Morris Jeff Community School’s school performance score improved to a “C” from a “D,” school officials announced at a board meeting Thursday night. The school was less than a point away from scoring a “B” grade.

The official scores were released by the Louisiana Department of Education during the day on Thursday, showing results from a new system that aligns the way schools are graded with higher standards and rewarding the gains schools have already made.

Under the old system, Morris Jeff scored 84.6, according to materials handed out at the meeting. Under the new system, the school scored an 84.3 — which is the equivalent of a 101.3 under the system used before.

“I am proud to say that Morris Jeff made double-digit gains,” board President Wanda Anderson-Guillaume said during the meeting. “Congratulations and hats off to the school and the staff for making this happen.”

The new calculation for elementary schools was made using 100 percent test scores, versus the old system of using 90 percent test scores and 10 percent attendance.

At the meeting, the board agreed to adopt a better process for holding an annual review of certain school documents, including the Morris Jeff Community School Employee Handbook, the MJCS Student-Parent Handbook and MJCS Bylaws.

Vice-President Aesha Rasheed suggested that the board review the documents and next month approve the employee handbook and the student handbook for this school year. In the future, she suggested doing it every August, at the beginning of the school year, for that existing year.

Board member Amanda Butler suggested instead that the school adopt the documents for the following school year, ahead of time.

“From a legal perspective, if you have a handbook and then you say, ‘just kidding, the policy is something else,’ it erodes the authority somewhat of the policy,” Butler said. “We need to have a better schedule, it sounds like to me.”

Rasheed added that she wanted to make sure the Morris Jeff Association of Educators — the school’s new union — and the Morris Jeff Family Partnership have a chance to review all of the documents before the board approves them for each year. Rasheed said parents and teachers should have input before the board votes, too.

Board members discussed a schedule where parents and teachers could review the documents in the spring so the board could vote on the following year’s handbooks in the summer beforehand. Anderson-Guillaume said she wanted input from school Principal Patricia Perkins, who was absent from the meeting.

Finally, Rasheed introduced a Morris Jeff board orientation agenda. The agenda is slated for Nov. 2 and will cover topics such as the school’s history, board roles and responsibilities and a review of school goals.

Della Hasselle

Della Hasselle, a freelance journalist and producer, reports environmental and criminal justice stories for The Lens. A graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative...