NCS, parish schools’ scores drop

Published 5:21 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bogalusa City Schools were not alone in their disappointing 2015-2016 state scores, as both Northshore Charter School and the Washington Parish School System reported declines as well.

NCS had a slight decline from 40.7 to 40.1, leaving the school’s “F” letter grade unchanged. Washington Parish, however, slid from a “B” grade to “C,” going from 89 points to 80.2.

Yet it wasn’t all bad news for the parish school system as Franklinton High School improved from 88 points to 94.7. Varnado High School had a tiny dip, from 74.5 to 74. Both high schools kept their letter grades from the year prior, with Franklinton earning a “B” and Varnado a “C.”

Jackie Jenkins, the Washington Parish School System accountability and assessment coordinator, said the district’s dip wasn’t a sign of a general decline but was rather due to the district’s inability to earn any “progress points” from the state.

Progress points are awarded to school districts that lift over 50 percent of their low-performing students in kindergarten through eighth grade up to at least the basic level of subject comprehension.

“In 2015, we earned 10 progress points — that’s the maximum any district can earn,” Jenkins said.

Those points are the reason the score was so high last year and the lack of any points resulted in this year’s score, Jenkins said. Still, Jenkins said 46 percent of the district’s students who tested below basic did improve to basic or above.

“This is the first year we’ve not received any progress points since the state began offering them,” Jenkins said.

Besides that, she said the district is holding its own.

Jenkins did say the district will seek to offer more remediation courses to get more progress points in the future.

On the charter school side, Northshore CEO Dee Dee McCullough said the scores do not reflect the current reality of the school. Since the students took the state tests last spring, the charter school board has implemented top-to-bottom rearrangements in the front office and has added grades and front office personnel, including McCullough. However, she said she’s not surprised the school did so poorly last year.

“It is not a surprise at all,” she said. “Whenever we got the scores back at the summer from the LEAP test (the state’s standardized test), I calculated the score and I knew what it was going to be.”

The scores, she added, were from tests taken prior to any of the shakeup that was to come.

“They couldn’t have expected the scores to be any differently than they were, because at the school nothing was done differently at the school from the year before,” she said.

However, McCullough said early testing indicates that next spring will net better scores.

“We will see big changes for next year. And more than anything, and I’m not trying to blame anybody, but these scores are not our scores,” she said.

The state report cards are available for the public on the Department of Education’s website at