Six public schools in East Baton Rouge Parish were added to the list of those facing state sanctions Tuesday because they failed to meet new academic standards, state officials said.
Meanwhile, Capitol Middle School scored just high enough to escape its past classification as an academically unacceptable school.
Statewide, the number of schools that scored below the minimum required shot up 65 percent amid tougher classroom standards aimed at improving student performance.
“We realize today’s news is unwelcomed,” said Penny Dastugue, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, in a prepared statement.
Dastugue added the board approved tougher standards for schools because more than half of students were performing below grade level.
The results, which are called “school performance scores,” amount to a yearly report card on how Louisiana’s roughly 1,300 public schools are faring. About 6 percent are now classified as academically unacceptable.
Most of the scores are based on how students did on key tests.
New schools on the list face gradually escalating sanctions and, if they fail to improve, state takeovers.
Since 2005, schools had to achieve scores of at least 60 out of about 200 to remain off the list.
However, the minimum score rose to 65 this time because of a new policy approved last year by BESE.
A score of 65 means that 61 percent of students are performing below grade level, state officials said.
The new additions in the East Baton Rouge Parish school system are:
• Belaire High School, 64.4.
• Broadmoor Middle School, 63.5.
• Melrose Elementary School, 64.4.
• East Baton Rouge Laboratory Academy, 23.
• Capitol Elementary School, 61.3.
• Inspire Charter Academy, 64.2.
Meanwhile, Capitol Middle School was one of six statewide that left the list of academically unacceptable schools. It scored 65.2.
In a prepared statement, officials of the East Baton Rouge Parish school system said schools newly classified as academically unacceptable generally got that label because of the state’s higher minimum standards.
“We can always do better and will continue to focus on improving teaching and learning,” Superintendent John Dilworth said in the statement.
Dilworth said there are other encouraging trends in his district.
Lizabeth Frischhertz, chief accountability officer for the East Baton Rouge school system, said in an interview Tuesday that the score for East Baton Rouge Laboratory Academy, a high school, will likely be challenged for technical reasons.
The East Baton Rouge Parish school system now has nine schools rated as academically unacceptable aside from those already under state control.
Including schools already taken over by the state, Louisiana has 79 public schools rated as academically unacceptable, up from 48 last year.
“We predicted a significant increase in the number of schools that would initially fail to meet the minimum standard,” Ollie Tyler, acting state superintendent of education, said in the state Department of Education’s prepared statement.
Tyler said she is confident schools will overcome their unsatisfactory status “given the history of our districts and schools in responding to tougher standards.”
Other area public schools added to the academically unacceptable list are:
e_SBlt Donaldsonville Primary School, 63.9.
e_SBlt Baker Heights Elementary School, 64.8.
• Baker Middle School, 60.6.
e_SBlt Bakerfield Elementary School, 64.3.
• St. Helena Central Elementary School, 54.2.
• St. Helena Central High School, 54.2.