By Michelle Bates (Bienville Democrat)
GIBSLAND, SALINE – Louisiana State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Cade Brumley visited Gibsland-Coleman and Saline High Schools to present them with banners declaring them as a “Comeback Campus.”
“The idea behind Comeback Campus is that we wanted to recognize schools that through the course of the pandemic actually excelled, and these particular schools are performing at a higher level post-pandemic than before the pandemic,” Brumley said. “When we think about students that rate at mastery level, and also rates of students scoring at unsatisfactory level, you have more students mastering content here today than before the pandemic.”
Out of the thousands of schools across the state, only 41 schools met the mark to become a “Comeback Campus.” Out of the 41 schools selected, GCHS and SHS were two of those schools.
Louisiana Comeback Campuses are schools that increased the percentage of students scoring mastery and above and decreased the percentage of students scoring unsatisfactory in both math and English Language Arts on statewide assessments when compared to 2019. High school Comeback Campuses also increased their ACT scores. Benefits of being a Comeback Campus include access to additional funds, ability to participate in best practices research, round table discussions with Louisiana Department of Education staff and lead state/national educator sessions.
On Friday, Feb. 3, Brumley presented GCHS Principal Samuel Andrews and SHS Principal Scott Canady with banners proclaiming them as “Comeback Campuses.”
Andrews contributed GCHS’s success to the work they did throughout the pandemic to make sure students were meeting requirements of the curriculum.
“We blocked off K-8, blocked off ELA and Math and focused on the curriculum,” he said. “We identified those students who needed help and supported teachers and utilized the support that we had.”
ACT scores are up and there is an increase in dual enrollment numbers (students enrolled in college level courses), he said, adding that students are working harder for the opportunities offered, which is trickling down to the lower grades.
“I think our state weathered the pandemic relatively well, especially compared to other states,” Brumley said. “I think we were a leader across the country. We want to acknowledge campuses that performed really well throughout that scope of time. That’s why we’re here.”
Canady said on behalf of SHS, he is honored that the school received such a distinction.
“It is a great honor to have Saline High School recognized as a Louisiana Comeback Campus,” he said. “Our faculty and staff worked hard each day during the pandemic to maintain the level of academic excellence that we have always achieved. We are humbled to have this elite distinction of being one of only 41 out of over 1,200 schools in Louisiana to have our State Superintendent, Dr. Cade Brumley, personally congratulate and present us with a banner. Congratulations to all of our students, faculty, and staff. Go Bobcats!”
Bienville Parish Superintendent of Schools William Wysinger said Friday’s banner presentations are a testament to the school staff and the students.
“They’re small schools, and we’re a family,” Wysinger said. “Everyone works together. With all the people at Central Office and the staff at the schools, we all work together. We want to thank you (Brumley and LDOE) for the support that you give us.”
(Pictured from left, Superintendent of Schools William Wysinger, School Board Member Derrika Bailey, District 3, GCHS principal Samuel Andrews, Kasey Salvaterra, Counselor Chekelah Weaver, Federal Programs Director Kamethia Penton, and Dr. Cade Brumley, State Superintendent of Schools.)
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