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|Parish school system ranks among top five in state|
Ouachita Parish remains one of the top five school systems in the state for district performance scores.
The state Department of Education this week released the 2006-07 district performance scores, which has Ouachita Parish ranked fourth in Louisiana.
The district scores measure how each public school system compare to others. Results from the LEAP, iLEAP, Graduation Exit Exams and student attendance and dropout rates are used to determine each school system's district scores.
Last year, Ouachita Parish was ranked third; the parish system has maintained a top five ranking among 66 Louisiana school systems for several years.
For the third consecutive year, the Zachary Community School District received the state's highest mark, scoring 110.1.
Ouachita Parish's district score improved from 101.0 to 101.1 over last year.
Dr. Don Coker, personnel director for Ouachita Parish Schools, said while four other school districts scored higher, those school districts have fewer schools and students compared to Ouachita.
Zachary Community School District has five schools with less than 4,000 students while the Ouachita system has 35 schools with 19,000 students enrolled.
"Of the top four schools, Ouachita Parish has twice to four times as many students," Coker said.
Larger school systems are often at a disadvantage when compared to other school systems since they have more students taking standardized tests, but Coker says Ouachita's consistent high ranking each year is proof the students, teachers and personnel are on the right track.
"When you get as high as we are but can still show improvement, that's something to be very happy about," Coker said. "It's not an easy thing to do."
"The higher your district score, the tougher it is to keep improving, but we've been able to do that," Coker continued. "We're happy to remain in the top five, but being No. 1 is the main goal.
"I think that is probable because we've got some great teachers and personnel and our students constantly do a great job. They work hard, and we always expect the best."
Ouachita Parish students next week will begin this year's district performance tests, which will factor in the 2008-09 performance scores. Those scores are routinely released around February of each year.