Advertisement

ABCs of Public Schools


The ABCs. The three Rs. Dressing out for PE. Deciphering acronyms about education seemed a lot less intimidating when we were in school than they do now. Through its nature, education is forever an evolving practice, so just when it seems you’ve finally got a handle on all the important aspects of your child’s schooling, hearing a teacher say, “your child will be given the DRA next week” or the principal announce, “our SPS has increased” may leave you feeling out of the loop. Whether your child attends a traditional, magnet, or charter public school, the following guide will equip you with the need-to-know information behind this year’s educational acronyms.

BESE

If you hear of changes coming to your local school from “Bessie,” don’t be alarmed. It’s not a cow that’s making these decisions, but the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Located on North Third Street in Baton Rouge, BESE serves as an administrative body that adopts regulations and enacts policies governing the operations of our state’s schools. These adopted rules carry the force and effect of law.

DRA

Adopted in East Baton Rouge and Ascension Parish last year, the Developmental Reading Assessment is used to assess early literacy skills and is approved for use by the Louisiana Department of Education. According to developers from the Pearson Assessments, DRA evaluations allow teachers to “systematically observe, record, and evaluate changes in student reading performance.” East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools test students at the beginning of the year and again at mid-year, as well as at the end of the school year.

ELA

“ELA” is used to refer to English Language Arts, a discipline comprising grammar, writing, spelling, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. More than a decade ago, the Louisiana Department of Education merged classes that were traditionally taught separately, such as English and Reading, to create an environment where students can learn about each in the context of the other. Even though the classes are taught as one, students receive the same amount of instruction as they would receive in two classes.

FAST

According to the Louisiana Department of Education, Ascension Parish is the only school district with an approved waiver to administer the Formative Assessment System for Teachers, instead of DIBELS, for grades K-3. Developed by the University of Minnesota, FAST allows a student’s skills to be evaluated relative to other grade levels, which is not currently provided by most traditional assessments. However, FAST also measures a student’s reading fluency and comprehension.

IEP

Individualized Education Programs are written plans developed for your child, with your participation, designed to meet his needs and define his goals. Teachers, counselors, and parents form a Pupil Appraisal Team that will work together to construct the best plan for a child facing trials in the classroom. Students who struggle may require special education and related services to meet their unique needs and to support them in attaining both their short and long term educational goals. These services are governed by federal legislation via the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004).

LEAP

All Louisiana public school students in grades 3-8 take the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program test in Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. (Students in third, fifth, sixth, and seventh grade take the iLEAP version of the Science test since new state standards for Science are in development.) While the state has gone back to using the LEAP test after a brief period of administering the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test, there have been substantial revisions to the test: In addition to multiple choice questions in all subject areas, students must also answer constructed response questions, many that are multistep. Individual student scores are reported directly to the parent each spring.

PBIS

Positive Behavior Intervention Support is used statewide with the specific goal of replacing reactive disciplinary measures with preventative measures. PBIS is not a specific “model,” but is composed of a broad range of school-wide and individual strategies for achieving important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behavior with all students. These strategies include rewarding expected behavior to all students instead of placing the emphasis on discouraged behavior. Of PBIS, Ascension Parish Superintendent David Alexander tells students, “We emphasize the importance of respect among fellow students, faculty, staff, and administration. We want you to have a strong support system, so we urge you to develop strong, positive relationships with your teachers, administrators, and other adults on campus.”

SPS

A School Performance Score is issued by the Louisiana Department of Education for public schools each year. A numerical score and a letter grade are calculated based on a formula separate for elementary, middle, and high schools. These scores are computed using various sources of information such as achievement on standardized tests, graduation rate, and the earning of advanced credits.

STEM

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Collectively, these subjects are referred to as “STEM.” With a desire to see American students become world leaders in science and math, the United States has renewed its commitment to focusing on STEM courses. Louisiana offers graduation pathways revolved around STEM. East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools is home to numerous STEM programs housed within their schools, including curriculums on Computer Gaming, Engineering, Web Design, Robotics, and Health Sciences.

Up-to-date and in-depth information about Louisiana’s public schools can be found on the Louisiana Department of Education’s website at louisianabelieves.com. ■

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

01 Aug 2017


By Valerie Comeaux

Recent Articles more articles

The Moment I Became a Mom

in Family Life, Amy Delaney

There are many milestones in the international adoption process–home study completion, being matched with your child, receiving updates, getting the travel call. However, the single biggest milestone for me was never logged on a calendar, even though

Make Time For Yourself

in Amelia Laprairie

Being a mom is a roller coaster of emotions. There’s happiness while watching the little ones grow, followed by my sadness because of the realization of how fast it happens. There’s anticipation of wanting them to reach milestones, followed by the ne

Sleepaway for Mama: Leaving My Daughters Overnight for the First Time

in Things To Do, Family Life, Mari Walker

In more than seven and a half years of parenting, I had never left my children overnight until recently. Other than her recent trip to pony camp, the only time I was away from my older daughter was when my younger daughter was born. I stayed in the h

Sure Signs You’re a Mom to School-Aged Children

in Family Life, Amy Delaney, School

It’s August–do you know where your school supply list is?! This school year snuck up on us like no other. We moved in May and our summer was literally turned upside down, and now it’s August and school is upon us. As I entered the scramble to prepare

Featured Listings more listings

Quarters Endless Entertainment

Quarters Endless Entertainment

in Party Venues

Three exciting party package options are available at Quarters Endless Entertainment: Laser Tag Pack includes 10 guests, Xtreme Laser Tag, Arcade Cards, large pizzas, fountain drinks; the Bowling Pack includes 10 guests, bowling, Arcade Cards, large

Greater Baton Rouge Hope Academy

in Private Schools

Hope Academy utilizes proven research-based techniques that are tempered with care and customized to meet the unique requirements of the individual student.

Twin Lakes Camp

in Day Camps, Residential Camps

Since 1970, Twin Lakes has provided families with a summer camp program nestled in the rolling hills and piney woods of central Mississippi. With day camp for ages 5-8, overnight camps for ages 6-12, the L.I.T. program for teens age 13-15, and more.

Advertisement
Newsletter