for the first time, all 11th graders will have to take the ACT, along with any 12th graders who have not previously taken it.

“What’s great for me as an administrator is we’re headed in the right direction to keep our children on track to continue to be successful there,” she said.

Students will have to score at least an 18 out of a possible 36 on the ACT, or it will count as a 0 on Franklinton High’s SPS, Tanner said. The school’s students averaged 18.8 on the test for 2012-12, up from about 15 a couple of years ago, she said.

“We’re working now, diligently, on new programs and things we’re implementing, strategies we’re implementing with our teachers, to help prepare students for higher success on the ACT in the spring,” she said.