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