LEESVILLE, La. (Vernon Parish School Board / Ft. Polk Progress) - The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) recently released data that listed Vernon Parish School District as an Outstanding School System in English Language Learners.
The Department of Education's list shows VPSD with a growth of 57 percent, placing them fourth in the state.
English Language Learners is instruction for students who speak a different native language to learn English as a second language. Currently, there are 132 Vernon Parish students in the program.
Renita Page, a Vernon Parish School Board curriculum director, said that teachers at every grade level deserve credit for this recognition.
"Instructing English Learners involves teachers at every level -- preschool through high school," Page said. "This is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication by the teachers, paraeducators, and the students."
Fort Polk Progress President Michael Reese said this accomplishment speaks volumes to the quality of education available to students in the area, especially those from military families stationed at Fort Polk.
"Vernon Parish School District is continually making strides to ensure its schools are meeting the needs of all students, so they can perform the best they can academically," Reese said. "Military families with students in the English Language Learners Program can rest assured knowing their kids are in a thriving school system that will equip them with the tools and knowledge for success."
The school district ranked second in the subgroup of "Economic Disability." Mastery in this subgroup was achieved by 42 percent of the students.
Starting in 2025, the LDOE will require that a school have a growth rating of 100 percent in its Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) test for that school to be designated as an "A" school. There are currently seven schools in the parish that the LDOE designated as an "A" school.
Anne Smith, another VPSB curriculum director, said that the school district is already well above the state average in English language arts (ELA) and math.
The district is at 53 percent in ELA, with the state average totaling 43 percent, and 42 percent in math, compared to the state average of 33 percent, according to Smith.
"We are already ahead of the curve, and we will be proficient in 2025," Smith said.
Superintendent of Vernon Parish schools James Williams said he is confident the teachers, parents and students will continue to work hard to maintain their "A" ratings.
"I'm proud of the schools we have here in this parish and the hard work that all of the employees do," Williams said. "The state is raising the bar, but we've raised ours too."
Assessment scores for individual schools in the district will be released in the late fall.