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Governor Jindal Kicks Off School Visits in Houma at High Performing-High Poverty School

Press Release

Location: Houma, LA

Governor Bobby Jindal kicked off his school visits today in Houma at Dularge Middle School, a High Performing-High Poverty school that has taken advantage of many of the Governor's education reforms and is outperforming statewide averages for overall school performance and the percentage of students performing at grade level.

As the Governor puts together his education reform plan, he is visiting schools around the state to meet with educators and get a firsthand look at how Louisiana schools are pursuing innovative reforms that improve student outcomes. At these visits, the Governor is seeking input from superintendents, school board members, administrators, principals, teachers, students and parents about how best to improve Louisiana's education system.

Dularge Middle School is a High Performing-High Poverty school, which means it has had a School Performance Score (SPS) over 100 for the past two years and at least 65 percent of students at the school are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. As a comparison, just 37.7 percent of schools in Louisiana have a School Performance Score over 100. Dularge has been on the High Performing-High Poverty list since 2009.

Statewide this year, the average School Performance Score is 93.9 and the average percentage of students performing on grade level is 67 percent. By comparison, Dularge has a School Performance Score of 114.2 this year and 84 percent of students at Dularge are performing on grade level. On the state's new letter grades report card for Louisiana's schools, Dularge received a B+ while the state as a whole received a C.

Governor Jindal said, "We came to Dularge to get a firsthand look at a high performing school that has implemented innovative reforms that put students first to get results for our kids. Dularge is one of the top schools in the state and the folks here are showing that no matter where a school is located -- if we pursue the right reforms -- our students can succeed.

"Today's visit was very productive. We came here to see our reforms in action but also to listen and see what we can do better to improve the lives of our kids. We heard a lot that we can incorporate into our reform plan, including how critical it is to have effective teachers in the classroom, how red tape hampers a school's ability to make smart decisions with their dollars, and how the state can be a better partner for our districts to help our kids succeed."

The Governor added, "As a parent, I want what every parent in Louisiana wants. We want our kids to attend a great school and be taught by excellent teachers so they will be prepared to continue their education, get a great job, and be able to pursue their dreams here in Louisiana. Over the past four years, we've passed a number of major reforms that work to cut red tape, put more dollars in the classroom, reward highly effective teachers, and give parents a better understanding of how their child's school is performing. The goal of every reform we have pushed is to give more control to local leaders, who are closest to the classroom and in the best position to make decisions that are in the best interest of our children. Terrebonne Parish and Dularge Middle School have taken advantage of these reforms and our students have benefitted greatly."

At Dularge Middle School, Governor Jindal met with Terrebonne Parish Superintendent Phillip Martin, Terrebonne Parish Assistant Superintendent Carol Davis, and Dularge Middle School Principal Cheryl Degruise. Following the meeting, Governor Jindal visited a fourth grade math class taught by Madenna Voisin.

Dularge Principal Cheryl Degruise serves as a High Performing-High Poverty coach. Degruise was also named Region III Principal of the Year in 2010-11 and Terrebonne Parish Principal of the Year in October 2011 by the Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence (TFAE), a local private foundation that supports K-12 education initiatives.

Terrebonne Parish Superintendent Phillip Martin has been a statewide leader for education reform. Martin implemented a teacher performance incentive program that rewards the most effective teachers, and Terrebonne Parish is one of the pilot districts for the Governor's new teacher evaluation law that will help teachers excel in the classroom.

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