Archdiocese Sets Dates For Uniform Grade Structure

The grade level structure at New Orleans Catholic Schools will soon be the same across the board.

The Archdiocese made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trottter has more on the plan and reaction from administrators and parents.

After months of consideration, Catholic Schools and the Archdiocese of New Orleans have announced plans to move forward with a standardized grade level structure.

The plan was first recommended in 2012, following the Catholic University Study that included opinions from parents, teachers, and administrators about how to best serve students.

“It was a comprehensive review,” said Archdiocese of New Orleans Superintendent Jan Daniel-Lancaster. “It was amazing; both quantitative and qualitative data.”

Currently, grade levels at New Orleans Catholic Schools vary.

The new strategic plan requires all catholic elementary schools be Pre-K through 7th grade; and all catholic high schools be 8th grade through 12th grade.

At Brother Martin High School it means dropping 7th grade education.

“We’ve expressed to them all along that we fully intend to comply with the request of the archbishop and the office of catholic schools,” Development Director Tommy Mitchell said.

The Archdiocese says the new structure will help students get the most out of their elementary education, and insure a smoother transition into high school.

Research supports the plan.

“Research has also shown when kids are comfortable in a setting and they know what’s expected that they tend to do better,” Daniel-Lancaster said.

High school senior Blake Roberts agrees.

“Yeah, it’s a big change,” Roberts explained. “Like my first year here in 8th grade it was a big difference coming from elementary school to high school.” “It took a while to adjust to and I don’t think 7th graders are ready for that in my opinion.”

Catholic schools are required to comply with the standardized grade level structure by the 2015-16 school year.

“I don’t see where it will hurt the children at all,” Brother Martin parent Elizabeth Falgoust said.

She thinks the change will be easy for schools dropping grade levels, but harder for schools that will have to add.

“Because they have to hire teachers; they have to make room in their facilities to accommodate a whole level of class,” Falgoust said.

There are roughly five schools that have been granted exemptions.

Also, schools that have to add or remove more than one grade level can take a year to comply for each grade level affected.


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