Local schools show LEAP improvements

Scores from the latest round of LEAP (Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) tests show Webster Parish schools with significant improvement in some areas, parish Superintendent of Schools Johnny Rowland told members of the school board Monday.

“Is it fair to say Webster Parish showed significant growth? The answer is yes,” Rowland said during his superintendent’s report. “A lot of the credit for this is where the rubber meets the road…our teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, students.”

Among elementary schools in grades 3 through 8, Rowland said all showed growth in the testing areas. Overall, he said, elementary schools improved by 43.4 points. Junior high showed growth in two of four schools at the sixth grade level, one improvement for seventh graders and improvement in all schools at the eighth grade level.

High schools in the parish showed growth in four of the six testing areas, Rowland reported. No growth was seen in test results for biology and geometry.

“The parish showed good results overall and in fact growth was significant in some areas.” he told board members.

Also Monday, board members agreed to adopt a resolution asking for a special election to be held on March 25, 2023 to fill the District 9 seat. No candidates filed for the seat during the period ending in July. District 9 board member Frankie Mitchell did not seek reelection.

Monday’s resolution was passed with the provision that the election date be reconsidered if a choice of date exists that would keep the District 9 race from being the only item on the ballot. Board members will either appoint a replacement to fill the unexpired term or the governor will do so.

A low bid of $3,376,500 was accepted by the board to construct a new softball complex for Minden High School. Plans call for the complex to be constructed on the campus of the former Lowe Middle School/Jr. High School/Alternative School on Clerk St.

Board members agreed to accept a low bid from Block Builders, LLC, for alterations and improvements at Browning Elementary, using $753,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. ESSER is a federal program established during the COVID crisis for purposes of health and safety, and board members heard that the Browning project qualified for the funds.

Figures show the parish has access to between $16 and $18 million in ESSER money for the next two school years.

A special school board meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 15 at Minden High School to discuss safety and security including plans for implementing measures to help secure parish schools. Board members voted to conduct the meeting where Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker and his staff will discuss options that include additional school resource officers.