Jefferson Parish school grades slip to 'C'

Jefferson Parish school grades slip to 'C'

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New school performance scores are out for the state showing that Jefferson Parish mirrored the state in an overall grade drop from a B to a C.

The Jefferson Parish superintendent is dissatisfied, but in the metro region, there are some success stories.

"We wanted to be a blessing for the Ninth Ward when we got back," said Kipp Renaissance Charter School Principal Joey Laroche.

Emotions ran high Thursday afternoon at the school on St. Claude Avenue, operating out of what at one time was one of the worst-performing schools in the state. It's now the first RSD school to score a perfect 100 under the state's grading system.

"Kipp Renaissance is the first school to be an A in the Recovery School District," Laroche announced in the school gym.

Students say the reasons for their school's success are varied.

"It's very challenging, but it's worth it," said senior Erielle Jackson.

"We fight every day to come from hard homes, we fight because we want to better ourselves, we want to go to college and make a difference in our communities," said student Delaney Perkins.

While Kipp Renaissance enjoys success, overall, the Orleans Parish school system scored a C - the same as last year.

Orleans schools weren't the only ones where grades remained the same. They did so in St. Tammany and St. Charles with A grades, and in St. Bernard and St. John  with Bs.

Jefferson School Board President Ray St. Pierre said he'll seek answers to the reason for his schools' slip.

"Nobody's happy when scores go down," he said. "We want to know why, and at our next school board meeting, we'll get an explanation."

But Jefferson school officials point out that for the first time, no parish high school scored below a C, and they say no traditional school scored an F.

"If there are any short-term setbacks, we can take a longer view and see that all those schools have grown in the long run," said state Education Superintendent John White, who noted that though the state slipped from a B to a C, ACT and LEAP test scores are up, as are graduation rates.

He said it might be time to fine-tune the grading system.

"Receiving an a A in Louisiana means three-quarters graduate and make an 18 on the ACT. We know the bar can be higher than that," said White.

While low-performing schools look for ways to improve, Kipp Renaissance students look to the future.

"I'm accepted to Dillard, and I'm considering Spellman and Emory," said Jackson.

Their school scored a perfect 100, but they don't rest.

"Even though we are good, we can always do better," said Perkins.

Kipp Renaissance used to be Frederick Douglass High School before Hurricane Katrina. School leaders said they called on many alumni to assist in the turnaround.

Kipp operates 11 charter schools in Orleans Parish, schools that will soon fall under the school board as the RSD is phased out.

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