Students face standardized tests next week

Published 8:18 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bogalusa City Schools begin end-of-year Phase II PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, testing on Monday. Phase 1 and Phase II tests equal students’ final scores.

Phase II is administered after 90 percent of the school year is complete.

“Are we ready for it?” Bogalusa City Schools Board President Curtis Creel asked Elementary Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor Debbie Jenkins during Monday night’s Bogalusa City Schools committee meeting.

“We’re ready to give it,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins touched on support grants the State Department of Education gives to districts to assist principals.

“We’re doing TAP, or Teacher Advancement Program. We’re writing grants to support our principals. Byrd Elementary, Central Elementary and the high school are where we will implement TAPP,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said grant applications are due by May 7.

“The purpose is to raise student achievement by helping principals become better individual leaders,” Jenkins said. “Grant money will pay for training.”

Child Welfare and Attendance Supervisor Phlesher Mingo unveiled logo shirts that will be sold for a fundraiser. Students will be able to wear the shirts instead of their regular uniform shirts.

“One hundred percent of the principals are on board with the logo shirts we will sell to the parents,” Mingo said. “I think it will be a good fundraiser as well as another option for kids to wear.”

Mingo said individual school principals determine prices. Mingo said it will be acceptable if students choose to wear polo shirts.

“We’re trying to make it reasonable,” Mingo said. “The purpose is for the school to make a profit.”

Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor April Nobles reported on the strides district students have made. The Louisiana Department of Education recently announced the state’s four-year high school graduation rate achieved a record high in 2014, increasing for the fourth straight year to reach 74.6 percent, for a 1.1 percent point increase from 2013. It was a 3.2 percent point increase over 2011.

She said the Bogalusa City School System grew from the second lowest graduation rate in the state in 2012-2013 with a 54 percent graduation rate to a 72.6 percent in the 2013-2014 school year. That is a growth of 18.6 percentage points. No other district in the state had more growth.

“I was beyond excited that all of our hard work we have put forth in the last year or two is starting to pay off,” Nobles said. “There were so many people who were instrumental in helping us make these gains.”

Nobles quoted Superintendent Willie “Toni” Breaux to help make her point.

“As our superintendent’s motto states, we are all in this together. This couldn’t be more true for Bogalusa High School and the entire Bogalusa City School System.”

Nobles credited the system’s Virtual Summer School for helping students achieve. The program costs $120, including $20 per student and $100 for instructors to monitor the course. The program is four- and eight-week courses.

“We’ve had four students graduate a year ahead of where they are because of programs like this,” Nobles said.

Board members also reminded citizens to vote on May 2 to support renewal for the 6.43 mills.

Child Nutrition Programs Director Lorene Randazzo said the School Nutrition Association of Louisiana conference will be in Baton Rouge June 8-11. She said fundraising efforts are under way to attend the conference. The school is selling donations for a spa basket drawing for $1 per chance.

Randazzo said the school will participate in the Summer Food Service Program and is offering breakfast and lunch meals at no charge. Dates for the program are June 1 through June 30 and July 7 through July 22. The high school and Central Elementary are the sites for the program.

Also Monday LSU AgCenter Washington Parish Agent Henry Harrison presented a quarterly report on what the agency is doing.

“The most important thing we do is educate and promote our programs and influence our youth through 4-H and gardening programs within the schools,” Harrison said.

During the comment portion of the meeting, Breaux said she liked what she is seeing in the district.

“I think things are getting better for us,” Breaux said. “I’m pleased. The culture is just great. The high school is having some issues, but the high school is moving in the right direction. I’m so proud of Bogalusa City Schools. Things are getting so much better. I want to see our school like it used to be.”

“I’m happy to see the educational process taking place,” Creel said. “I’m happy to see the statistics from the State Department of Education. When you get stats and data from the State Department of Education that tracks and shows improvement this system has made, it is beyond words from me.”