A single point prevented the Morehouse Parish Schools district from moving to a C ranking from a D in the latest school performances scores.
The results, released earlier this week by state department of education, have the new MPS superintendent and the immediate past superintendent mostly pleased.
An improvement in a series of student high-stakes test scores and graduation rates moved Bastrop High from a D to a C, while Magnet School (11.3 points) Morehouse Alternative School (24.3 points) and Southside Elementary (13.5 points) showed considerable point improvement from the previous performance scores.
Magnet School is the district's only A school; every other school earned a D ranking, except for the Aternative school (F), Beekman Jr. High (C) and Bastrop High.
Dr. George Noflin Jr., superintendent, said there's plenty of room for improvement, but the gains are encouraging and show what can be done.
“What we can do now, as a system, is look closer at not just school scores, but individual student scores to make gains, Noflin said. “While that can be difficult at the high school level because there's lot of variables, this can be done at the elementary school level. And we will.”
Such challenges could be tougher starting next year when a revised rating school by the state raises the bar for gains made, but also increases the points for districts that make them.
Tom Thrower, longtime MPS superintendent who retired in July, said the latest test scores are “bitter sweet.”
“It shows progress made, but coming so close to becoming a C is tough,” he said.
Noflin said that the central office's staff is continuing to scrutinize the numbers within the numbers and will be making a presentation to the school board and to the public at the next regular school board meeting.
Administrators will be looking for possible policy changes made in recent school years, he said, that can be attributed to the gains in measurements.
Thrower said that some of the curriculum changes implemented and efforts to help principals and teachers a few years ago appear to have made dividends.
“People don't like change and people want results right away. But you have to give them time; they have to get anchored in before you see results,” Thrower said.
“Too many times people get unfavorable results and they want to make big changes too quickly. But we stuck with what we did and only tweaked them, improved on them slightly each year.”