Eunice High School students were called to the school’s auditorium for an announcement by Principal Mitch Fontenot that the school had earned an A in the state performance scores released to the public Wednesday. Fontenot, as one of what he said would be several rewards, also announced “free dress” for the week. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)
Eunice High School Principal Mitch Fontenot in 2018 after being named the parish’s Principal of the Year. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)
Eunice High earns an A
Eunice High School earned its first A in the state’s school performance rating, which were released to the public Wednesday.
Eunice High School Principal Mitch Fontenot said, “We are very excited. We’ve been, especially since last year, we had an 89.7. We were three-tenths away from being an A.”
The Eunice school has increased its score in nine of the past 10 years.
“We gritted our teeth and we were determined that we wanted that A,” Fontenot said before a school assembly at noon Wednesday where he announced the achievement to a cheering student body.
“We’ve been headed in the right direction and we are just thrilled that we finally got that A. I always knew we were an A school. We just didn’t have anything on paper to prove it. Well, now we do,” he said.
Fontenot said Superintendent Patrick Jenkins told him Eunice High is the first traditional high school in the parish to earn A in the state grading.
Also, earning an A in this year’s grading is the Magnet Academy for Cultural Arts in Opelousas.
District and school performance scores were released by the Louisiana State Department of Education Wednesday.
The St. Landry Parish School District maintained a letter grade of “C,” with a performance score of 69.9, a growth of 1.9 points, the district announced in a news release.
The state developed a new scale in the 2017-2018 school year to measure the growth of schools and districts. According to information provided by the state, school rating calculations were adjusted to put more value on the progress of each individual child, which will be done by measuring students’ path to mastery and by measuring how effectively students are advancing relative to their peers.
The rating scale is as follows: A = 90-150; B = 75-89.9; C= 60-74.9; D = 50-59.9; and F = 0-49.9.
School letter grades are as follows.
A: Magnet Academy for Cultural Arts; Eunice High School.
B: East Elementary; Eunice Elementary; Eunice Junior High; Grand Prairie Elementary; Krotz Springs Elementary; Leonville Elementary; Palmetto Elementary; Port Barre Elementary; Arnaudville Elementary; Northwest High School.
C: Cankton Elementary; Central Middle; Glendale Elementary; Grand Coteau Elementary; Lawtell Elementary; Opelousas Sr.High; Park Vista Elementary; Port Barre Middle; Sunset Elementary; Beau Chene High; Port Barre High.
D: Grolee Elementary; Highland Elementary; Northeast Elementary; Opelousas Middle School (Grade acquired from South Street’s SPS); Washington Elementary; North Central High; and Plaisance Middle.
F: Opelousas Junior High.
According to the district news release, six schools improved performance by a letter grade. Those schools are Eunice Junior High, Eunice High, Northwest High, Opelousas Middle (formerly South Street), Opelousas High, and Sunset Middle School.
The district also saw an increase in the number of “B” schools from eight to 10.
Furthermore, the released school scores indicate 90% of St. Landry Parish’s schools maintained or improved their letter grade standing. Additionally, Northwest High School led all schools in gains with a 14.6 point increase in its SPS as well as graduation rate increase of 27 points.
Nine schools, an increase from eight in 2018, garnered Top Gains recognition — the highest recognition from the state department. Top Gains schools are MACA, East Elementary, Eunice Elementary, Grand Prairie Elementary, Krotz Springs Elementary, Leonville Elementary, Palmetto Elementary, Arnaudville and Glendale Elementary. The criteria for being named as a “Top Gains” school is that the school has a progress index of an “A” letter grade and does not require urgent intervention in an area contributing to the calculation of the SPS.
Two SLPSD schools made the “Outstanding Schools: Acadiana” list for having the top growth in ELA and Math. Those schools are East Elementary, second highest growth in Acadiana with 68% growth and South Street Elementary, with 60% growth.
Palmetto Elementary and MACA were named Equity Honoree schools. In order to be named an Equity Honoree, a school must rank in the 90th percentile or greater in one of the following three areas; Economically Disadvantaged, English Language Learners, or Students with Disabilities.
In addition, the district demonstrated improvement in seven of the eight components of the district performance score indicators; K8 Assessment Index, K8 Progress Index, Dropout Credit Accumulation Index, 9-12 Assessment Index, 9-12 Progress Index, Strength of Diploma, and Cohort Graduation Rate. The district’s progress index average across all tested areas is 81.5% B. This index shows student growth to mastery on state assessments.
Earlier this year the state department released data about the district’s Actual Graduation Rate, which indicated that the St. Landry Parish school district attained a 6.9% increase from the 2014-2015 school year. This gain is attributed to increased Advanced Placement (AP) offerings through the National Mathematics and Science Initiative (NMSI), programs and partnerships implemented by the district aimed at increasing opportunities for our students, JumpStart After Hours, JumpStart Summer, Career and Technical Education, and Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG).
Over the past few years, the school district has partnered with Louisiana State University at Eunice, and Northwestern to offer our students dual enrollment opportunities.
The school district also has partnered with Southwest Louisiana Community College) to establish the St. Landry Parish Collegiate Technical Academy for those students wishing to earn a technical diploma while in high school. In addition, we will partner with Southern University to expand dual enrollment opportunities for St. Landry Parish students.
Jenkins said in the news release, “One of many goals for SLPSD is for it to become a Triple “A” school district; excelling in academics, athletics, and the arts. We are well on our way to achieving that goal. I would like to thank our students, parents, staff and community partners for their continued support. In the St. Landry Parish School District, exciting things are happening every day for every child.”