What do the new School Performance Scores mean for K12 Education in the Capital Region?
New scores shed light on which Capital Region districts and schools are performing well, while also highlighting some areas of concern.
Last month’s release of The Nation’s Report Card put Louisiana in the national spotlight – this time for something good. Published by the National Center for Education Statistics for the first time since 2019, the report showed that Louisiana led the nation in growth for 4th grade reading scores, making the Boot one of just four states to see any level of growth since 2019. More broadly, Louisiana saw its national rank improve across all four major milestones of student testing:
And while this national spotlight shines on Louisiana, a statewide spotlight is shining on the Capital Region. Just a couple weeks ago, the Louisiana Department of Education released performance scores for schools and districts across the state for the first time since 2019. Those scores had a lot of good things to say about our local schools, including the fact that four of the top five ranked districts in the state are within our nine-parish region:
On top of that, about half of our local districts improved their performance scores relative to 2019, led by the Felicianas:
Looking specifically at the 1,203 Louisiana schools that received 2022 performance scores, more than a quarter of the top 50 ranked schools in the state can be found within the Baton Rouge Metro, including four in the top twenty:
We have schools that are raising the bar regarding their performance scores too. Twelve Capital Region schools grew their school performance scores by at least ten points, with gains coming from traditional public schools, public charters, and alternative schools alike:
These updated rankings are wins not only for Capital Region students, but also for the marketability of the metro: it’s no secret a big question parents ask themselves when choosing to relocate is “what school will my kids go to?” Growth at the state, district, and school levels should be celebrated, especially when students and school leaders across the country are struggling with pandemic-induced learning loss.
While these wins are celebrated, it’s important to stay focused on the big picture. Despite rising in the ranks, Louisiana remains in the bottom quartile of all states for 4th and 8th grade reading and math scores. Five of our local districts improved their scores, but five other local districts saw their scores fall. And while there were twelve Capital Region schools that saw their school performance scores increase by at least ten points, there were twenty-one other schools whose scores fell by ten or more points.
It Takes a Village
Whether you’re a middle school math teacher, an elementary school principal, or a district leader, it’s a tough time to work in education. Students are under pressure to perform in the classroom, and teachers are under pressure to help these students make up those learning losses.
Outside of the school walls, there’s a group that isn’t facing quite as much immediate pressure as students, teachers, and school leaders but to whom educational outcomes matter immensely: the business community. Most people live their adult years in the place they grew up, which means that most of the students in Capital Region schools today will soon be working at Capital Region businesses. Our region’s ability to educate our future workforce will play a strong role in determining our region’s fate, and it’s more important than ever that we all play our part and help our region’s students succeed.
BRAC’s Talent Action Collaborative is one way in which the business community can help – by ensuring the skills taught in our schools are aligned with the skills desired by local employers, the Talent Action Collaborative is making sure our region’s future workforce is prepared for high-wage, high-demand jobs in our growing economy. Business leaders can join one of the Talent Action Collaborative’s industry commissions to help determine which skills and credentials our region’s students will need to be successful in the workforce. If you’re a business leader you’re welcome to join, and your input could ensure you have adequately trained employees in the coming years.
As our region’s students prepare for their end-of-semester finals and our teachers and school leaders begin tidying things up before their well-deserved winter break, we have much to celebrate. Against tough odds, schools and school districts in the Capital Region are improving, and Louisiana is no longer at the bottom of national rankings for educational testing outcomes. There is plenty of room for growth, though, and BRAC will keep pushing until all Baton Rouge Area students have access to a high-quality K12 education.
Simulated performance scores were released in 2021.
Source: Louisiana Department of Education