More than 60 Lafayette Parish early childhood centers have received new scores from the Louisiana Department of Education.
Officials established 2015-16 as a “practice year” for a new rating system. Preschools and day cares were evaluated on a seven-point scale with four categories: excellent, proficient, approaching proficient and unsatisfactory.
Officials evaluating the facilities looked at how much emotional and behavioral support each center provides, as well as classroom organization, instructional support and engaged support for learning.
They also examined aspects such as the number of certified teachers, how teachers measure progress and curriculum quality.
“We are working very closely with providers to understand the results and make improvements,” said Jenna Conway, the LDOE’s assistant superintendent for early childhood education.
Conway said evaluators examined more than 1,600 sites across Louisiana. A site was evaluated if it receives any state funding. Some sites were not included because they do not receive such funds.
In Lafayette Parish, five sites received scores of six or higher, putting them in the “excellent” category. Those were at Broadmoor Elementary, Katharine Drexel Elementary, Little Oaks Learning Center, UL’s Child Development Center and Woodvale Elementary.
Another 31 sites received scores that put them in the proficient range. Many of these were preschools at Lafayette Parish public schools. Some of the higher scores occurred at schools including Carencro Heights Elementary, Duson Elementary and Ernest Gallet Elementary.
Other high scores in the proficient range were seen at sites such as Gethsemane Christian Academy, Holy Family School and Smile/Louisiana Avenue Early Head Start.
Twenty-eight more sites received “approaching proficient” scores. These included centers such as Butterflies and Beyond, Mimi’s Preschool, A-Bears’ Kids Only Preschool and three Sugar ‘N Spice sites.
In general, the majority of centers received higher scores for emotional and behavioral support, and lower scores for instructional and learning support. Conway said evaluators saw that trend across Louisiana.
“Our classrooms do a good job of providing a warm, caring environment where teachers really care about children,” she said. “The challenge we have to meet is on instruction and getting children to think and develop cognitive skills.”
Conway said teachers will be working collaboratively over the coming months and are being encouraged to embrace tactics such as asking more “how” and “why” questions and speaking more, even when around the youngest children.
“This really represents a significant shift for the early childhood sector,” Conway said. “We are really working to change societal perceptions about caretaking and babysitting. We want our children to be in a place that is healthy and safe, while also creating higher expectations for instruction.”
The rating system is part of the state’s efforts to unify all early childhood centers, whether they are preschools, private facilities or Head Starts.
“We’ve really made a lot of progress to ensure that kids, regardless of the building they are in, are getting the experience to prepare for kindergarten,” Conway said.
HOW DID THEY DO?
Here are the 2015-16 ratings for 65 Lafayette Parish early childhood centers. This was a practice year for the new, seven-point scale. Centers are included if they receive any state funding.
Woodvale Elementary: 6.81
Broadmoor Elementary: 6.29
Little Oaks Learning Center: 6.06
UL Child Development Center: 6.06
Katharine Drexel Elementary: 6.02
Duson Elementary: 5.83
Milton Elementary: 5.81
Holy Family School: 5.76
Ernest Gallet Elementary: 5.71
Carencro Heights Elementary: 5.70
Gethsemane Christian Academy: 5.67
Evangeline Elementary: 5.50
Truman Early Childhood Education Center: 5.50
Plantation Elementary: 5.43
Ridge Elementary: 5.42
J. Wallace James Elementary: 5.41
Green T. Lindon Elementary: 5.39
J.W. Faulk Elementary: 5.33
Charles Burke Elementary: 5.26
Alice Boucher Elementary: 5.19
Smile/St. Christopher II B Head Start: 5.11
Smile/Louisiana Avenue Early Head Start: 5.10
S.J. Montgomery Elementary: 5.04
Prairie Elementary: 5.03
Holy Family Head Start: 4.97
Little Miracle Child Development Center: 4.97
Sugar ‘N Spice Broussard’s Preschool: 4.76
Truman Daycare and Learning Center: 4.70
Lil Angels Daycare: 4.68
Little Blessings Childcare and Preschool of Broussard: 4.66
Close to Home Daycare: 4.65
Smile/Lafayette Early Head Start: 4.60
Creative Learning Preschool and Child Care Center: 4.59
Immaculate Heart of Mary: 4.59
Doodlebug’s Early Childhood Development Center: 4.55
United Way Early Learning Center: 4.50
Sugar ‘N Spice Carencro’s Preschool: 4.48
Butterflies and Beyond Inc.: 4.43
Divine Treasures Development Center: 4.42
The Learning Tree Preschool: 4.41
Precious Heart Childcare: 4.38
A-Bears Kids Only Preschool: 4.35
Catina’s Day Care Center: 4.34
Rosa’s Child Development Center: 4.34
Smile/Holy Rosary Head Start: 4.33
Rosa’s Infant and Toddler Center: 4.32
Kids Only II of Lafayette: 4.31
Kid City Daycare and Preschool: 4.28
Little Steps Daycare and Learning Center: 4.19
Smile/St. Christopher II A Head Start: 4.16
Little Blessings Childcare and Preschool: 4.14
Archie’s ABC Learning Center: 4.10
Smile/Alexander Head Start Center: 3.99
Small World Daycare: 3.96
Sugar ‘N Spice Youngsville Preschool: 3.93
Cornerstone Learning Express: 3.90
Butterflies Preschool LLC: 3.88
Smile/St. Joseph Head Start: 3.70
Kids Only III of Lafayette: 3.62
Babineaux’s Kiddie Kare: 3.47
New Horizon Early Childhood Development Center: 3.41
Mimi’s Preschool Inc.: 3.35
Sugar ‘N Spice Acadiana’s Preschool: 3.35
BG’s Blessings Daycare: 3.19
The Village Children’s Center: 3.11