The ABCs of SCPPS
A: ACADEMICS, ATHLETICS, & THE ARTS
A student’s academic progress is monitored through a variety of assessments and assignments; one of which is the end-of-year LEAP testing. These test results, in turn,contribute to performance scores and state-assigned letter grades for schools through Louisiana’s school accountability system.
SCHOOL PERFORMANCE SCORES: Schools receive an annual school performance score between 0 and 150. This score is determined by indexes which measure assessments, student progress, interests and opportunities, dropout credit accumulation, ACT/WorkKeys scores, strength of diploma, and cohort graduation rate.
All performance scores incorporate how students perform on standardized tests like LEAP (Assessment), how much students grew on the LEAP from one year to the next (Progress), and to what extent students are offered activities such as enrichment classes or extracurricular activities (Interests & Opportunities). Middle school performance scores also consider how many credits students have earned after they transition to high school (Dropout Credit Accumulation). For high schools, there is an added focus on graduation indicators such as ACT scores, how many students graduate within four years (Cohort Graduation Rate),and how many students graduate with college credit or industry credentials (Strength of Diploma).
SCHOOL LETTER GRADES: The state assigns a letter grade to each school that correlates with the school’s performance score, and the standard to attain specific letter grades continues to increase, resulting in a moving target for schools.
B: THE BULLETIN BOARD
SALARY STUDY: The St. Charles Parish School Board has hired Gallagher’s Human Resources & Compensation Consulting to perform a study of our compensation structure and provide recommendations to ensure salaries remain competitive and equitable. While this salary study is not a strategy to reduce or increase pay or identify staffing needs, its purpose is to provide recommendations related to salary structure, movement in pay ranges, and related compensation approaches to improve overall payroll administration.
PROPERTY INSURANCE: The St. Charles Parish School Board carries $100 million of property insurance coverage, $75 million of wind coverage, a total insurable value of $413 million in building and contents coverage, and a 5% named storm deductible. While most companies utilize only one carrier, SCPPS utilizes 24 different carriers through business partners AmWins and BRK/Riverlands Insurance.
The 2022 storm season heightened the trend of carrier capacity limitations and rate increases. Being leery of unexpected higher losses on existing coverages, underwriters are being more conservative in renewal pricing, and remaining carriers in the market are predicted to increase premiums due to a high demand with restricted supply.
SCHOOL SAFETY AUDIT: Safe Havens International, Inc. provided the findings of its school safety and security assessment to the school board in April. SCPPS contracted with Safe Havens to conduct an on-site assessment of all district sites, an on-site strategic-level interview, and an off-site review of the district’s emergency management plans and safety and security policies. Findings were incorporated into a detailed, written strategic-level report which summarizes key findings and recommendations for consideration.
C: CONFERENCE WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT
The latest “reform” effort disguised as school choice is the creation of Educational Savings Accounts (ESA) - an initiative that may rob our state’s public education systems of money needed to educate every child they serve. As written, these programs propose to send public funds to nonpublic schools and vendors without holding them accountable for results.
These programs could potentially limit access for economically disadvantaged families. Under most proposals, the cost allocated would be insufficient to completely fund education for a full academic year. This deficiency will likely result in limiting access to only those who can afford to supplement the remaining uncovered costs. Additionally, these options do not require transportation for students, further limiting access to only those families who can provide transportation to/from the nonpublic school or organization.
Furthermore, these programs could limit access for students with special needs. Under most proposals, the additional costs allocated for special education services are not provided, and nonpublic schools or organizations receiving these funds are not required to accept every student or provide services specific to meeting students’ special needs. Therefore, families of students with disabilities, English-language deficiencies, or other special needs may be denied admittance to sites benefitting from these funds.
As a valued stakeholder and supporter of St. Charles Parish Public Schools, I encourage you to stay informed about proposed legislation that may directly or indirectly impact our school system. The current “failing” schools narrative sells a lot of people on privatized alternatives such as ESAs and vouchers. However, this narrative is not factual and only serves to market a product. Our product is tangible and is evident in every student who walks across the stage in May. Let’s all do our part to keep it that way because together, You and I…We Are St. Charles Parish Public Schools!
D: DEVELOPMENTS & DIRECTION
St. Charles Parish Public Schools hosted its annual District Job Fair on Friday, April 28. Although the nation and state are both currently experiencing a critical shortage of teachers, all interview slots were filled with 132 candidates participating. The positive response of candidates can be attributed to marketing efforts such as a recruiting video viewed by more than 20,000 people in the target audience and billboards strategically placed to entice teachers from other school systems to apply with SCPPS.
The Human Resources Department recognizes the importance of developing a pipeline of future teachers. SCPPS collaborates annually with local universities to mentor and train future teachers through a residency, a yearlong program similar to the previous student teaching semester. During the 2022-2023 school year, 25 SCPPS teachers mentored and supported these university students/resident teachers. Working in partnership, the Human Resources and Special Education Departments offer SCPPS para-educators the opportunity to attain a teaching license through Reach University. Twenty-two employees are currently participating in the program and will receive their certification in elementary and special education through this four-year-program.