News Alert: School Performance Scores are Out

New Orleans Schools Show Great Improvement

The Louisiana Department of Education has just released the 2010 School Performance Scores (SPS) and District Performance Scores (DPS).

So, how did New Orleans schools do in 2010?

 1.  The percentage of failing schools continues to decline.

  • In 2005, 78 of 118 schools that received an SPS were failing (66%).1
  • In 2009, 31 of 74 schools that received an SPS were failing (42%).
  • In 2010, 18 of 68 schools that received an SPS are still failing (26%).

Percentage of Failing Schools
OPSB and RSD Combined

2. The percentage of schools rated 2 stars or higher (an SPS of 80 or above) increased.

  • In 2005, 17 of 117 schools that received an SPS were rated 2 stars or higher (15%).
  • In 2009, 21 of 73 schools that received an SPS were rated 2 stars or higher (29%).
  • In 2010, 26 of 68 schools that received an SPS were rated 2 stars or higher (38%).

Percentage of Schools Rated 2 Stars or Higher
OPSB and RSD Combined

Shout Outs!

Top 10 Schools in Growth

Site Name 2008-09
Baseline SPS
Baseline SPS
Robert Russa Moton Charter School 97.6 114.2 16.6
Arthur Ashe Charter School 67.2 83.8 16.6
McDonogh #28 City Park Academy Charter School 56.6 70.5 13.9
Lafayette Academy Charter School 63.8 77.3 13.5
O. Perry Walker College and Career Prep High School 55.9 68.4 12.5
Mary D. Coghill Elementary School 53.4 65.5 12.1
Abramson Science & Technology Charter School 66.2 78.0 11.8
Lake Forest Charter Elementary School 129.0 140.4 11.4
James M. Singleton Charter School 58.9 70.1 11.2
Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary 69.5 80.0 10.5

Moving On Up

These schools hit growth milestones by moving to a higher ranking.

From 4 to 5 stars:

Lusher Charter School
Lake Forest Charter Elementary School

From 3 to 4 stars:

Mary Bethune Elementary Literature/Technology

From 2 to 3 stars:

KIPP Believe College Prep Charter School
Robert Russa Moton Charter School

From 1 to 2 stars:

Arthur Ashe Charter School
Dwight D. Eisenhower Charter School
New Orleans Charter Science & Mathematics High School
Sophie B. Wright Institute of Academic Excellence Charter School
KIPP Central City Charter School

Proving We Can Do It

These schools achieved excellent academic results with no admission criteria. (They participate in the common enrollment process.)

1.     New Orleans Charter Science and Math Academy: The highest scoring high school without admission criteria in the city – an 89 School Performance Score.

2.     KIPP Believe College Prep Charter School:  First three star school in the RSD.


RSD Direct-Run High Schools Continue to Struggle

A red flag stands out in the otherwise positive news: the RSD direct-run high school performance.

  • All of the RSD direct-run high schools are Academically Unacceptable.
  • The five high schools listed below have been operating since at least since 2007.
  • None have a School Performance Score above 35.
  • Only one made its Growth Target.
  • Only two averaged at least 5 points of growth per year.
RSD Direct-Run High Schools 2008 SPS or Assessment Index* 2009 SPS 2010 SPS Change from
2008 to 2010
G. W. Carver 23.7* 29.5 31.9 8.2
Joseph S. Clark 21.4 22.1 22.8 1.4
Sarah T. Reed 30.0 33.6 34.9 4.9
Walter L. Cohen 15.1* 20.0 28.2 13.1
John McDonogh 20.9 23.2 32.2 11.3

* To receive a 2008 School Performance Score, a school had to be open 2 years (open in 2006-2007). Schools that opened in 2007-2008 received 2008 Assessment Index Scores, which use the same student test results and weighting as School Performance Scores but exclude attendance and drop-out data.

Call to Action

The RSD needs to communicate to the public its plan to address this continued failure. The options could include:

–        Find a high quality charter operator to take over one or more of these high schools.

o   Note:  Not just any charter operator. It must be one that can demonstrate the experience and expertise to turn around a failing high school.

–       If there is no high quality charter operator:

o   Phase out the school and have higher performing high schools increase their enrollment.

o   Allow the Orleans Parish School Board to present a plan or charter proposal to operate the school.

o   Require the RSD to present a school improvement plan that would meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Education’s restructuring criteria.

These high schools have been failing far too long. It is time for a change in direction.

Louisiana is Raising the Bar

In an effort to improve student academic performance across the state, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is redefining its school performance rankings and raising the bar on what constitutes a non-failing school.

For many years, a school with a School Performance Score between 60 and 74.9 would have been rated a 1 star school. This year, BESE changed its rankings: A school must score between 75 and 80 to receive 1 star. A school with an SPS between 60 and 74.9 is on Academic Watch.

Beginning in 2011, BESE will move its definition of a failing school from an SPS less than 60 to an SPS less than 65. In 2012 that number will change again to less than 75.


  • For the third consecutive year, New Orleans schools have shown impressive growth. Educate Now! celebrates this growth and salutes the hard working teachers, staff, parents, and students who worked so diligently to improve academic performance.
  • Our challenge is to continue to sustain the rate of improvement we have seen the last three years:

o   We need to focus on turning around the remaining failing schools. None of our students should be attending a failing school.

o   Schools on Academic Watch need to be aware that the state standards are moving up, and they will have to rise to meet this challenge.

o   Our goal should be for all students to attend a school two stars or higher.

And Now for A Note on District Performance Scores

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) has also released District Performance Scores for each school district in Louisiana. A District Performance Score uses the student test data for all students in the district to evaluate district performance overall.

LDE has not yet released the 2010 District Performance Score that combines the performance of the RSD schools and the OPSB schools. It did release the individual 2010 District Performance Scores for the RSD and OPSB.

Both RSD and OPSB showed robust growth.

  • RSD was #2 in the state in 2010 with 6.6 points of growth.

From 2009 to 2010 the Recovery School District raised its District Performance Score from 54 to 60.6.

  • OPSB was #5 in the state with 6 points of growth.

From 2009 to 2010 the OPSB raised its District Performance Score from 104.3 to 110.3.

View the 2010 District Performance Scores for all districts in Louisiana.

How does this compare to fall 2005?

Educate Now! is often asked to find a way to evaluate OPSB and RSD performance since just after the state takeover of schools.

In 2005 all New Orleans schools were under the management of the Orleans Parish School Board, and schools in New Orleans received one District Performance Score (56.9).  After Katrina, the OPSB kept 13 schools that were above the state average, and all other schools entered the Recovery School District.

  • Educate Now! used the student performance data for the 13 schools that OPSB kept after the state takeover and the data for all the schools transferred to the RSD to estimate a 2005 Performance Score for each district.
  • Since the District Performance Score is a roll up of student performance – as if every student in the district attended one school – Educate Now! did a weighted student average. View the calculations for the OPSB and the RSD.


  • The 13 schools kept by the OPSB would have had a 2005 DPS of 122.3.
  • The remaining schools taken over by the RSD would have had a 2005 DPS of 48.1.

How does this compare to Pre-Katrina?

Educate Now! maintains that the only fair way to evaluate academic growth since Katrina is to compare data for all schools and all students (OPSB and RSD) from 2005 and today. As soon as the 2010 combined District Performance score is released, Educate Now! will let our members know the results.


(1)  In Educate Now!’s recent Myth 1 email, we incorrectly counted an alternative non-rated school as a failing school in 2005. This number (66%) represents the corrected percentage of failing schools in 2005.


2005 OPSB School Performance Scores

2009 and 2010 RSD and OPSB School Performance Scores

2009 and 2010 Louisiana District Performance Scores



5 comments on “News Alert: School Performance Scores are Out

  • Karran Harper Royal says:

    Why is KIPP Central City Primary listed with school performance scores when it was only Kindergarten through 1st grade last year? I thought you had to have a 3rd grade to get a school performance score. Also, I thought that you only received an Assessment Index until you had two years of test scores to be computed into the school performance score. There is something weird about which schools have received school performance scores in the state’s 2010 reporting. I think it’s important to include every school that has an enrollment as of the October 1, 2009 enrollment count. You can’t include KIPP C.C. Primary and exclude Pride, Akili, Arise, Success, Marshall, and the International High School. Why include Greater Gentilly and not include the International High School? Both schools had their very first year of operation last year. Marshall Early College High School was open as Capdau Early College High School prior to the opening of New Orleans Charter Science and Math (Sci Academy), yet we don’t have scores for Marshall. This makes no sense. Who’s putting together the data for the state? The state needs to put out an explanation for the discrepancy in which schools received school performance scores.

  • Karran Harper Royal says:

    While I am eager to celebrate every achievement our children make, we must be cautious to put these gains or improvements in the context of the State’s Accountability Goal which is to have all schools at 120 by the year 2014. Clearly, many schools will not make that goal and to focus so much on gains or improvement without acknowledging that more than just the RSD high schools are in grave danger of not making the mark is a mistake. Our children deserve our full attention on doing whatever it takes to get every child to proficiency by 2014. The children in schools that fail to make their growth targets year after year are being LEFT BEHIND. Sure, celebrate the improvement, but demand accountability for failing to make enough progress to reach the goals. We are in as much of an academic crisis now as were were in 2005. Based on the recently released reports, the RSD has only move 1 school out of being in Academic Watch status or Academically Unacceptable Status. Closing a school is not the same as improving student academic performance even though closing a school serves the purpose of reducing the number of failing schools. Authorizing a charter of a failing schools is not the same as improving the academic achievement of the children in the school, especially, when once the school becomes a charter, they have different grade configurations AND different children. Let’s stop playing games with our children’s lives and actually improve their academic performance! Our children are being used as pawns in a much larger political game, this is not about the children, but about money and adult greed for the money that we know follows poor low performing children.

  • AMAN!!!! Karran Harper Royal


    More money !! less children!!! five high schools SPS under 40

    (New Orleans Schools Show Great Improvement)?????????????????

  • Dissenting Voice to KHR says:

    KHR – you obviously need to spend some time in these schools to see the folly of your thinking. One would assume that you would likely come to the same misguided conclusions, however, even if you did survey the landscape from the inside rather than La La Land. If you were a true advocate, you would get your facts correct on which schools are doing great things for kids and point these schools out so that parents would know where to go. Plainly this is not of real interest to you.

    (We are not buying your phony SPED advocate posture either.)

    Alas, it is clearly easier to sit on the outside and continue to tear away at things. Would that educators had this luxury! If you are making the case that schools are in crisis in the same ways and to the same extent as they were pre-Katrina, then you undermine your credibility from the start. Surely, no one who lives here and knows the schools could reasonably believe such an audacious and, frankly, silly claim. You are exposed for the zealot you are!

  • I am completely blown away by the findings in this report… I have a child at Sci Hi. I wonder what on earth is going on in those other schools. Every time I walk into sci hi I want to cry. All I can think is that without robbing a bank to pay for private education is this really as good as it gets? My son comes home daily complaining of out of control classrooms, teachers leaving for greener grass elsewhere, and constant subs running the classrooms. My child is a TOP honors student and always has been yet he now receives the majority of his actual instruction from volunteer tutors while he complains of receiving NOTHING in the classroom. I have no idea the condition of the schools prior to Katrina as we are not native to New Orleans. We came after the storm when stationed here with the military. I have made every attempt to be involved which generally falls on deaf ears. They ask for help constantly but the school never follows through.
    I cannot imagine what you lifelong parents of Orleans Parish school children have gone through if what I have seen the past 4 years is marked improvement. Personally I spent 6 years as an educator so I am sympathetic to the teacher’s plight, but for all our travels the Orleans Parish school system has by far been the worst educational experience our family has ever endured. I applaud the change if this is in fact positive change, but there is currently NO WAY that these kids in majority will be prepared for higher education or to be a driving force in the future world economy.


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