Posted Date: 11/13/2023
For the seventh consecutive year, Ouachita Parish Schools improved its overall district performance score, according to the annual report released by the Louisiana Department of Education on Monday.
“We are committed to continuing the progress that we have made,” said Todd Guice, Superintendent of Ouachita Parish Schools. “Our district has been intentional about focusing on the areas where we need to improve by identifying those areas at the district and school level through a recommitment to instructional focus.”
The report represents the 2022-23 school year, marking the 23rd year the Ouachita Parish School System has outperformed the state. A total of 13 Ouachita Parish schools improved their overall scores. Drew Elementary jumped 11.9 points and Lakeshore Elementary improved by 6.2 points. The most significant leap was Robinson Elementary, improving by 15.5 points. Robinson is ranked third in the state for “Most Improved K-8 Schools” by the LDOE.
“The buy-in from our Instructional Leadership Team, students, staff, parents and community was a game changer,” said Robinson Principal Angela Spivey. “We are thankful for this milestone, but we expect more. Our theme last year was run your own race. It was focused on goals, individual goals. We’re not competing against somebody else, but competing with our own self – looking at the data, knowing where we wanted to go, looking at student work and how we can change that, basically that was our main focus.”
Other highlights for the Ouachita Parish School System include 13 schools in the district receiving the Louisiana Tops Gains distinction recording a progress index of 90 or higher. Those schools were Boley Elementary, Claiborne Elementary, Drew Elementary, George Welch Elementary, Highland Elementary, Kiroli Elementary, Pinecrest Elementary, Sterlington Elementary, Sterlington High School, Swartz Lower Elementary, Swartz Upper Elementary, West Ridge Middle School and Woodlawn Elementary.
Four Ouachita Parish Schools received the LDOE Opportunity Honoree distinction by performing in the 90th percentile or higher for students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students or English learners. Those schools were Boley Elementary, Ouachita Parish High School, Sterlington Elementary and Sterlington High School.
Fifty percent of Ouachita Parish Schools scored as an A or B school for the 2022-23 school year. The 7 A-rated schools were Boley Elementary, Claiborne Elementary, Drew Elementary, Kiroli Elementary, Sterlington Elementary, Sterlington High School and West Ridge Middle School.
For the 2023-24 school year, the school letter grade scale will shift by 5 points. However, Superintendent Todd Guice and district leaders have been proactive and are prepared to ensure students continue reaching their growth targets.
Guice meets bi-weekly with district leaders for their Instructional Focus (I.F.) meetings, where they identify and discuss focus areas, which then trickles down to school instructional teams. The district leaders work with the individual schools, combing through data and restructuring instruction to be centered on moving students forward and ensuring students are successful and prepared for the future.
“Many times scores such as those released today do not tell the whole story of the work going on within the district,” Guice said. “Our principals, teachers, and employees are working extremely hard to prepare our students for future successes. They show up every day despite some of the challenges that are placed in their path with the constant policy changes that are passed down. All districts will face those changes next year with the shift in the accountability scale. There is no doubt in my mind, with the changes and initiatives that we have in place, our students and staff will rise to these challenges.”