LIVINGSTON, La. (BRPROUD) — Livingston Parish Public Schools sees an increase in overall performance as schools navigate through COVID-19 challenges.

The school system said the overall performance score was 90.2 for 2021, an increase of 1.7 points compared to 2019 scores, according to the Louisiana Department of Education’s simulated accountability report.

Livingston Parish schools finished fifth out of 69 districts statewide and is one of only three districts in the top ten to increase the simulated district performance score from 2019, according to the school system in a news release.

“We know that having our students return to our campuses as quickly as they did and having our campuses offer creative alternatives that allowed our students to be in face-to-face learning environments with our teachers was the key to minimizing learning deficits created by the COVID pandemic,” Superintendent Joe Murphy said. “Often this effort put an undue burden on our teachers and curriculum leaders, but it was necessary to overcome the challenges.”

Living Parish Public Schools said the report showed that Livingston Parish high schools improved graduation rate by 12.4 index points and their overall Strength of Diploma index score by 8.3 points. The school system said the progress index for grades 3-12 increased 2 points, while the progress index for grades 3-8 increased 3.3 points.

According to a news release from the school system, the report showed 32 of the district’s schools were named Top Gains Honorees, which were recognized for a student progress score of 90 or greater from one year to the next, and 12 schools were named Equity Honorees, which were recognized for excellence in educating students with disabilities, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students. Nine schools received both honors.

Murphy said the report showed a decrease in the district’s LEAP and end-of-year assessments and that some of the “subtracted points” came from having a number of students opt out of testing. He said 124 students opted out of the accountability tests.

“While we recognize the challenges presented by the pandemic, Livingston Schools has acted swiftly throughout this past year to address student learning and has continued to provide support and resources for all our students. We do believe, that even though these are simulated results presented by the state, they are reflective of the dedication of every Livingston Parish Public School employee to serve the needs of our students, our parents and our community,” Murphy said.