Each year, the state department of education issues a letter grade letter to schools in Louisiana, on a scale of A-F, which is calculated using student performance metrics including, but not limited to, students' state assessment scores. Lincoln Preparatory School in Grambling, Louisiana, recently revamped the way teachers and students worked – the strategy: change the culture and focus more on academics – a strategy that has moved the school from an F to a C.
“A lot of people say ‘You’re doing a good job, but it’s not just me,” said Melanie Colvin, chief academic officer at Lincoln Prep.
Colvin says Lincoln Prep began after 2014 when the former Grambling Lab School closed due to budget cuts, and a group of alumni began writing a charter for the current school. It was at that time she was introduced to the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA).
She attended professional training offered by LOSFA, and learned the importance of having early conversations with students about graduation, college and a career.
Colvin says they’ve found success in using LOSFA’s
Unlock My Future
tool, a website that matches students with potential career paths and provides resources to discover which schools are best for them and how to pay for college.
In the past, Colvin says Lincoln Prep did not offer any advanced placement courses, an opportunity she wanted the students to have. This past spring and summer, teachers became certified to now offer 10 AP courses at Lincoln Prep.
Colvin says the AP courses have led to an increase in ACT scores. They’ve also added more options for skill certifications for students who choose a career pathway.
Summer Clark, LOSFA Regional Coordinator, says with funding from LOSFA and Louisiana GEAR UP, students at Lincoln Prep are now able to receive financial literacy workshops, college campus tours, laptops, test prep courses, as well as tutoring and other academic support.
"When I first started working with the school they had big goals," Clark said. "I love how the administration at Lincoln Prep is always searching for more opportunities to offer their students."