Niche.com gives high marks to two local charter schools
Avoyelles Parish has two of the state’s top 50 public high schools, according to the online Niche.com.
Niche’s most recent ratings report also places the Avoyelles Parish School District 65th out of 69 public school districts in the state.
Avoyelles Public Charter School ranks No. 14 out of the state’s 353 high schools. LaSAS is 49th.
Both schools are charter schools. APCS is an independent public school, chartered by the state. LaSAS is a charter school operating within the Avoyelles Parish School District.
Both schools have a state School Performance Score rating of “A.”
Niche ranks both schools in the Top 5 public charter schools in the state. APCS is No. 3 and LaSAS is No. 5 out of the 44 charter schools in the Niche study.
The list apparently does not include the Recovery School District, which is comprised of “failed” public schools that are considered “charter schools.”
In reviewing the online site’s ratings of public school districts, LaSalle Parish is the highest rated in this area at No. 16, followed by Rapides at 23rd and Allen at No. 24.
Avoyelles finished ahead of Morehouse, St. Helena, Madison and Baker public school districts.
Avoyelles School District has an overall rating of “C” on the state rating system.
Academic performance, such as student proficiency ratings in reading and math, is just one factor in Niche’s report.
Niche officials said the company also rated districts and individual schools based on student and faculty diversity, outcomes such as graduation rates and ACT/SAT scores and responses from students and parents of students concerning their experiences in the school or school district.
Ratings such as Niche’s do not delve into social conditions in a school district that might play a role in the various results measured in determining a school or district’s rating in the report.
Niche is a website intended to provide its customers with information on schools, companies and neighborhoods throughout the nation. “We rigorously analyze dozens of public data sets and millions of reviews to produce comprehensive rankings, report cards and profiles for K-12 schools, colleges, places to live and places to work,” the company states on its website.
It used information from the U.S. Department of Education and from reviews and survey responses about the schools.
“Our rankings strive to reflect the entire school experience, including academics, teachers, diversity, student life, and student outcomes,” the website notes.
“We also believe that each school is so much more than just one ranking number,” Niche continued.
“That's why we have in-depth profiles on each school and district and also assess them across a number of factors to produce annual graded Report Cards for each school and district.
“This year, nearly 100,000 schools and districts received a Niche ranking and 2019 Report Card.” More detailed information on the schools is available at the website.
In looking at those reports, this article chose to compare the “academic” numbers of the schools which reflect the percentage of students who are proficient in reading and in math.
Avoyelles Charter had 92 percent proficient in reading and 96 percent proficient in math. LaSAS had 89 percent proficient in reading and 81 percent proficient in math. Avoyelles High was 55 percent in reading and 45 percent in math. Marksville High was 52 percent in reading and 36 percent in math. Bunkie was 45 percent in reading and 23 percent in math.
Niche did not have the proficiency scores for St. Joseph Catholic School.
The public elementary schools’ proficiency scores (reading/math), according to Niche.com, are: Lafargue Elementary, 72/74; Plaucheville Elementary, 68/63; Cottonport Elementary, 45/43; Marksville Elementary, 36/43; Riverside Elementary, 42/37; and Bunkie Elementary, 39/30.
Overall, the Avoyelles School District has 55 percent of its students scoring proficient in reading and 49 percent proficient in math. That compares to St. Charles Parish, #1 on the Niche list, at 84/82; LaSalle at No. 16 with 78/69; Concordia at 50th with 61/55; E. Feliciana at 64th, 64/54; Morehouse at 66th, 52/42 and Baker at 69th, 53/37.
While reports such as Niche.com’s provide a means of comparing schools and school districts, readers are cautioned against using them as a way to determine a “good” or “bad” school or district.
Such reports certainly cannot be used to measure the quality or dedication of the educators in a school or district. As noted earlier, there are many factors at play in society that can determine why one school is deemed a success and another is not.
It can be argued that all schools and school districts must contend with social factors over which they have no control, so in that regard they are all treated equally by the rating reports.
This newspaper urges readers to take this and any other online “places rated” report with a grain of salt and to use them as only one source of information when considering important decisions such as moving to a community or buying a house.