The Baton Rouge Area Chamber published its annual education report card April 6, analyzing kindergarten through 12th-grade performance in the Capital Region schools during the 2013-14 school year.
Zachary schools remained at the top — both in the region and in the state — for the 10th consecutive year, the report states.
The report looks at data from the Louisiana Department of Education showing outcomes of public schools in the Baton Rouge area and provides an indication of overall regional performance.
BRAC’s Capital Region includes East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Ascension, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee and St. Helena parishes.
BRAC produces the report annually to serve as a tool for the business community, nonprofits, regional leaders and families to utilize in gauging the quality of educational options in the region, as well as to determine challenges that remain, BRAC officials said in a news release.
“Public education is a critical part of growing the regional economy. Keeping track of and reporting this data publicly is important for families, newcomers and business leaders,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “The data in the report card shows that there is still much work to do, but progress is being made. The sobering reality is that the jobs being created today cannot wait until workforce supply catches up.”
The majority of the 13 school districts in the Capital Region achieved significant improvements in overall district performance scores, the release said. An average of those scores shows a four-point increase, which equates to six percent growth overall compared to a one percent improvement for the state as a whole.
The increase is largely in part to a big jump by the EBR Recovery School District.
In 2013, the Capital Region had four school districts ranked in the top 10 in the state and five in the top 25, which means that in 2014, half of Louisiana’s top 10 school districts and nearly one quarter of the top 25 districts were located in the nine-parish region.
Comparatively, five school districts remain in the bottom 25 in the state but saw improvement with the most dramatic taking place in the EBR-RSD, which increased its score by seven points. The report showed that EBR-RSD and St. Helena were at the bottom of the state rankings at 71 and 73 respectively out of 74 total.
Three of the region’s school districts improved by a full letter grade — Livingston, St. Helena and the EBR-RSD.
St. Helena’s improvement was based on the performance of its elementary and high school following the closure of the RSD-controlled middle school, according to Superintendent Kelli Joseph, who said she knows the importance improving a school district.
“Our district has a clear vision now to develop a productive educational system that increases student achievement, develops educator effectiveness and builds public confidence,” said Joseph. “We will continue to work in that spirit of excellence.”
East Baton Rouge Parish and Baker school districts saw growth of one percent each with EBR increasing its performance score from 80.3 to 81.3 and Baker from 62.4 to 63.4.
West Feliciana schools fell slightly from seventh to 10th overall.
The average school performance score for a charter school in the Capital Region is 64, or a D letter grade.
The single charter school in East Feliciana — Slaughter Community Charter School — has a school performance score of 98.9, slightly more than one point from an A rating.
The BESE-authorized charter schools have an average school performance score of 66.5 (D) while the EBR School Board charters averaged worse with an SPS average of 58.2 (D).
BRAC’s full education report is accessible at brac.org/K12research.