LPPS Slip in Rankings

Livingston Schools Slip in Rankings ‚Äčas District Struggles to Employ Experienced, Qualified Staff
Posted on 11/16/2022
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Livingston Schools Slip in Rankings as District Struggles to Employ Experienced, Qualified Staff

State Accountability Report Shows District Performance Score

Remains the Same as Before the COVID Pandemic

 

            LIVINGSTON, La. – Livingston Parish Public Schools’ academic performance remained static with the district’s pre-COVID scores, according to this year’s state accountability report; however, that performance fell short of the state’s top-ten ranking, unlike past comparisons.

According to the Louisiana Department of Education’s 2022 report, which was released today (Nov. 16), Livingston Parish Public Schools received an 88.5 District Performance Score (DPS), which is equal to the score awarded in 2019; but that score, which was worthy of a top-ten ranking in 2019, now received the state’s 11th best position.

Superintendent Joe Murphy said a breakdown of the data shows the district’s performance is being challenged in areas where we are experiencing staffing recruitment and retention issues as evidenced by the national, state and local crisis in the teaching profession. We must make every effort to recruit and retain the very best and brightest educational minds.

“First, let me say that for our district to hold student performance steady for the past two years through the pandemic and major storms, like Hurricane Ida, is a testament to all our employees and their dedication to our children. But the fact that we have not grown our overall score, and we are seeing a fall in our assessment scores, is evidence of the crisis we are facing” Murphy said.

Supervisor of Instruction Kelly LaBauve said the DPS is based on a variety of student assessment and progress indexes for grades K-12, as well as each school district’s graduation rate and strength of diploma measurements. 

While Livingston Parish students saw improved graduation rates (up 3.4 points from 97.1 in 2019 to 100.5 in 2022) and strength of diploma efforts (up 8.2 points from 108.5 in 2019 to 116.7 in 2022), measured assessments for all grades combined fell over six points, dropping from 77.6 in 2019 to 71.4 in 2022.

“These are the LEAP, LEAP 2025 and ACT assessments that often compare one class to those before and after it. These assessments tell us if each new class is growing its knowledge base further than the classes before it,” LaBauve said.

According to the state report, the district’s progress indexes remained static or showed a slight downturn, as well.  LaBauve said progress indexes are somewhat like value-added measurements that show a student’s individual growth over time as compared to the state’s expectations. The data indicated that Livingston Parish students did show individual progress over the past two years, but in some cases, that growth did not meet our expectations as well at the state’s expectations.  

“The reason?” LaBauve queried. “While the answers are complex, and we will dive deep into the data to determine how to best respond, a simple statement of fact is that we must “double down on our recruitment and retention efforts to keep up with the demand across our parish.”

“Our classrooms are larger, because of our student growth, and we are unable to provide additional instructional support leaders today to help our teachers,” she said. “We had begun seeing this trend some time ago, but COVID fast-tracked everything, and now we’re seeing the direct impacts of these changes.”

“As our more experienced teachers retire or transfer out, it is becoming harder to replace them. And even if we do find a good young teacher, that person needs support to do the job right, and not go through a trial-and-error learning curve that impacts student growth and performance along the way.”

Murphy said he plans to meet with district leaders and school principals in the coming days to address how they can improve student assessments. He also said the district is working with a newly appointed Education Funding Improvement District (EFID) board of directors to review new funding options for the district to specifically address its recruitment, retention and competitive pay issues.

“Livingston Parish Schools has historically done more with less: a fact that we take pride in across our district.  When you consider that we rank 38th in the state in pay for our people, it’s amazing to think we rank as high as we do in performance.  But the gap is growing and maintaining excellence is becoming a greater challenge,” he said. “We must find a way to do more and invest in our system to continue to rise to the level of our community’s expectations of educational excellence and strive to remain a top performing school district.”