ZACHARY — The Zachary Community School District’s designation as the first and only Louisiana district with an A letter grade is a historic achievement, Superintendent Warren Drake told the School Board on Thursday.

The district also was the state’s top-ranked school system for the seventh year in a row.

“This is not an achievement to be taken lightly,” Drake said.

Drake said the district’s performance score of 121.3 puts it above the state-mandated score of 120 that all schools are expected to attain by 2014.

Karin Lawless, supervisor of academic accountability, said Northwestern Elementary, Zachary Elementary, Copper Mill Elementary and Zachary High School all received A performance rankings, and Northwestern Middle School, with a B, was three-tenths of a point from breaking into the A ranks.

“Only 98 of the state’s 1,344 schools have an A rating,” Lawless said.

Zachary High School led the district with a school performance score of 128.9, a score that was helped with strong performances on the new “end of course” tests administered in some subjects last school year.

Board member Hubie Owen said he was irked to read a comment to an online newspaper article that claimed Zachary’s achievement came because it is a “small district.”

“We’re larger than half the districts in the state,” Owen said.

The district will celebrate the achievement with a community gathering at the high school’s football stadium at 6 p.m. Monday. Free food and refreshments will be served.

Other topics covered in the meeting included:

ENROLLMENT GAIN: The district’s Oct. 1 enrollment, including pre-kindergarten students, was 5,270 students, Federal Programs Director Gwen Longmire told the board. The number includes 177 new students, for which the district receives state funds through the Minimum Foundation Program.

ATHLETICS POLICY: The board approved a policy setting the minimum grade-point average for participation in athletic programs at 1.5 to 2.4, or a C. The policy was required by a new state law, but the minimum average is the same.

Members discussed raising the minimum to 2.0, but agreed to revisit the issue at a later date. Drake said only two of the high school’s 120 football players would have been ineligible if a 2.0 GPA had been required this year.

“We don’t really talk about minimum standards. We talk about excelling past them,” he said.