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State LEAP Scores Released for Orleans Parish; Results Show Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Student Achievement

NOLA-PS elevates the value of in-person learning to improve upon this new baseline

(New Orleans - August 4, 2021) – Today, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) released the 2020-2021 Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) results for schools within the NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) community.

The scores illustrate the anticipated negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on overall student achievement and drive home the importance of in-person instruction for all students.

Rather than serving as a comparison to pre-COVID years, these data instead will help our schools establish new baselines for individual students to map a path to success in their educations. They also expose the inequities and racial disparities in education that existed before COVID and have only been exacerbated by it. More resources must be dedicated to those students who historically have not been given the support and opportunities to succeed.

It is vitally important to note that these data do not reflect the performance of our teachers, who have performed admirably under very difficult circumstances to connect with students who have struggled or disengaged as a result of this terrible pandemic. It is a testament to our teachers' ability to engage their students that more than 95% of children in public schools in New Orleans participated in the exams despite COVID restrictions.

"Our teachers did a tremendous job last year under unfathomably difficult circumstances," said Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. "They showed their talent, dedication, and ability to innovate – all for the work they love and the sake of the students they care for so much. These scores are symptoms of an unprecedented pandemic in which all families struggled in one way or another. It's now our job to reconnect with our students and bring back the joy of learning to them."

The state compared the 2020-2021 data to the test results from 2018-2019 school year. LEAP tests for the 2019-2020 school year were canceled due to the pandemic. Every school district in Louisiana endured a drop in student achievement this year, according to these latest scores.

In New Orleans, the results show NOLA-PS schools experienced a 6% drop in mastery of English and a 10.7% drop in mastery of Math. Nonetheless, about one in every five students in our community of schools continued to demonstrate mastery of these subjects.

These data also show that student groups who have historically struggled were singularly impacted by the challenges of the COVID pandemic. Again, it is imperative that we work with our partners at the local, state, and federal levels to reach those students who need additional support.

All information, including these latest data, demonstrate the value of classroom instruction to the development and education of all students. Therefore, NOLA-PS will continue to deploy all necessary measures to preserve in-person learning during the 2021-2022 school year to improve upon this new baseline for student learning.

"As a parent and School Board member, these scores are alarming and also confirm what we knew to be true- COVID-19 had a wide sweeping impact on student achievement," said School Board President Ethan Ashley. "Now, more than ever, we need to protect our students from both COVID-19 and the real impacts of learning loss, by focusing on safety and keeping healthy students in classrooms. This is the charge and mandate for our community; and, I know we can meet the challenge."

At the District level, NOLA-PS will continue to provide schools with the necessary resources to ensure the health and safety of everyone working and learning in school buildings. These include continuing to supply throughout the school year personal protection equipment (PPE), such as masks and hand sanitizer. NOLA-PS will also provide access to regular COVID testing and vaccinations at mobile sites at participating schools to minimize quarantines and other disruptions to in-person learning. These sites will be open to the entire NOLA-PS community.

"We have learned a great deal throughout this pandemic, and we know that these mitigation efforts – especially vaccinations – are the best tactics at our disposal to keep COVID-19 and the Delta variant at bay," said NOLA-PS medical advisor Dr. Ben Springgate. "We encourage everyone in our schools to get vaccinated and be regularly tested for COVID exposure so that we can continue to track the pandemic and continue to make well-informed, data-driven decisions going forward."

NOLA-PS will also work closely with all schools in its community to reach those students who disengaged from learning last year. These efforts include working with our partners, including the City of New Orleans and the business community, on outreach programs and providing resources to schools and families through the District's School Support team. Knowing the irreplaceable role parents play in students' lives, we are encouraging all families to share with their children the importance of vaccinations, of wearing masks indoors, and of taking all precautions against COVID-19, especially with the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Our community of schools will continue to emphasize the importance of vaccination for all staff and eligible students, 12 years and older. They will also work to protect their students through rigorous enforcement of social distancing, either by keeping students in static groups or keeping them properly separated when that is not possible.

"Our schools led the nation last year in keeping our students safe, reopening our buildings, and keeping them open," Lewis said. "These test results show just how valuable in-person learning is to every child's development, and we must double down on our efforts to protect it this year."

For more information about NOLA-PS and its efforts to keep schools safe, visit NOLA-PS' COVID Care Guidance at 


About NOLA Public Schools: NOLA Public Schools is the public school district for Orleans Parish. It includes the district's administration and elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board. NOLA Public Schools currently oversees 76 public schools and is led by Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.

For more information, visit For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools. 

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