At Wednesday’s meeting of the Evangeline Parish School Board, the board presented their “Closing the Learning Gap” plan, intended to address the lower testing scores from recent years. According to the latest data, Evangeline Parish schools performed better than 40% (28 out of 70) districts in LA, but the board feels that our schools can do much better. They have not received a new district score since 2019 due to the pandemic.
With this new plan, teachers will make weekly data reports and provide at-risk students with direct instruction to help close learning gaps. Students at the basic level will receive targeted instruction to accelerate them into Mastery level. The same approach will be used for students already at Mastery levels, but with enrichment time instead of acceleration. K-2 students, though not tested, will also be assessed to help keep them on grade level.
Additionally, “homework hotlines” will be coming in September to help students with their work and answer question. Targeted support for teachers and teacher quality will also be implemented.
Dr. Chuck Aswell was in attendance to give a follow-up from their last meeting. He says that while he understands the public’s frustrations at the current situation, the board has to follow Gov. Edwards’ mask mandate for ages 5 and older. He clarified that the mandate is 100% legal, since the state of Louisiana has the right to preserve public health and safety.
Temperatures will be taken at schools and, if they are too high, the individual will be tested for COVID-19. If the test comes back positive, the individual will be sent home for a 10-day quarantine along with all household members. As of Wednesday, quarantine is no longer required if contact with COVID-19 is made, but only if an individual is vaccinated. Dr. Aswell remains adamant that the pandemic is not just an individual fight, but something that affects everyone. The number of children on ventilators in ICU is going up rapidly, but the vaccine is here and needs to be utilized not only for our own sakes, but for the future of our children.
Mr. Lazard finished by stating that he is adamant about keeping the students in in the classroom and that the public’s cooperation is appreciated.
The board received an update on “Leader in Me,” a program intended to better not just the schools, but also the community. The program is intended as a “culture change” in how students live, relate to others, and work in their community. It gives each child a job or responsibility within the classroom and forms good habits by preparing them for the future. Instead of reaching individual students, the program allows teachers and mentors to present 100s of students with equal opportunities. Right now, the program is only in 4 schools beginning with elementary, but they plan to bring it to every school and every grade in the future.
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: all school board employees can wear tennis shoes until further notice