Rather than referring to low-scoring schools by the D or F letter grades they received under the state system, Lafayette Parish school officials will now call them “emerging schools.”

Superintendent Donald Aguillard said staff will use the unofficial “emerging schools” term to avoid the negative connotation of the letter grades.

“Philosophically and for labeling purposes, the district has decided not to use D or F,” Aguillard said.

The emerging school label indicates that those schools are striving to improve, he added.

In the coming weeks, those schools will receive an extra hand to help their struggling students.

The School Board approved the creation of a new position — school improvement administrator — to work with those schools. As of early Tuesday afternoon, at least eight people had applied or begun the online application process for the job, Aguillard said.

He said he’d like to see the position filled by an experienced principal who has “moved a school dramatically from low-performing to high-performing.”

The person hired to work with the D- and F-rated schools must have at least five years of experience as a principal or related professional experience. The application period for the job closes on Nov. 18.

While the superintendent said he has three to five elementary schools in mind for the school improvement administrator to work with, that decision will be made after the state Department of Education releases school performance scores in December.

D- and F-rated elementary schools currently labeled “emerging” are: J.W. Faulk, Alice Boucher, Carencro Heights, Duson, S.J. Montgomery, Ossun, Westside Elementary and Evangeline.

Also in support of the struggling schools, the School Board decided not to reduce staffing levels for the current school year at schools with D or F letter grades, which are based on state accountability scores released last year.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.