Louisiana’s School Improvement Efforts

In recent years, Louisiana’s efforts to reduce the number of students concentrated in struggling schools are yielding results. In 2017, more than 21,200 fewer students attended D and F schools than did in 2013. However, a sizable number of schools continue to struggle to provide an excellent education to all students.

  • 272 schools (21%), earned a letter grade of D or F for three consecutive years and/or had a 2017 cohort graduation rate below 67%.

  • 16% of all Louisiana students – more than 115,000 students – attend these persistently struggling schools. These students are more likely to be low income (90%, compared to 71% state average) and minority (85%, compared to 55% state average).

  • The academic performance and growth of historically disadvantaged students remain lower than their peers – revealing a persistent and widening gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students in Louisiana. For example, while 35 percent of students without disabilities scored mastery and above on the 2017 LEAP assessment, only 11 percent of students with disabilities scored at that level. Between 2015 and 2017, the number of white students scoring mastery or above on the LEAP assessment grew by 3 percent, while the number of African-American students scoring mastery or above only grew by 2 percent.

To address the continued need for school improvement statewide, the Louisiana Department of Education is employing the following strategies.

1. District-Driven School Redesign Planning

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires every local school system design a plan for improving student performance in their struggling schools. School systems will be developing multi-year plans to address these challenges, and the Department will competitively award funds to those with the strongest evidence-based plans. Please visit our School Redesign homepage for more information.

2. Zone Strategies

In our state’s mid-sized cities, there exist large concentrations of struggling schools. The Department is partnering with school systems to create improvement zones of schools within these systems, grounded in evidence based strategies. Caddo Parish, a district serving more than 40,000 students, will be launching the Transformation Next Zone, a plan to transform 14 of Shreveport's most challenged schools through ambitious goals, community-based accountability, recruitment of top educators, intensive supports for teachers, and broad decision-making authority for principals.

3. Recovery School District Intervention

In New Orleans and Baton Rouge, intervention by the Recovery School District (RSD) has yielded results for students. The RSD will continue to exist as an option for schools that continue to struggle despite plans for redesign or comprehensive school system improvement strategies. Involvement by the RSD can include mergers, closures, or transformation by a charter operator.

Visit the School Redesign homepage to learn more about Louisiana’s plan to ensure all students are prepared for college and fulfilling careers.