Parish School Board ready for start of 2014-15 school year

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Revisions to the Pupil Progression Plan for the 2014-2015 school year was the top item discussed during Monday night’s work session at the Washington Parish School Board committee meeting.

Curriculum Coordinator Jackie Jenkins apprised board members of the changes in the Transitional Ninth Grade Placement and Fourth Grade Transitional Program.

“The state created the policy where fourth and eighth graders could take the LEAP exam to be promoted,” Jenkins said. “That has changed. They still take the exam, but if they don’t pass the exam, they’re placed in the 9-T, or ninth grade transitional, on the high school campus. They can take remedial classes and all other high school subjects.”

Jenkins said fourth grade students who are ready to advance have a program to do so.

“The Fourth Grade Transitional Program allows fourth graders who are prepared for fifth grade material to take fifth grade classes,” Jenkins said. “If they’re successful as fifth graders, they can be promoted to sixth grade.”

Washington Parish Superintendent Darrell Fairburn said he agreed with the Pupil Progression Plan.

“These were changes made by the state. We didn’t make any changes on our end,” Fairburn said. “The ninth grade plan might help the dropout rate. I think it will be a good thing. The ninth grade is a crucial grade for preparing students in school.”

Regarding alternative education, Jenkins said the General Educational Development, or GED, is no longer used in Louisiana. She said the state replaced GED with HiSET exam last spring for the 2014-2015 school year.

Jenkins said updated alternative school program hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. The old school hours were from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Alternative school program sites are located in Franklinton and Varnado.

Director of Personnel/Assistant Superintendent Richard Kennedy in his report said there are currently no certified teacher vacancies.

“We are full in all of the classrooms,” Kennedy said.

Fairburn said all the system’s facilities are “ready to go” for when classes begin on Friday, Aug. 8 for all Washington Parish schools.

Fairburn said the elevator at Franklinton Junior High School for handicapped individuals cost $21,000. He said financing for the new elevator came out of the General Fund.

Fairburn said he was pleased with the increase in graduation rates. He said the 2013 graduation rate grew from 81.5 percent to 81.6 percent.

The Washington Parish School Board will meet on Thursday, Aug. 7, at 6:30 p.m. for its regular meeting.