Simpson’s pre-school ranks among the state’s best in the first Louisiana measurement of how well early childhood programs are preparing children for kindergarten.

The assessment is considered important because many educators feel having a child ready for kindergarten is an essential first step to academic success.

Results of the first official rating of pre-school programs were released this week. Practice profiles were prepared in 2015-16 to prepare for the official launch.

Simpson, with 10 students in its program, according to the Dept. of Education listing, scored 6.06 overall on the performance rating, achieving an “excellent” rating. 

The remainder of Vernon Parish’s public school early learning programs were ranked as proficient and all the schools, including Simpson, reached Assessment Level 3, the top tier.

Schools, student count and scores: East Leesville Elementary, 155, 5.45; Evans, 20, 5.58; Hicks, 17, 4.74; Hornbeck, 20, 4.61; Pickering Elementary, 57, 5.45; Pitkin, 32, 5.01; Simpson, 10, 6.06; Rosepine Elementary, 77, 5.12; Anacoco, 37, 5.81; North Polk Elementary, 194, 5.14.

Two privately owned pre-school programs with at least some public-funded enrollment were rated as approaching proficient.

Love & Laughter, with less than 10 students, scored 3.58, and Dreams and Discoveries, with 20 students, scored 4.41, according to the report.

The unified rating system has two components: 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 Vernon school system retained its “A” ranking, finishing third-highest in the state among traditional public systems. The 107.9 score is a slight dip from last year, a drop anticipated as changes, including on-line testing, were implemented.

The state’s top-scoring systems (Zachary leads at 115.6) and top-scoring individual schools (Ben Franklin High in New Orleans leads at 141.3 of a maximum possible 150) are all selective-admission campuses.

State Supt. John White, at a news conference, noted performances were “largely consistent” statewide with last year. He pointed out the state’s “curve” policy ensures distribution of school letter grades can improve as the state transitions to more-challenging standards for English, math, science and social studies. That policy is in its final year.

The state adds as many as 10 progress points to performance scores of schools or districts that meet a state threshold. At this week’s School Board meeting, Vernon Supt. James Williams noted the system’s accomplishments in the process points process.

In the progress points category, Piktin and Rosepine received the 10-point maximum, with Hicks getting 9.4 and Pickering Elementary 9.1. Pitkin, Rosepine and Anacoco Elementary were recognized as Top Gainers by the state.

In the letter ranking, North Polk Elementary jumped from last year’s “C” to an “A” on this year’s grading list. Pickering Elementary earned a “A”, compared to a “B” last year. Evans and Simpson both dropped from A to B.

Rosepine at 121.6 had the highest performance score among Vernon schools, a jump of 5.2 from last year. Hicks was scored at 115.4, slightly higher than last year; Anacoco Elementary at 111.3, an increase of 5.1 over last year; and Pitkin at 110.7, a rise of almost 8 over last year.

Schools, this year’s letter grade and score, last year’s grade and score, and progress points:

Anacoco, B, 98.8, B, 96.5, 3.9;

East Leesville Elementary, B, 84.1, B, 97.3, 0;

Evans, B, 93.9, A, 105.2, 3.2;

Hicks, A, 115.4, A, 113.6, 9.4;

Hornbeck, A, 103, A, 103.7, 4.7;

Leesville High, A, 108.1, A, 106.5, 7.1;

Leesville Jr. High, B, 88.8, B, 91.1, 3.2;

Pickering Elementary, A, 104.1, B, 95.2, 9.1;

Pickering, B, 93.8, B, 98, 4;

Pitkin, A, 110.7, A, 102.8, 10;

Parkway, A, 100, A, 107, 8.7;

Rosepine, A, 121.6, A, 116.4, 10;

Simpson, B, 98.8, A, 105.1, 3.2;

Vernon Middle, B, 84.9, B, 94.2, 3.1;

West Leesville Elementary, 84.1, B, 97.3, 0;

Rosepine Elementary, A, 104.9, A, 108.9;

Anacoco Elementary, A, 111.3, A, 106.2;

North Polk Elementary, A, 100, C, 107.