Seven Caddo schools earned a spot on the coveted Early Childhood Education Honor Roll with three schools garnering the highest rankings in the state, according to data released Tuesday by the Louisiana Department of Education.
The schools are among nearly 400 publicly funded early childhood sites to land on the state’s Early Childhood Honor Roll as a result of their performance in 2018-2019. Recognizing the integral role early childhood education plays in a high-quality school system, Caddo Parish Public Schools has invested in increasing access to prekindergarten programs in recent years as well as providing top tier training and support to teachers and staff.
“Providing the highest quality early childhood education opportunities and access has become a cornerstone to the work we do in Caddo Parish,” said Dr. T. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Schools. “Without that strong foundation, our students are not prepared for the rigor of today’s classrooms. If we are to be an equitable district, we must provide top-rated, student specific supports which directly address the needs of the child and these rankings are a reflection of that work taking place in district classrooms.”
The three Caddo schools rated as Excellent this year are Mooringsport Elementary, Summer Grove Elementary and University Elementary. The campuses have become models not only for Caddo centers but centers across the region looking to improve the quality of early childhood education. Additional schools commended on the Honor Roll are Cherokee Park Elementary, Caddo Heights Math & Science Elementary, Blanchard Elementary, Forest Hill Elementary.
In total, 19 district schools ranked in the highest tiers of the state’s evaluations resulting in Excellent or Highly Proficient ratings.
“These standout sites really highlight the great work being done throughout Louisiana in early education. We are caring for our earliest learners in safe, emotionally supportive, and educational environments, preparing them for success in school and life,” said Tony Davis, a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. “Our state is being well served by its investment in early childhood education, and I proudly continue to advocate for additional funding to expand these kinds of gains.”
The Honor Roll recognizes early childhood programs, including early childhood centers, Head Start, and pre-kindergarten, in three categories:
Excellent: Sites on this list achieved a rating of “Excellent,” the highest possible rating, on the annual performance evaluation. The evaluation tool that informs the rating is used nationally and internationally, meaning the sites on this list are among the best in the world.
Birth to Three: Sites on this list provided high-quality instruction and care to the state’s youngest learners, children birth to age three. This is significant because Louisiana serves far fewer economically disadvantaged children birth to age three, and early childhood sites typically score lower in performance categories related to these age groups.
Top Gains: Sites on this list significantly improved their performance from one year to the next. The unified system includes ratings that relate to positive child outcomes, such as teacher-child interactions and instruction, and information on classroom best practices, such as credentialing teachers and using top-tier curriculum.
The overall performance rating, which is based on observations, is reported in five categories: Excellent, High Proficient, Proficient, Approaching Proficient, and Unsatisfactory. Each site on the Honor Roll will receive a special badge on their performance profiles in the Louisiana School and Center Finder to signify the accomplishment, as well as a state certificate to display on-site.
“Louisiana took a great step forward when it began publicly reporting the performance of early childhood centers alongside their counterparts in K-12 systems,” said State Superintendent John White. “The Honor Roll released today complements that effort by recognizing and rewarding the sites that achieved remarkable success this past year. We applaud these sites for providing families, particularly those who are economically disadvantaged, with access to high-quality care and for acting as models for excellence and growth.”