2009

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Judy Palmer Appointed To Fill Interim Vacancy
(12-21-2009)

Meeting in special session December 19, the St. Tammany Parish School Board appointed Mrs. Judy Palmer, wife of the late Sorola "Jody" Palmer, to fill the District 7 position left vacant by her husband's untimely death December 11. State law allowed only ten days from the time of Mr. Palmer's death for the School Board to appoint a successor. She will serve until a special election is held next fall.The primary will be held on October 2, with the general election to be held, if necessary, on November 2.

Board Member Beth Heintz said that Mrs. Palmer has attended many meetings of the group and has a good knowledge of Board matters.


Students Return to Classes January 4
(12-18-2009)

Classes for the second semester of the 2009-2010 School Year began January 4.

The Winter-Christmas break began Monday, December 21. Schools were closed for two weeks from Monday, December 21, through Friday, January 1, 2010.


Magnolia Trace Elementary Receives Grant of Six Interactive Whiteboards
(12-18-2009)

In a special presentation from the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children, Magnolia Trace Elementary School received six interactive whiteboards for its first grade classrooms on December 16. Mrs. Jindal, the wife of Governor Bobby Jindal, visited the school in person to meet with teachers and students and demonstrate how the new Promethean Boards worked.

Mrs. Jindal guided the children through several lessons using the new technology. The system projects a computer image onto a screen and allows the manipulation of elements on the screen using a special pen. “Outside the classroom, our children are used to interactive video games and innovative technology,” she said. “We have to bring those highly-engaging techniques into the classroom environment.”

Her foundation has partnered with AT&T to bring the new technology to the state’s classrooms. “Interactive whiteboards are something we are beginning to see transform education across the country,” she told Magnolia Trace educators. “We have the opportunity to make a lasting and positive difference in education.”

Special wireless devices called ActivVoters were given out to the children to enable them to give individual feedback when Mrs. Jindal asked questions. The computer brought up internet websites with specially- prepared lessons on a variety of topics. The children then played an educational form of “Jeopardy” with subjects ranging from money and matter to addition and subtraction with a special bonus round on Louisiana questions.

Mrs. Jindal is aiming to instill a love of science and math into Louisiana children through her school visits, and the Foundation and AT&T are working to install interactive whiteboard systems in over 60 classrooms across Louisiana by the end of December.

 


Covington High Student To Take Part in U.S. Senate Youth Program
(12-16-2009)

Jessica Salley, a Covington High School senior, has been selected one of two delegates to represent the state of Louisiana to the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) next year, an intensive week-long educational experience and scholarship for outstanding high school students who are interested in pursuing careers in public service.

She will travel to Washington, D. C. the week of March 6 – 13, 2010. “It’s something I’ve definitely wanted to do for a long time, and I am really excited,” she said.

The program will put her right in the middle of the government, giving her a chance to meet “a lot of really interesting people,” including a Supreme Court Justice and a variety of Washington “insiders” and public officials. “But I am really looking forward to meeting and working with young people who are interested in politics like I am,” Jessica said.

Salley plans to major in social policy or international relations once she graduates from high school.

In the summer following her freshman year, she took a college class called “Ethics in the International Political Area” and this heightened her interest in politics. This past year she went to Washington, to take part in the American Legion “Girls Nation” program. “We got a pretty good look at what goes on in Washington, but in that program we were mainly meeting with ourselves and learning the legislative process,” she explained.

Principal Deborah McCollum said she is thrilled that Jessica has been awarded this opportunity.

The Senate Youth Program was established in 1962  and is a unique educational experience that provides a foundation of knowledge and encouragement for high school students considering a future of public service on the local, state or national level. The 48th annual program will bring together two student leaders from each state and the District of Columbia. Student delegates will hear major policy addresses by Senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies. In addition, each delegate will also be awarded a $5,000 College Scholarship for undergraduate studies, with encouragement to pursue coursework in history and political science.

The delegate selection process started with teachers and principals nominating qualified students, those who hold student body office or another elected or appointed position in their communities and show academic interest and aptitude in government, history and politics.

 


Bellisario Named Legislator of the Year by Alliance For Good Government
(12-14-2009)

Mary K. Bellisario, School Board Member representing District 15, was named Legislator of the Year by the St. Tammany Chapter of the Alliance for Good Government December 13 at the four-parish regional group’s annual awards banquet in New Orleans.
 
“This particular award represents the hard work of not only St. Tammany Parish school board members and their Superintendent, but a growing network of public school board members and superintendents from parishes all over Louisiana, working together for real reforms in public education,” Mrs. Bellisario said. The Alliance recognized her and three other legislators from the metropolitan New Orleans area.

“It was a surprise to me,” she said of the honor. “I was pleased that the Alliance acknowledged that School Board members are considered legislators by state law. Since September, I have been networking with other School Board members here and in 64 other parishes to determine which problems are of greatest concern to us and how state legislation can address them.”This past summer, Mrs. Bellisario worked with a group comprised of School Board members and Superintendents statewide called “Louisiana Public Schools - Solutions That Work.” 

The group requested input from all other parishes in Louisiana as to what types of education reforms would help their districts perform at a higher level. The group started meeting informally in September, working those ideas into proposals. “We have even set up a website so that School Board members in Louisiana can input their thoughts and make us aware of how we can help,” she stated. “We want to focus on ideas that will work, and bring those to the attention of our state legislators.”The Louisiana School Boards Association has adopted several of the group’s ideas for legislative efforts to be announced at the LSBA state convention in March. State legislators interested in authoring bills to incorporate these proposals may do so in the upcoming legislative session.Mrs. Bellisario first joined the St. Tammany School Board in January of 1995 after becoming active in several PTA groups and the Military Road Alliance 25 years ago. She continues to serve on the boards of several PTA’s. Superintendent Gayle Sloan congratulated her on the recognition, saying “It is a wonderful honor to have a School Board Member recognized for strong leadership and governance.”

The Alliance for Good Government is a nonpartisan organization that has been recognizing outstanding service by elected officials in the metropolitan New Orleans area for the past 42 years.

 


School Board Member Sorola Jody Palmer Dies
(12-12-2009)

Sorola “Jody” Palmer, a member of the St. Tammany Parish School Board since January of 2003, died unexpectedly on Friday, December 11.  He was 54 years of age and represented District 7, the Lacombe area.

"Our School System is like a family, and when we lose a member, it deeply saddens all of us," said School Board President John Lamarque.

Palmer had served as Executive Director of Community Action Agency for St. Tammany Parish and was also the District 89B Representative on the Louisiana Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC), which is the governing body of the Louisiana Democratic Party.

He was the husband of Judy Palmer, the father of Sorola Palmer Jr. and Brian Palmer, and the brother of Elsie Burkhalter of Slidell, Valerie Thomas of Oklahoma, Brenda Palmer of Lacombe and the late Janice Palmer.

 


Swine Flu Shots Given At Northshore High School
(12-11-2009)

Students and employees of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System received Swine Flu shots and nasal mist vaccinations on Saturday, December 12, at Northshore High School in Slidell, the second in a series of five vaccination programs held on Saturdays this month and next. A total of 634 vaccinations were given, in spite of rainy weather all day.

The School System is providing this service free of charge as a convenience for parents who choose to have their children vaccinated. Parents may wish to review information available about H1N1 and the vaccine before deciding whether to participate in this program.

The vaccinations will be available again from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  on Saturday, January 9, at Covington High School, on January 16 at Fontainebleau High School, and on January 23 at Pearl River High School.

To receive the vaccinations, students and employees may visit any location most convenient to them, regardless of the school they attend. Students receiving the shots need to be accompanied by their parents, and a completed consent form for the vaccination will be required. A PDF file of the consent form is available for download at the following link: Consent Form . (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view PDF Files.)

Employees will need to show their School System ID’s to be vaccinated.

The vaccination campaign was put together in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health, and the Louisiana Department of Education.

For more information about the flu vaccine, click on the following links:
Flu Shot Information Sheet (PDF File)
Flu Nasal Mist Information Sheet (PDF File)

 


School Board Elects Officers For 2010
(12-09-2009)

At the December meeting held Thursday, the St. Tammany Parish Public School Board elected officers for 2010, retaining John Lamarque as president and Jack Loup as vice-president.

Don Villere was chosen as chairman for the Business Affairs / Administrative Committee, and Beth Heintz was elected as chairman for the Human Resources / Education Committee.

The terms of Board officers begin January 1 each year.

Also at the December meeting, the Board and Superintendent Gayle Sloan voiced their appreciation for the 38.5 years of service to the School System by Senior Administrative Supervisor Kevin Marse, who is retiring this year.

Patricia H. Farris was hired as Supervisor of School Food Services. She will take on the duties of current Supervisor Sylvia Dunn when she retires at the end of the school year.

 


Public Meeting Held on 'Race to the Top' Funding Opportunity
(12-08-2009)

A public information meeting on federal “Race to the Top” funding and Louisiana’s planned application provisions was held December 9 in the Board Meeting Room at the C. J. Schoen Administrative Complex in Covington.

Jacob Landry and Chris Meyer of the Louisiana Department of Education  presented background information and  features of the federal program.

Additional public information meetings will be held by the State Department of Education in different parts of the state over the next week.

Race to the Top (R2T) is a highly competitive federal competition that will award $4.35 billion to a select group of states that have demonstrated their capacity and willingness to implement major reforms in their school systems. The funding is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

 


Some Events Rescheduled
(12-07-2009)

Events cancelled Tuesday due to weather-related concerns included the following:
        Clearwood Junior High: Choir and Band Christmas Concert has been re-scheduled for Thursday, December 10, at 7 p.m. 
        Northshore High School: Boys’ varsity and jv soccer games cancelled  with the junior varsity rescheduled for Thursday. 
        Northshore High School: The girls’ soccer game against SSA was rescheduled for Thursday.

 


First Semester Ends Friday, December 18
(12-05-2009)

The first semester of the 2009-2010 School Year comes to an end on Friday, December 18, following a week of exams for students in the upper grade levels.

Students will report to school in the morning on December 18 for one-half day only. The rest of the day teachers are given time for record-keeping responsibilities.

The Winter-Christmas break begins the following Monday, December 21. Schools will be closed for two weeks from Monday, December 21, through Friday, January 1, 2010. Classes resume on Monday, January 4.

School Board support offices will be open Monday and Tuesday, December 21 and 22, but will close Wednesday through Friday, December 23, 24, and 25.  Offices will re-open on Monday, December 28, and remain open on Tuesday, December 29, but will close for New Year’s Holidays on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, December 30 and 31, and January 1, 2010. Offices re-open on Monday, January 4.



School System Offers Students and Employees Free Flu Shots
(12-02-2009)

Flu shots and nasal mist vaccinations for H1N1 Flu for students and employees of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System began Saturday, December 5. They will again be available  from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 12 at Northshore High School, on January 9 at Covington High School, on January 16 at Fontainebleau High School, and on January 23 at Pearl River High School.

To receive the vaccinations, students and employees may visit any location most convenient to them, regardless of the school they attend. The vaccination campaign, free of charge to students and employees, was put together in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Public Health. 

Students receiving the shots need to be accompanied by their parents, and a completed consent form for the vaccination will be required. A PDF file of the consent form is available for download at the following link: Consent Form . (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view PDF Files.)

Employees will need to show their School System ID’s to be vaccinated.

Local health officials recommend that children under nine years of age taking part in this program be vaccinated in December (December 12) and then get a second booster shot 28 days later in January.

The School System is providing this service as a convenience for parents who choose to have their children vaccinated. Parents may wish to review information available about H1N1 and the vaccine before deciding whether to participate in this program.

The School System is working with the Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health, and the Louisiana Department of Education in the effort.

For more information about the flu vaccine, click on the following links: 


Flu Shot Information Sheet (PDF File)
Flu Nasal Mist Information Sheet (PDF File)


Oklahoma Educators Visit St. Tammany
(11-25-2009)

Nine teachers and a principal from McKinley Elementary School in Enid, Oklahoma, toured schools in St. Tammany Parish in mid-November as part of a professional development visit arranged by a former employee of the School System. The goal of the trip was to share ideas involving technology, teaching techniques, and other topics of mutual interest.

The Oklahoma educators visited the Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville, several elementary and middle schools, the Central Office, and Jefferson East. They met with their educational counterparts and discussed Title I programs and services, behavior policies, reading and math instruction, developmental language curriculums, and classroom organization ideas.

Denise Blume, the former St. Tammany Parish School System curriculum specialist who now lives in Oklahoma, was part of the group that included an Early Childhood Education Coordinator, teachers from Pre-K through fifth grade, a music teacher, and a media center librarian.

During their two-day visit, the Oklahoma group also met with several St. Tammany administrators, including Superintendent Gayle Sloan, Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Arabie, Professional Development Coordinator Dr. Holly Broom, and Elementary Supervisor Francine Wood.

Ms Blume was involved at the “Share Fair” at Mandeville Middle School when she worked here, and the idea of sharing instructional ideas with her Oklahoma colleagues helped motivate the visit back to St. Tammany. While here, they also sampled crawfish, grits and other regional culinary favorites.

 


Robin Mullett Sworn Into Office For School Board District 9 Seat
(11-17-2009)

Robin Mullett took her seat on the St. Tammany Parish School Board November 12 after she was sworn into office by Board Attorney David Pittman. She will represent District 9 in the Slidell area after having been elected October 17.

The post became vacant when former Board Member Carmen Johnson resigned in January due to a change in employment. Michael J. Gambrell was appointed as interim Board Member for District Nine in February.
 
A graduate of Salmen High School, Ms. Mullett has lived in Slidell since 1969. She has three children and has been active for many years as a PTA officer and volunteer. She has worked as a paraprofessional in Special Education in St. Tammany Parish Public Schools and also served as a TAP Tutor.

 


School Board Hosts Veterans Program
(11-16-2009)

The second annual Veterans Recognition Program was held November 12 just prior to the monthly School Board meeting and the day after Veterans Day. The atrium was filled with guests as student musicians played patriotic selections as well as original compositions. Trey Folse, Deputy Superintendent, emceed the special event.

To begin the program, the Marine Corps Junior ROTC from Mandeville High School presented the colors, with a student from Tchefuncte Middle School leading the Pledge of Allegiance and a student from Northshore High School singing the National Anthem. Talented Music Students from Northshore High sang “God Bless America” while photos of the flag flying over Preservation Plaza were projected in the background.

The Armed Forces Salute featured the Fontainebleau Junior High School 8th grade music students playing the theme songs from each of the four branches of the armed services. Members of those branches stood in the audience while their theme was being performed.

The program included John Lamarque, School Board President, reading a special resolution honoring veterans, those visiting and also those who work for the School System.

To view a high resolution copy of the attached photograph, click here.

To view a high resolution copy of last year's Veterans Day program group, click here.


 


Teaching Academies Launch Education Careers
(11-12-2009)

The second annual Teaching Academies Conference took place at the Instructional Technology Center recently, bringing together 79 junior and senior students from several high schools for a look at career opportunities in education. They were led by teachers who conduct the Teaching Academies at their individual high schools.

Deborah Tonguis of Mandeville High, the 2009 Louisiana High School Teacher of the Year, was guest speaker for the event and a session leader.

The St. Tammany Parish Public School System offered the conference to familiarize students with the techniques and technologies associated with teaching in the classroom. The conference is a parishwide event that brings the students together once a year, but the teaching academies themselves are a daily class that follows the State Department of Education’s STAR curriculum.

The STAR Program stands for “Students Teaching and Reaching,” and it gives future educators a headstart on their careers by offering college credits in education while they are still enrolled in high school. Juniors at the conference were enrolled in STAR I  courses and seniors coming back for their second conference were in STAR II level courses. Classwork in the academies includes class observation and tutoring.

Superintendent Gayle Sloan welcomed those attending and expressed her appreciation for their taking part in the important program.

Human Resources Coordinator Roxanne Lagarde gave the students an overview of the event and then sent them to three different sessions relevant to the subject of teaching.

“The teaching academies also help in our employee recruiting effort by the School System,” she stated, “since we are always looking to hire good teachers when they graduate from college. If we can get them back to work in St. Tammany, that would be wonderful.”

Julie Matte, Supervisor of Technology, said that the conference was an important event for the Instructional Technology Center, since it gave prospective educators a first hand look at the technology they would be using in the classroom. “We need to mirror the technology tools they will find working in the schools,” Mrs. Matte said. “Holding the event here gives them a taste of what they will be integrating into their classroom lessons when they become teachers.”

The students are shown the many free technology tools available from the Internet so they may enhance their teaching techniques at little or no cost. They also receive packets of information about student teaching, a list of reasons why they should consider a career in education, and federal student aid information about teaching grants for educators interested in serving low-income community schools.

 


Alert Communications System Notifies Parents in Emergency Situations
(11-09-2009)

The new instant alert notification system informed thousands of parents and employees about the early school closures due to Hurricane Ida. The alert notifications service offers instant communications through text messaging, e-mail, or voice call alerts for any emergency situations which may develop at a school or Systemwide.

“In times such as this, the alert notification system proves to be one of the best and most effective ways to communicate to parents. We encourage all parents to sign up for this free service,” said Superintendent Gayle Sloan. “We continue to post emergency bulletins on our Website, Channel 13, and local news stations, but when school closings are announced, the text messaging and phone alerts are faster and reach people wherever they are,” she stated. 

Parents and employees may register for the service by going to the Alert Notification Log In Page, and clicking on the sign up link.

Registering for the service sends emergency information parents and employees special alerts to the phone numbers and other means of communications they choose, whether it is school-specific alerts or news about the entire district. It is used only in emergency situations or unscheduled school closings.

There is also You Tube video available for viewing that explains how the alert notifications service works.

 


Hurricane Ida Closes School Early
(11-08-2009)

St. Tammany Parish Public Schools closed three hours earlier than normal dismissal times, Monday, November 9, due to possible problems from Hurricane Ida.  After care programs and night time events were not held.

 


Student Vaccination Program For H1N1 Flu Being Finalized
(11-06-2009)

Students of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System will soon be offered swine flu vaccinations free of charge, in a project being held in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH).

In a report to the School Board this past week, Supervisor Cathy Aime and Dr. Parham Jaberi, medical director for Region 9, DHH Office of Public Health, explained that arrangements were being finalized to offer the H1N1 vaccine to students. The effort will focus upon children nine years of age and younger, a group at-risk for serious consequences from the Swine Flu. That age group will require two doses 28 days apart, and the vaccination campaign is being designed to provide that schedule.

Vaccinations will also be given to school children of other ages, as well as to School System employees.

Letters will be sent out to parents with more details about the program as they become available. The vaccination campaign will take place on Saturdays at several schools on both sides of the parish. Parents may bring their children to the most convenient site, and employees will be able to get the shots by showing their ID cards.

Dr. Jaberi noted that the Department of Public Health held a mass vaccination exercise a couple of years ago, and the St. Tammany program against Swine Flu will put into practice the lessons learned from that exercise. He thanked the School Board for being one of the first School Systems in the state to conduct such a campaign and leading the way for other parishes to follow.

“Children often catch the flu from other children at their schools, then they go home and give it to their family members. By vaccinating the children and making them immune to the virus, it helps cut down the spread of the flu through the entire community,” he explained.

Mrs. Aime said that school children were learning how to prevent colds and flu by washing their hands repeatedly during the day, sneezing into their elbows, and placing used tissues into the trash. Students who exhibit flu-like symptoms at the beginning of the day are screened and sent home if necessary to prevent the spread of disease. Teachers and janitorial staff are continuing extra measures to combat the spread of colds and flu.

Dr. Jaberi spoke to the School Board in the Spring when concerns over the Swine Flu first arose. Over the past several months, he has maintained a close working relationship with School health officials to monitor H1N1 in the schools.

 


College Career Fair Attracts Thousands
(10-27-2009)

Four thousand students seeking information about college and careers converged upon the annual College and Career Path Fair held recently by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System at Pelican Park in Mandeville.

Participants were able to talk with representatives from more than 125 universities, apprenticeship programs, community and technical colleges, military academies, and lending institutions.

“The Castine Center was packed from start to finish,” said Dr. Regina Sanford, Secondary Supervisor, in a report to the School Board this month. “It was a tremendous success, giving students from throughout the parish the opportunity to meet with representatives from scores of colleges, vo-tech schools, and community service agencies.”

The aim was to provide students with the latest information to make career or college decisions. This year’s turnout brought a substantial increase in participants over last year’s event, Dr. Sanford said.

Hosted by the School System’s College Counseling Center, the program was assisted by numerous volunteers from non-profit organizations. Two sororities provided volunteers to help with registration, four Junior ROTC Units helped with unloading tables and display booths from vehicles, and all high schools sent guidance counselors and graduation coaches to assist in manning the information booths.

School bus drivers helped by bringing busloads of students to the event from Pearl River High School and Slidell High School.

Several non-profit agencies in attendance gave students a chance to enhance their college applications by learning about volunteering opportunities in the area so they could add community service hours to their resumes.

A teacher recruitment booth manned by Dorable Dangerfield with Human Resources and several school principals distributed information on careers in education. Also in attendance were representatives from the Project Graduation programs on both the east and west sides of St. Tammany Parish.

Dr. Sanford gave much credit for the success of the event to the School System’s College Counseling Center, staffed by Annette O’Regan and Christine Woodard. “Our vision to employ college counselors has proven to be quite a dividend for our students,” she said. The center also hosted a junior high college and career fair this year.

After the fair event, feedback was received from college recruiters and the non-profit organizations to serve as the key for strategic planning for next year’s fair.
All students in Grades 9-12 in public, private, or home-school programs were invited, along with their families, to attend the College and Career Fair at no charge.

The list of participants included Agnes Scott College, Aveda Institute, Baton Rouge Community College, Baylor University, Belhaven College, Belmont Abbey College, Belmont University, Birmingham-Southern College, Capital One Bank, Centenary College, Christian Brothers University, Colgate University, Cornell College, Court Reporting Institute of LA, Delgado Community College, Delta College- Covington, Delta State University, Dillard University, Emory University, Emory College, Oxford College, Fordham University, Grambling State University, Gulf Coast Bank & Trust, Hancock Bank, Harvard University, Howard University, Huntington Learning Center, and ITT Technical Institute.

Also in attendance were representatives from Johnson & Wales University, Judson College, Kaplan, Louisiana Army National Guard, LA School for Math, Science, and the Arts, LA.Barber Apprenticeship- UFCW Local 496, Louisiana College, Louisiana Education Loan Authority, Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (TOPS), Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, Louisiana Scholars' College, Louisiana State University - Alexandria, Louisiana State University, Louisiana State University ROTC, Louisiana Tech University, Louisiana Technical College, Louisiana Technical College Sullivan, Loyola University of New Orleans, LSU Health Sciences Center, School of Allied Health, Mark Anthony Institute, and McNeese State University.

Also present were MedVance Institute of Baton Rouge, Mercer University, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Mississippi State University, National EMS Academy, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Nicholls State University, Northshore District Nurses Association, Northwestern State University of LA, Nunez Community College, Oglethorpe University, Ohio State University, Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Our Lady of the Lake College, Princeton Review, Purdue University, Reed College, Rollins College, Samford University, Santa Clara University, Savannah College of Art & Design, Sewanee: The University of the South, Southeastern Louisiana University, Southern Methodist University, Southern University - Baton Rouge, St. Tammany Fire District 4, The Catholic University of America, Tulane Air Force ROTC, Tulane Army ROTC, Tulane University, Tulane University School of Continuing Studies,United States Air Force Academy, and United States Air Force Reserve.

Representatives were also on hand from the United States Army, United States Coast Guard Academy, United States Coast Guard Recruiting, United States Marine Corps, United States Military Academy at West Point, United States Navy, University of Alabama, University of Georgia, University of Louisiana - Lafayette, University of Louisiana - Monroe, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), University of Mobile,University of New Orleans, University of Notre Dame, University of Richmond, University of South Alabama, University of Southern Mississippi, University of St. Thomas - Texas, University of Texas Austin, Vanderbilt University, Vanguard College of Cosmetology, Washington & Lee University, Washington University in St. Louis, William Carey University, Wofford College, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

 


Three Schools Honored by “Making the Grade” Project
(10-26-2009)

Omni Bank recently announced seven winning nominations in this year’s “Making the Grade” program, a nationally recognized initiative that highlights successful educational projects in schools in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Tammany and St. John the Baptist parishes. Among the winners chosen from 200 entries were Pontchartrain Elementary School, Covington High School, and the a3 Virtual Academy.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, a partner in the OMNI Bank program, gathered with bank officials in honoring the winners at a ceremony October 26. Each winner received a $2,000 check from the Brees Dream Foundation, along with an award from OMNI.

Pontchartrain Elementary School in Mandeville was nominated for its KidSense Playground, a play area for special-needs students. A first-of-its-kind at any public school, the playground helps over-stimulated children work out their energy, regain their focus and work smarter back in the classroom. The playground accommodates children of all abilities, with wheelchair pathways and Braille-patterned mosaics.

Covington High School’s Option 3 program also gained “Making the Grade” recognition. Students who struggle with academics at Covington High have an option that helps them stay in school, enrolling them in vocational classes that keep them working toward graduation. Option 3 students can graduate with a standard high school diploma, a GED or a certificate in a career field, giving them a wider range of choices for life after high school. 

The a3 Virtual Academy, a System-wide program was honored for its internet-based teaching. By offering on-line classes, the virtual school helps teens enhance their educational efforts.  Students who struggle with a course can re-take it over the Internet, while ambitious students can take extra classes.

“Improving the quality of education is one of our most important responsibilities,” Bank President Kyle Waters said. “Where there is excellent performance in our schools, we want celebrate it. Where there are opportunities to put creative ideas to work, we want to be part of the process. That’s why we’re proud to support the ‘Making the Grade’ initiative.”

The 2008-2009 school year was the third consecutive school year in which OMNI BANK and Brees are co-sponsors. Begun in the late 1980s, the program has earned national recognition for encouraging parental involvement, motivating businesses to become involved in education, and inspiring teacher and student imagination.

 


Red Ribbon Week Activities Held
(10-23-2009)

At its October meeting, the School Board passed a resolution declaring October 26-30, 2009, to be “Red Ribbon Week,” encouraging schools to take part in the nationally-recognized event presenting a unified and visible commitment towards creating a Drug Free America.

The theme for Red Ribbon Week this year was “Be Smart, Be Safe, Be You.”

Cheryl Arabie, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, told the School Board that Red Ribbon Week is an ideal way for the schools to show the community their stand against drug abuse. “During Red Ribbon Week each school holds exciting activities and programs,” Mrs. Arabie stated. “The week gives our students an opportunity to show their personal commitment to a drug-free lifestyle through the symbol of the Red Ribbon.”

Throughout the parish, students and staff wore Red Ribbons during the week to show their support of the event.

Kindergarten and first grade students at Marigny Elementary School in Mandeville were delighted when on the second day of Red Ribbon Week, a Drug Enforcement Agency helicopter landed at their campus. The agency takes part in a number of Red Ribbon Week activities at St. Tammany Parish schools. Each class was able to take a close up look at the Bell 407 helicopter and have their photograph taken in front of it.

At Covington Elementary School, the annual Just Say No Club parade and rally took place Friday morning with a large turnout from several schools and several law enforcement agencies. It was largest group ever assembled for one of the Red Ribbon Week events, said Laurie Caserta of Covington Elementary.Two helicopters landed on Pitcher Junior High Field, one from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and the other from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. David Graham from Customs spoke to students in attendance from Covington Elementary, Lyon Elementary, Pine View Middle School and St. Peter’s School, telling them the importance of obeying the rules, having integrity and working hard in school. In addition, parked around the football field were over a dozen vehicles used in drug law enforcement from the Sheriff’s Office, Covington Police Department, ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), National Guard, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, including boats, armored humvees, and a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) van.  Special displays included K-9 units and the Sheriff’s Office robot used for the remote handling of hazardous materials.The School Board resolution also expressed gratitude to the community volunteer organization Amplified Resources for its involvement in providing leadership in teaching young people about the life altering consequences associated with drugs and alcohol. The group, formerly known as PRIDE, helps raise awareness of the problem and teach drug abuse education classes to parents and students.

Red Ribbon Week was established in 1988 to honor the memory of a drug enforcement agent who was killed in the line of duty.

 


Robin Mullett Elected To 9th District School Board Seat
(10-21-2009)

In a special election held October 17 voters of School Board District Nine chose Robin Mullett, a longtime PTA member, to fill the vacancy left by Carmen Johnson when she resigned the position in January due to a change in employment.
 
Ms. Mullett is expected to be sworn into office within 30 days.
 
“I am very excited to be elected to serve on our parish School Board and work with all the people who provide the education for our students,” Ms. Mullett said. “It is a continuation of my work in a number of different areas of our school system.”
 
She stated that her personal goal is to be the voice for students and parents of District Nine and the community. 
 
A graduate of Salmen High School, Ms. Mullett has lived in Slidell since 1969. She has three children and has been active for many years as a PTA officer and volunteer. She has worked as a paraprofessional in Special Education in St. Tammany Parish Public Schools and also served as a TAP Tutor.
 
Her involvements include working with the School SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) recertification committee, the “Teen Focus on Safe Driving” program and as a member of several Slidell High School parent committees.
           
In addition, she was Director of the Slidell/Pearl River Project Graduation 2009 and is a Life member for the Junior Auxiliary of Slidell, chapter of National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, volunteering for several Junior Auxiliary projects in St. Tammany Parish elementary, junior high and high schools during her five years as an active member.

Michael J. Gambrell was appointed as interim Board Member for District Nine in February and has been serving over the past several months. He chose not to run for the position in last Saturday’s election.

 


Bank at School Program Launched at Brock and Alton Elementary Schools
(10-19-2009)

Two Slidell elementary schools have opened bank branches for students to give them first hand experience in opening and managing savings accounts. The Bank at School project is popular at several St. Tammany Parish public schools, providing real life skills in handling their finances and teaching the importance of saving money.

Brock Elementary School offered a Bank at School prior to Hurricane Katrina, and recently began operating its bank program again.  Alton Elementary School held its Grand Opening of its own banking program recently.  Together the schools had a total of approximately 60 students who banked a little over $500 on the first day of in-school banking, according to Shirrelle Gordon-Jefferson, liaison for the program.

Bank manager Holly Hooker with Whitney Bank in Old Town Slidell partnered with Brock Elementary and Alton Elementary Schools to provide the guidance for the student bank branches. The aim of the program is to help students learn the opportunities and responsibilities of saving money, with fifth grade students providing the manpower for the “bank” which offers a counter and teller windows at which other students conduct their financial transactions.

 


Schools Observe School Bus Safety Week
(10-18-2009)

Parents, teachers and students kept school bus safety a top priority by observing the week of October 19 through October 23 as “National School Bus Safety Week.”

The theme of this year’s week was “Avoid Harm, Obey the Stop Arm,” a reference to traffic laws motorists must follow when a school bus stops to load or unload passengers. Cars driving around stopped school buses have resulted in many tragedies throughout the nation.

Additional efforts to insure the safety of bus passengers includes training drivers to be always aware of dangerous situations around bus stops, as well as dealing with distractions caused by students misbehaving on the bus.

In St. Tammany Parish public schools, the second week in February is set aside to show special appreciation for school bus owner/operators and bus attendants for their contributions and service.

In the 2008-2009 school year, approximately 25,393 St. Tammany students were transported by public school buses daily. The average daily distance covered by the 368 school buses totalled 28,782 miles.

 


Groundbreaking Ceremonies Held For Lancaster Elementary
(10-16-2009)

School System officials and members of the Joseph B. Lancaster family took part in ceremonies to break ground for the new Lancaster Elementary west of Madisonville Friday morning, October 16. The new school, located between Pine Creek Drive and Perrilloux Road off Hwy. 22, will bring 47 additional classrooms to the fast growing southwest St. Tammany area.

Lancaster was the first officially-recorded superintendent of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System and was known for his vision of an educational system designed to meet the needs of a growing area. A number of Lancaster ancestors, some from out-of-state, attended the groundbreaking.

Gasaway-Gasaway-Bankston of Hammond is serving as architect for the project, with Donahue-Favret Contractors building the $18.3 million facility. The total square footage of the two-story building will be 104,814. The new school’s grade configuration will be grades two through five.

The event took place two weeks after the groundbreaking ceremonies for a new elementary school in the Slidell area, the Henry Mayfield Elementary off U.S. 190 near Tammany Trace.

The School Board agreed last year to name the new Madisonville area elementary school in honor of Lancaster after Superintendent Gayle Sloan recommended him for the honor. She recounted his many contributions to the community as lawyer, district attorney, judge, and state representative. “He was a very high-achieving individual,” she said.  He was named Superintendent by the first School Board in September of 1900, after it became an organized set of schools with parishwide administrative supervision and community governance.

Five descendants of Lancaster attended last year’s School Board meeting to name the school after their ancestor, including Lancaster's grandson, Judge Peter Garcia of the 22nd Judicial District. “Lancaster was a grandson of General David Bannister Morgan, who fought in the war of 1812 with Andrew Jackson and who is buried in Madisonville. So it is appropriate to name a Madisonville area school after him, since he has very strong connections to the Madisonville community,” Judge Garcia said.

Lancaster served as Superintendent of Schools until September, 1904, and died in 1916 in Franklinton.

For a photo slide show of the groundbreaking event,click here. (Windows Media Player required to show WMV file)

 


Teen Focus on Safe Driving Held
(10-15-2009)
Scores of students from public and private high schools throughout St. Tammany Parish took part in the fifth “Teen Focus on Safe Driving” held at the Castine Center in Pelican Park October 14, 2009. Participants heard presentations from a variety of speakers, including the parents of Ashlee Stokes, a Northshore High School student injured in a tragic accident on May 25, 2008, that left her in a wheelchair.

Students watched a powerful video produced by Channel 13 that told Ashlee’s story and how she is undergoing extensive therapy, but still takes part in school activities. Ashlee then joined with her classmates from Northshore High in front of the Teen Focus stage for special recognition.

In the main presentation, David Ernest spoke to the group about the consequences of drinking and driving. Also, a "Jaws of Life" demonstration was given in the parking lot by Fire Districts 1 and 4, showing participants how first responders work to save the lives of people trapped in wrecked automobiles.

Students then took part in lively discussion groups, coming up with a list of activities they could sponsor back at their own high schools to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking while driving, text messaging behind the wheel, and riding in a car without buckling seat belts.  The result is a “plan of action” for each high school which has, over the years, proven effective in reducing teen injuries and fatalities. Follow up activities next Spring will help re-inforce the lessons discussed at the Teen Focus event.

A large number of exhibits were on display by area community service organizations. One of the favorite exhibits was one where students could wear goggles that simulated the disorientation caused by drinking alcoholic beverages.

Exhibitors taking part in this year's event included Acadian Ambulance, Amplify Resources, Booze ‘N Cruise, You Lose!, Buckle Up Stencil Project, DriveZebra.com, Lakeview Regional Medical Center, the Louisiana Automobile Theft & Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Louisiana State Troopers, the Mandeville High SADD Chapter, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Safety Council, Operation Drive Smart, Precision Driving Academy, Project Graduation, St. Tammany Fire District No. (Slidell) & Fire District No.  (Mandeville) –  Jaws of Life, St. Tammany Parish Hospital Parenting Center, and the Youth Service Bureau of St. Tammany.

The first Teen Focus forum was held in November, 2004, in response to several tragic vehicle accidents in which teenagers from public and private schools were severely injured or killed. School System organizers brought together a wide range of knowledgeable community representatives to present their case in the first forum of its kind. The previous four teen forums have met tremendous success, with approximately 300 students from 14 high schools in attendance at each forum.

 


Monteleone Junior High Teacher Named Finalist For Math/Science Award
(10-13-2009)

Kathryn J. McInnis, the technology helping teacher at Monteleone Junior High School, has been named one of two finalists for Louisiana’s 2009 Presidential Awardee for Secondary Mathematics.

She was recognized for the honor and presented a certificate at the October School Board meeting by Cheryl Arabie, Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum and Instruction.  She is a finalist with one other teacher from Episcopal High in Baton Rouge.  The winner will be announced next year. 

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program was established by the White House in 1983. The program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and identifies outstanding mathematics and science teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade in each state.

Award recipients serve as models for their colleagues and are recognized as leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education, Mrs. Arabie said.

McInnis graduated from Louisiana Tech in 1995. She taught in Jefferson Parish and St. Charles Parish before coming to St. Tammany Parish public schools in 2003 as a mathematics teacher at Fontainebleau Junior High School. She joined the Monteleone Junior High staff in 2005, and in 2008, she completed her masters degree in education technology from Southeastern Louisiana University.



Schools Celebrate National School Lunch Week
(10-09-2009)

In observance of National School Lunch Week, St. Tammany public school cafeterias are hosting special programs and decorations along with serving nutritious meals to students and visitors October 12 - 16. The theme of the week this year is “All Star School Lunch.”

The School Board passed a resolution October 8 recognizing the event and the School System’s award-winning Food Service Program.  Special appreciation was given to the many Student Nutrition Advisory Councils, student groups who help food service personnel plan and present attractive and nutritious menus throughout the year.

School Board members and Central Office administrators traditionally visit the schools during National School Lunch Week to meet with the students and cafeteria employees, joining many parents who also visit the schools during the event.

The Food Service staff serves over 34,000 meals daily, 8,823 of those being breakfast and the remaining 25,116 being lunches.

In announcing National School Food Service week, Deputy Superintendent Trey Folse commended Sylvia Dunn, Supervisor of the Food Service Department, her cafeteria managers, and lunchroom technicians.

For photos of one school's cafeteria decorating theme for the week, click here.


School Board Adopts Electronic Communications Policy
(10-08-2009)

The School Board recently adopted a new policy which sets up procedures by which employees keep track of communications with students via electronic means. The policy outlines the reporting responsibilities called for by the new law, Act 214, that requires teachers and administrators keep a log of communications with students at their school when using electronic means such as cell phones, text messaging or other electronic media. The policy aims to keep track of electronic communications so that there is no misunderstanding as to the nature of the contact. The policy requires that such communications be of an educational nature.The new policy is available for viewing by clicking here. (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view PDF File). A committee headed by Supervisor Cathy Aime put together the proposed version of the policy over the summer. Several parents, administrators, teachers, supervisors, and the Board’s legal counsel served on the group who worked out the details.

When the new procedures are implemented, letters will be sent to parents and employees notifying them of the new reporting requirements.


Teen Focus on Safe Driving Held
(10-01-2009)

The fifth “Teen Focus on Safe Driving” was held at the Castine Center in Pelican Park east of Mandeville, October 14, 2009, presenting students from throughout St. Tammany Parish a wide variety of information on the importance of driving safely.

The theme this year was "The Amazing Race To Save Teen Drivers."In addition to several presentations on stage and discussion groups, a "Jaws of Life" demonstration was given in the parking lot, showing participants how first responders work to save the lives of people trapped in wrecked automobiles.

The first Teen Focus forum was held in November, 2004, in response to several tragic vehicle accidents in which teenagers from public and private schools were severely injured or killed. School System organizers brought together a wide range of knowledgeable community representatives to present their case in the first forum of its kind.“The safety of our youth is a top priority not only in our schools, but throughout the community,” said Superintendent Gayle Sloan. “We are committed to finding ways as a community to help prevent these deaths and injuries among our teens.”

The previous four teen forums have met tremendous success, with approximately 300 students from 14 high schools in attendance at each forum. They bring the message home to their high schools and conduct several follow up programs on their own campuses. Speakers at previous forums have included emergency room doctors, insurance experts, law enforcement officers, and beauty pageant winners telling their own stories of close encounters with tragedy on the roads.Participants at the forums learn vital facts about the issues surrounding teen driving, hear first hand experiences from accident victims, doctors and paramedics, and also visit a number of display booths staffed by volunteers from various community organizations.

Exhibitors taking part in this year's event included Acadian Ambulance, Amplify Resources, Booze ‘N Cruise, You Lose!, Buckle Up Stencil Project, DriveZebra.com, Lakeview Regional Medical Center, the Louisiana Automobile Theft & Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Louisiana State Troopers, the Mandeville High SADD Chapter, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Safety Council, Operation Drive Smart, Precision Driving Academy, Project Graduation, St. Tammany Fire District No. (Slidell) & Fire District No.  (Mandeville) –  Jaws of Life, St. Tammany Parish Hospital Parenting Center, and the Youth Service Bureau of St. Tammany.

After the presentations, the teams brainstorm to come up with ideas on how to share their experience with their classmates who did not attend. The result is a “plan of action” for each high school which has, over the years, proven effective in reducing teen injuries and fatalities.


Recycling Theme Shines At School Fair Booths
(10-01-2009)

School students went to the Parish Fair recently to celebrate 100 years of a “Clean and Green St. Tammany,” showcasing ongoing programs to recycle and reuse materials and become better aware of their environment.

Almost every public school participated in the setting up of educational booths at the fairgrounds, a tradition that goes back many years. Fairgoers were treated to exhibits in several areas, including horticulture, livestock, 4-H Clubs, and arts and crafts. The Parish Fair observed its 100th anniversary in 2009.

Each year, the educational booths illustrate and explain the various ways in which students learn about their community, including field trips, research projects, community service projects, and essay assignments. Exhibit themes in the past few years have ranged from recording historical facts about their schools to the responsibility of citizens to vote in elections. This year’s theme involved St. Tammany’s heritage of environmental concern, showing how going “green” has been a local objective for decades.

The booths are judged in four grade level categories, and among the first place winners in each category an individual “Grand Prize” winner is designated. This year’s Grand Prize winners were Mandeville Elementary in the Elementary Category; Sixth Ward Elementary in the Middle Grades Category; St. Tammany Junior High in the Junior High Grade Category; and Mandeville High in the High School Grades Category. Covington Pathways was named the Grand Prize winner in the Other Category competition.


School System Collects Donations For Food Bank
(10-01-2009)

Employees with the St. Tammany Parish Public School System conduct several community service projects throughout the year, particularly around the December holiday season. These efforts include food collection drives, clothing drives, and regular United Way contributions.

This year, a shortage of supplies at the Covington Food Bank prompted Central Office staff members to hold a special food drive in September, gathering donations of red beans and rice and cornbread mix from throughout the various School System support offices.

In addition, individual schools are active in a variety of charitable projects throughout the School Year to help specific local, regional, and national causes. 


Schools To Close October 2 For Parish Fair Holiday
(09-29-2009)

In keeping with a tradition nearly 100 years old, the St. Tammany Parish Public Schools System will close on the second day of the Parish Fair, Friday, October 2. The parish fair is observing its 100th anniversary this year, celebrating a century of bringing to local residents the best in horticultural exhibits, livestock competition, community arts and crafts, home economics and examples of excellent local efforts in many other fields.

Designated as “School Day” at the parish fair in Covington, the October 2 holiday will give students and their parents the opportunity to visit the many educational exhibits at the fairgrounds and attend other special events and family-oriented attractions. The fair begins on Thursday, October 1, and runs through Sunday, October 4.

The School System has partnered with the parish fair association for decades to give students the day off so they could participate in many key fair activities such as providing marching bands in the fair parade, taking part in livestock shows, and displaying  4-H Club and FFA Chapter projects. For many years, the parish fair parade included entire classes of school children walking to the fairgrounds for opening ceremony festivities.

In addition to the wide variety of programs designed for youngsters, the fair also offers more than 40 large educational exhibit displays put together by students from schools across the parish. These exhibits feature student work in grade levels kindergarten through 12th grade. The theme of this year’s educational displays will be “Green and Growing: Celebrating 100 Years of A Clean and Green St. Tammany.”

School System support offices will also close on Friday, October 2. They will re-open and classes will resume on Monday, October 5, 2009.


Groundbreaking Ceremony Held For Henry Mayfield Elementary School
(09-28-2009)

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new 38-classroom Henry Mayfield Elementary School west of Slidell were held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, September 28, 2009.

Located at 31820 Hwy. 190 West, the new Mayfield Elementary School is the final construction project approved under the 2004 bond issue, with Polk Construction Corp. to do the work under a $18.9 million contract.

The school, which will relieve crowding at Bayou Woods Elementary and Carolyn Park Middle schools, will be on the south side of U.S. 190, just west of the Northshore Shopping Center and about a half mile east of Tranquility Road near Slidell. Plans for the school include 38 classrooms, a covered bus drop-off site, special education classrooms and music rooms. The  87,000-square-foot facility will be located on a 71 acre site adjacent to Tammany Trace.

The name for the school was proposed by Superintendent Gayle Sloan in August of 2004, following a request made by several retired educators that the Board consider naming a building to honor Henry L. Mayfield.    In 2007, representatives from the architectural firm of Coleman and Partners presented plans for the facility.

Mayfield Elementary is scheduled to open for the 2011-12 school year. The name for the school was proposed by Superintendent Gayle Sloan in August of 2004, and in 2007, representatives from the architectural firm of Dale Songy of Coleman and Partners presented plans for the facility.

Henry Mayfield was known as an academic leader in the parish. He began his career in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System in July, 1926, serving as a teacher for one year and as principal of Slidell Grammar School for eight years.  He was appointed the System’s first instructional supervisor in the Central Office in January, 1935. 

He served as a Supervisor of Instruction for 31 years.  Mr. Mayfield served as Assistant Superintendent from April, 1965, until his retirement in June, 1968. 

Before his retirement, Mr. Mayfield served with three Superintendents.  Mr. Mayfield also taught at Tulane University for more than ten years.  He died in 1992 at the age of 88.

According to former colleague Henri Ferrer, Mayfield worked as a “behind the scenes” leader whose expertise, dedication, and broad range of work helped make the St. Tammany System a leading school system.  Mr. Ferrer noted that Mr. Mayfield was recognized throughout Louisiana for his work in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System and in the field of education.  He was a frequent speaker at education conferences. 

“He could have worked in any university or school system in the country, but Henry opted to stay in St. Tammany,” said Mr. Ferrer.     


Grandparents Are Guests of Honor at Schools
(09-21-2009)

Grandparents from across St. Tammany Parish were invited to schools over the past four weeks to visit with and eat lunch with their grandchildren. Students invited their grandparents or any older adult they wanted to share the Grandparents Day special occasion with.

At Cypress Cove Elementary, the turnout was tremendous. “We have always had a great turnout for Grandparents Day,” said Principal Lisa Dial. “In fact, we offer the lunch on four different days in September, and often the same grandparents will come twice if they have more grandchildren.” On September 17 this year alone, there were 280 reservations, and many more without reservations, she said.

Students at the Kindergarten through First Grade school look forward to the event each year.

“It’s a fabulous thing,” Ms. Dial stated. “It’s an opportunity for the grandparents to visit the schools, and the kids love seeing their grandparents in school.” She made sure all the grandparents felt welcomed and told them that Cypress Cove Elementary had won many awards for its outstanding lunch menus. “The salad bar with fresh fruits and vegetables are always a hit with the grandparents. “

Many of the visitors come up afterwards to thank her and her staff for the event. “The first time we did this fifteen years ago, we did it all on one day, and we were still serving lunch at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, there were so many visiting grandparents,” Ms. Dial said. It has grown even more popular over the years.

National Grandparents Day was September 13, and different schools throughout the School System designated different special days for grandparents to be honored with programs, lunches, and classroom visits.

The week of September 21 is Grandparents Week at Mandeville Middle School, September 14 was Grandparents Day at Riverside Elementary School, and many other schools offered programs to honor, entertain, and recognize grandparents.

President Jimmy Carter first declared Grandparents Day a national holiday in 1978.


Broadcasting Club Surprised By Guest Host
(09-20-2009)

The Broadcasting Club at Florida Avenue Elementary got off to a great start Thursday, September 17, when WWL-TV News Anchor Lucy Bustamante served as guest host for the morning school news broadcast.

She took the place of Principal Ramona Carlin during a surprise visit to the school. After the morning broadcast, she met with all the sixth graders in the Broadcasting Club and told them about her experiences in television news.

During the morning broadcast, Gary Bennett, the computer lab technician at the school, manned the video camera and helped coach the four students from Sixth Grade Teacher Katy Vorenkamp’s broadcasting class, while Principal Carlin introduced Ms. Bustamante. The morning broadcast featured the date, how many days left in the school year, weather news, and a tip on how to save energy.

Ms. Bustamante talked to the sixth grade students about the challenges and opportunities presented in broadcast journalism, everything from overcoming nervousness to interviewing heads of state. She explained how she and her crew listen to police and fire radio scanners all the time in an effort to catch the next big news story, and she reminded the students that every news story has a what, where, who, and how. Among the people she has interviewed are Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush and movie star Brad Pitt.

When the students asked who was the most interesting person she had ever interviewed,  she couldn’t name any particular person. “Because everyone is interesting in their own way,” she responded. She recently returned from New York where she was able to interview Regis Philbin, who is recognized as one of the most watched men on television.

Being a popular local news anchor means that she is often recognized in stores, she added.

With the encouragement of her mother, she got her start on the local television show for high school students, then moved on to an internship with a New Orleans television station where her news writing duties gradually increased. She stressed that knowing how to write well was essential, since news reporters and anchors have only a short period of time to clearly communicate important news to viewers who may be facing numerous distractions as they watch the news.

Ms. Bustamante also told the students that checking their facts is another key part of the business. “We have to be sure to use credible sources and reliable people,” she said. “There’s always the chance that someone will come along later and ask us where we got our information from,” she explained. Even information from the internet has to be checked out and verified as coming from a reliable source, she said.

The students asked several questions about careers in television news, how to get started, and what were the hours and salaries that could be expected.

Later this year, the students may take a field trip to WWL-TV news studios as a result of an invitation from Ms. Bustamante.

Principal Carlin said the daily presentation of school announcements has changed over the years, going from a general assembly of all the students to her delivering a newscast over the intercom in radio broadcast style. When they asked how many sixth grade students wanted to be involved in the new video broadcasting class, practically everyone raised their hands.

She hopes that as interest builds in the broadcasting class students will begin doing video features on the events and programs at the school. The visit by Ms. Bustamante will help focus attention on the great projects the broadcasting students can start thinking about, she concluded.


Mobile Website Now Available To Parents
(09-17-2009)

The St. Tammany Parish Public School System website now has a new “mobile” version available for better viewing on cell phones equipped with internet access.

The web pages on the new website are specifically designed for clearer viewing on the smaller cell phone screens. The address of the new website is http://mobile.stpsb.org.

The mobile web site features reformatted versions of key School System web pages, giving on-the-go access to important announcements, school addresses and phone numbers. The home page on the mobile site features links to four main categories: Breaking News, Important Numbers, School Directory, School Calendar, and Emergency Information.

For more detailed information, graphics, and photographs, parents can continue to visit the main School System website and/or the individual School webpages.


Teen Focus on Safe Driving Planned For October 14
(09-17-2009)

The fifth “Teen Focus on Safe Driving” will be held at the Castine Center in Pelican Park east of Mandeville on Wednesday, October 14, 2009, presenting to students from throughout St. Tammany Parish information on the importance of driving safely.

The first Teen Focus forum was held in November, 2004, in response to several tragic vehicle accidents in which teenagers from public and private schools were severely injured or killed. School System organizers brought together a wide range of knowledgeable community representatives to present their case in the first forum of its kind.

“The safety of our youth is a top priority not only in our schools, but throughout the community,” said Superintendent Gayle Sloan in announcing the date of this year’s Teen Focus on Safe Driving. “We are committed to finding ways as a community to help prevent these deaths and injuries among our teens.”

The previous four teen forums have met tremendous success, with approximately 300 students from 14 high schools in attendance at each forum. They bring the message home to their high schools and conduct several follow up programs on their own campuses.

Speakers at the forum have included emergency room doctors, insurance experts, law enforcement officers, and beauty pageant winners telling their own stories of close encounters with tragedy on the roads.

Participants at the forums learn vital facts about the issues surrounding teen driving, hear first hand experiences from doctors and paramedics, and also visit a number of display booths staffed by volunteers from various community organizations.

After the presentations, the teams have the opportunity to share their thoughts and brainstorm ways to help reduce teen accidents on the highways. The result is a “plan of action” for each high school which has, over the years, proved effective in reducing teen injuries and fatalities.

The forum is also accompanied by an art poster contest with the Teen Focus on Safe Driving theme.

For more information on the event, contact Terry Meyer at the St. Tammany Parish Public School System, 985-892-2276.


Pastorek Visits Abney Elementary, Tours Classrooms
(09-11-2009)

Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek visited teachers and students at Abney Elementary School in Slidell on Wednesday, September 9, to tour classrooms and learn about the new STARS program and local efforts to establish a Teacher Advancement Program.

He had been invited by Principal Mike Alford to see the progress being made at the school after Pastorek came to St. Tammany earlier in the year. Pastorek spent over an hour at Abney talking with teachers, students, and administrators, including Superintendent of Schools Gayle Sloan and School Board President John Lamarque.

Most of his visit took place in the STARS classroom where 15 students are given extra instructional time to help them transition to the second grade.  Abney Elementary’s STARS pilot program provides extra tutoring and special attention to students entering the second grade by providing three weeks of classroom time prior to the actual start of school. The smaller teacher to student ratio, plus the use of the FastForward computer reading program, enables much improved progress at the start of the school year.

The class will remain together for the entire year, with never more than 15 students in the group. Principal Alford said that next year he is planning to expand it to three additional classes in third and fifth grade.

Alford had also visited the new Teacher Advancement program at a Rapides Parish elementary school and came back to Abney with plans to implement the professional development program at his own campus. A trip is now being planned for some of his teachers to visit the program in Rapides for a first-hand look at the program in action.


Patriot’s Day Observed By Schools Parishwide
(09-11-2009)

Schools throughout St. Tammany Parish took part in a variety of programs held in observance of Patriot's Day September 11, when special appreciation is expressed to law enforcement officers and firefighters for their dedicated service to the community.

In keeping with the day’s theme, students made banners, cards, and welcomed visiting police officers and fire district officials on campus throughout the day. Superintendent Gayle Sloan encouraged principals at the beginning of the School Year to plan special events in keeping with the significance of the day.

At Pontchartrain Elementary School in Mandeville, police officers and firefighters greeted children as they arrived at the school from the car line and came off the school buses.

Several firefighters from Fire Protection District No. 1 and area police officers were guests of honor for lunch at Fontainebleau Junior High School. The entire student body took part in creating decorations for the event in the cafeteria.

Patriot's Day was first established to honor the police and emergency personnel who lost their lives in the 9-11 World Trade Center tragedy in 2001. Some social studies classes viewed videos about the memorials being planned for those who lost their lives in the attacks.


School Observes September As National Literacy Month
(09-08-2009)

A program to boost interest and skills in reading is underway at Covington High, with students and teachers taking part in several activities through the Readers Are Leaders program. One of the activities is an observance of September as “National Literacy Month” with September 8 designated as “International Literacy Day.”

Now in its third year, the Readers are Leaders program at CHS offers students various incentives for achieving pre-determined benchmarks in reading and recognizes the accomplishments of those who read a certain number of books during the school year.

Recently, three community leaders and Mayor Candice Watkins participated in a panel discussion at the school on the importance of reading and how it impacted their jobs. Mike Smith, the school’s closed-circuit TV channel director, had his Broadcasting Class students video-tape the interview sessions with the community leaders.

Mayor Watkins shared with student host Mary Myers how reading has been a challenge throughout her life. “I am a slow reader today because I didn’t read a lot when young, “she said. “Although I love to read for pleasure, I don’t have much time for that. That’s what I do on vacations, read.”
 
“In my job, I have to read over a hundred emails every day,” Mayor Watkins went on to say. One important factor in reading well is that it means being able to remain aware of opportunities that become available to us, the Mayor stated. She also noted that existing literacy improvement programs for Covington citizens are bringing about good results.

She read a proclamation for National Literacy Month that pointed out that the gift of reading opens the door to a world of imagination, lifetime experiences and enhances economic opportunities. “The ability to read is fundamentally necessary to leading a full and productive life,” the proclamation stated. “We want to stress the importance of literacy to achieving your dreams and enhancing your lives,” the Mayor concluded.

The other guests were a professional offshore surveyor, Greg Ryals; Pastor of the Greater Starlight Baptist Church, the Rev. Mallery Callahan; and the Youth Services Librarian for the Covington Library Branch, Ms. Jane Perreault.

Lisa Jamieson, the reading teacher at CHS, is coordinating the program this year, its third year at the school. The Readers Are Leaders program was implemented to motivate all the students to read. It calls upon them to keep a log of books read, with medals and certificates given for outstanding reading accomplishments.

Results have been impressive over the past few years, Jamieson stated, with students showing a new appreciation and passion for reading.

On September 8, the interviews will be aired on the school’s closed circuit television channel and may be aired on Channel 13 as well.

The school has partnered with the St. Tammany Parish Library in Covington in reaching out to the community to demonstrate to students the importance of reading as it pertains to literacy.


Cooks for Kids Video Shot at Cypress Cove Elementary Wins Award
(09-04-2009)

An educational television segment that showcases healthy cooking for children filmed at Cypress Cove Elementary School last year has won a Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications.

The "best practices" video entitled "Cooks for Kids" was part of a series being put together by the National Food Service Management Institute (USDA) and was created by Running Pony Productions out of Memphis, TN. It won in the category of Educational, Informational or Training Video Production - Longer than 15 minutes.

The Cypress Cove segment focuses on local school cafeteria preparation of a regional favorite, gumbo made with a greaseless brown roux. Videos were shot of food preparation, students in lunch lines and the dining room, and interviews with students, Principal Lisa Dial, Food Service Manager Robin Blakeman, and Food Service Supervisor Sylvia Dunn.

Additional video was shot of a nutrition education class, physical education class, and general campus views at Cypress Cove Elementary.

The purpose of the program "Cooks for Kids: Healthful Cooking Across America" is to address the problem of childhood obesity by offering ideas for healthier food preparation through school food service departments. Food service employees were the primary audience for the videos being produced. Teaching healthy food habits to children that will carry the wellness message into the home is a goal of the thirty-minute showcase of recipes, techniques, and practical solutions that schools can adopt to prepare healthier and tastier meals.

The Clarion Award honors excellence across all communication disciplines, with judging based on substance, style, originality and achievement of objective. The award will be presented on October 17 at the 2009 AWC National Conference in Seattle, WA. This year the competition drew nearly 500 entries, and 97 Clarions were awarded in a variety of categories.


School Board Reviewing Proposed Electronic Communications Policy
(09-04-2009)

In response to a recently passed state law concerning employee communications with students via electronic means, the School Board is currently reviewing a draft version of a new policy which will outline the reporting responsibilities under the new law.

A policy dealing with the new state law must be established by November 15. The Board is expected to discuss the proposed policy at the October 1 Committee As A Whole meeting. For public review, the proposed policy and guidelines are available by clicking here. (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view PDF File).

The new law, Act 214, requires that teachers and administrators keep a written log of contacts with students at their school when using electronic means such as cell phones, text messaging or other electronic media. The policy aims to keep track of electronic communications so that there is no misunderstanding as to the nature of the contact. The proposed policy would require that such communications be of an educational nature.

A committee headed by Supervisor Cathy Aime put together the draft version of the policy over the summer. Several parents, administrators, teachers, supervisors, and the Board’s legal counsel served on the group who worked out the details.  When the new procedures are adopted, letters will be sent to parents and employees notifying them of the new reporting requirements.

To provide public comment on the proposed policy, email remarks to public.comment@stpsb.org or click here.

The legislative bill calling for the new procedures was introduced by Rep. Frank Hoffman earlier this year.


Mandeville High Stadium Named For Sid Theriot
(08-28-2009)

The football stadium at Mandeville High School was officially dedicated to Coach Sidney Theriot in ceremonies Friday, September 4, 2009.

A large crowd of former students, administrators, colleagues, and friends and family were on hand to help celebrate the occasion. A plaque with Theriot's name and likeness was unveiled at the stadium, and afterwards, in a program at the school's auditorium, a video was shown of his career featuring interviews from his colleagues.

At a meeting in April, the School Board voted to name the stadium in honor of Coach Theriot, the long time coach and math teacher who started the first football program at the school in the mid-1960’s. He was given a standing ovation at the meeting for his more than 40 years as a coach and educator. A plaque with Theriot’s name and likeness has been installed at the Mandeville Skippers home field.

A Mandeville High School graduate who played on the school’s first football team in 1967 first proposed that the Mandeville High stadium be named after Coach Theriot, and widespread support for the idea came from former students, administrators, and former football players in Theriot’s athletics programs over the years.

Mike Dobson said that Theriot had “incredible positive impact” on the lives of those student athletes who were under his direction. He recounted the first season played by the team, the challenges they faced, and the life lessons they experienced. Many MHS alumni also remember Theriot as an excellent math teacher, he said.

Dobson recalled that in the first year of football at Mandeville High,  “Coach Theriot laid out the field, planted, watered, and cut the grass, lined the field before home games, washed the uniforms after the games, prepared scouting reports of the next games, wrote the articles that appeared in the paper, and many times drove the team bus. He had tremendous work ethic, taught us the value of teamwork, and was unselfish with his time and effort.”

To view a Quicktime movie of the stadium dedication ceremonies, click here.

In previous recognitions of contributions by area coaches, Covington High Stadium was named after Coach Jack Salter and Slidell High School Stadium was named in honor of L. V. McGinty, Sr.


Ribbon Cutting Held For Marigny Elementary
(08-28-2009)

Marigny Elementary School, the newest elementary school in St. Tammany Parish, hosted its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, September 4.

A large number of parents, teachers, T-1 students and guests gathered in the school's auditorium to hear a welcome by Principal Leslie Martin, the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem presented by Kitty Cleveland,  and remarks by Superintendent Gayle Sloan. Beverly Muller and Stephanie Ross, PTA Co-presidents, also gave welcoming comments to those present.

Several administrators, School Board members, and individuals involved in the construction of the facility took part in the ribbon cutting ceremonies.The school opened August 7 to Pre-school, Kindergarten and T-1 students from Magnolia Trace Elementary. The new school is located at 1715 Viola Street in Mandeville, near Magnolia Trace Elementary and Lake Harbor Middle School. It was named in honor of Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, the founder of Mandeville.

A starfish serves as the school mascot, and light blue and red were chosen as the school colors. At the ceremony, the students told why they had chosen the starfish as their mascot.

The campus was designed by the Gossen-Gasaway-Bankston architectural firm and built by Woodrow Wilson Construction Co. Inc.


Stadium Dedication Program Set For September 4
(08-28-2009)

The football stadium at Mandeville High School will be officially dedicated to Coach Sidney Theriot in ceremonies Friday, September 4, 2009, at 5:30 p.m., an hour before the first home game of the 2009 season against John Curtis High School.

A large crowd of former students, administrators, colleagues, and friends and family is expected to attend to help celebrate the occasion.

At a meeting in April, the School Board voted to name the stadium in honor of Coach Theriot, the long time coach and math teacher who started the first football program at the school in the mid-1960’s. He was given a standing ovation at the meeting for his more than 40 years as a coach and educator. A plaque with Theriot’s name and likeness has been installed at the Mandeville Skippers home field.

A Mandeville High School graduate who played on the school’s first football team in 1967 first proposed that the Mandeville High stadium be named after Coach Theriot, and widespread support for the idea came from former students, administrators, and former football players in Theriot’s athletics programs over the years.

Mike Dobson said that Theriot had “incredible positive impact” on the lives of those student athletes who were under his direction. He recounted the first season played by the team, the challenges they faced, and the life lessons they experienced. Many MHS alumni also remember Theriot as an excellent math teacher, he said.

Dobson recalled that in the first year of football at Mandeville High,  “Coach Theriot laid out the field, planted, watered, and cut the grass, lined the field before home games, washed the uniforms after the games, prepared scouting reports of the next games, wrote the articles that appeared in the paper, and many times drove the team bus. He had tremendous work ethic, taught us the value of teamwork, and was unselfish with his time and effort.”

In previous recognitions of contributions by area coaches, Covington High Stadium was named after Coach Jack Salter and Slidell High School Stadium was named in honor of L. V. McGinty, Sr.


Summer Programs Keep Schools Busy
(08-28-2009)

A variety of summer programs offered to students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade keep St. Tammany Public School System teachers and campuses pretty busy during June and July, according to Julie Matte, who gave a summer program report to the School Board recently.

Matte’s report brought Board members up to date on the large number of educational opportunities offered throughout the parish this past summer, everything from reading camps and band practices, to LEAP Remediation and Spanish language camp.

Summer programs for pre-kindergarten students were designed to continue their educational training in language-development, thinking skills and social development. “Teachers and paraprofessionals worked hand-in-hand to provide enriching and engaging experiences for the young students,” Matte stated.

Camp READ is a popular summer program for third grade children who seek additional instruction in building reading and writing skills. Special techniques are used to help develop confidence in their reading ability. This summer’s program had a theme revolving around “Ancient Rome,” which was carried out in various interesting ways.

A five week program, Camp Learn-A-Lot was held for the Alton Elementary School learning community and offered hands-on activities and group instruction, with individual instruction provided where needed. Math and science were the focus of the lessons presented. This was the second year Camp Learn-A-Lot has been offered, Ms. Matte stated.

The ESL (English as a Second Language) summer program was held at Chahta-Ima Elementary, Mandeville Elementary, and Whispering Forest Elementary. The goal was to immerse students from Kindergarten through Sixth Grade in the English language so they could continue acquiring skills through the summer. Chahta-Ima Elementary also offered ESL instruction for junior high and high school students as well as any interested adults.

At Honey Island Elementary, a two week Spanish language camp was held for the first time. Students participated in a variety of activities that enriched their learning of Spanish, including game-playing, arts and crafts, dancing, geography lessons, and cultural studies involving several different Spanish-speaking countries.

A new three-week program offered for the first time this summer was Second Grade Stars (Students That Are Ready To Shine). It helped students entering second grade to fine-tune their first grade skills in reading, writing, and math before making the transition. Classes were kept small to enhance small-group and individual instruction, and once the regular school year started, students in STARS found that their second grade teacher was the same person who had worked with them during the summer.

Other summer programs meeting the needs of specific groups of students included the Extended School Year program, LEAP Summer Remediation for 4th and 8th Grade students, and GEE Summer Remediation and Retesting for high school students. More than 750 students took part in Summer Band Camps offered at high schools across the parish.

The School System’s Virtual Academy hosted several online programs for a large number of  students wishing to take advantage of the additional instruction and extra courses available during the summer.

Elementary Summer School and High School Summer School helped students overcome deficiencies on their report cards and gave many participants help in strengthening areas in which they need additional instruction.

Community education classes were also available at seven schools across St. Tammany for students from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. Classes range from Square Dancing and arts and crafts to a variety of other interests.

After the presentation, Superintendent Gayle Sloan told the Board members that with the full slate of summer programs being offered students and the community, the School System does offer year-round educational opportunities in a wide selection of subjects and activities.


Ribbon Cutting Scheduled For Marigny Elementary
(08-28-2009)

Marigny Elementary School, the newest elementary school in St. Tammany Parish, will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, September 4, at 10:00 a.m.

The school opened August 7 to Pre-school, Kindergarten and T-1 students from Magnolia Trace Elementary. The new school is located at 1715 Viola Street in Mandeville, near Magnolia Trace Elementary and Lake Harbor Middle School. It was named in honor of Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, the founder of Mandeville.

A starfish serves as the school mascot, and light blue and red were chosen as the school colors.

The campus was designed by the Gossen-Gasaway-Bankston architectural firm and built by Woodrow Wilson Construction Co. Inc. with funding being provided by the 2004 Bond Issue. Work began in November of 2007.

A separate road for school buses provides access from La. Hwy. 59 to the side of the school site, keeping buses and private cars apart as parents drop off their children at the front of the school.

Principal Leslie Martin and Assistant Principal Marcella Caesar spent the summer getting things ready at the new elementary school and were on hand with the rest of the staff to welcome new students to the facility the first day of school.


Schools To Close September 7 For Labor Day Holiday
(08-26-2009)

Public schools in St. Tammany Parish will close Monday, September 7, 2009, in recognition of the traditional Labor Day Holiday. School System support offices will also be closed that day.

After the three-day weekend, support offices will re-open and classes will resume on Tuesday, September 8.


Enrollment Increases In Public Schools
(08-25-2009)

Initial classroom counts are showing an increase of 527 students attending St. Tammany Parish Public Schools this year.

A preliminary student count earlier this month showed that the largest increases came at four schools, Madisonville Junior High School, Abney Elementary School, Slidell High School, and Salmen High School. Those four account for approximately half of the total increase, with the other half spread out among the rest of the School System.

School System leaders had expected some growth and took that into consideration when hiring teachers before the school year began.

Student counts are held on the first day of school and then on several subsequent Fridays. Administrators are closely examining the initial enrollment figures to determine where additional teachers may be needed or where teachers can be shifted to better serve the new student population. Since classes started, eight new teachers have been added parish-wide.

Administrators say they will continue to look at future counts to see if any additional staffing will be needed due to the increased enrollment.


LEAD Academy Broadens Administrative Leadership Training
(08-24-2009)

A professional development program to train future administrative leaders for the St. Tammany Parish Public Schools has now been enhanced with ten interactive sessions and in-the-field experience.

The new LEAD Academy will offer exposure to a wide variety of on-site administrative practices to create better understanding of what is expected of St. Tammany Parish administrators and make participants more knowledgeable of the day-to-day activities of school operations. The focus is on first hand, interactive experiences.

“The year long program widens the scope of our existing Prospective Administrators Academy,” said Roxanne Lagarde of the Professional Development Office in Human Resources. The School System began its administrative training program in 1987.

In the newly-designed sessions, supervisors and principals will meet with participants throughout the year to discuss the leadership qualities of highest importance to administrators, as well as discuss various scenarios that principals and assistant principals may face from time to time in their daily administrative responsibilities.

“The program gives an overview of the ideas involving administrative leadership that we in the public school system believe are essential to school operations,” said Brandon Clanton, Human Resources supervisor. “We emphasize many of the daily interactions that principals and assistant principals will have with the various departments and personnel within each school as well as how to interact with parents, the public, staff members and students.”

Academy participants will also spend 35 hours in field experiences with their site administrators, everything from chaperoning events, helping with the School Improvement Plan, learning and possibly participating in the school budgetary process and other activities that occur inside of a school setting that as non-administrators, they would not be exposed to on a frequent basis.

Among the topics to be discussed at the sessions will be the School System’s vision, the emergency preparedness plan, sexual harassment policies, discipline procedures, job applicant interviews, positive work environments, staff evaluation, special education, bus transportation and school food service operations.

Certificated employees may apply to take part in the leadership training program even without specific administrative certification. “It is open to any certificated person with a desire to learn more about administrative responsibilities and gives them a chance to learn first-hand if that is a direction in which they want to go in their professional career,” said Lagarde. The program will welcome people who are already working on their administrative certification and those who already have that certification.

Officials expect from 20 to 30 persons to take part in this year’s new LEAD Academy. LEAD is an acronym for “Leading Effective Administrative Development.

Application forms for taking part in the LEAD Academy are available by clicking here.


School Officials Hear Swine Flu Update
(08-19-2009)

St. Tammany Parish Public Schools are continuing to use universal precautions in order to prevent the spread of all types of infections, including the H1N1 virus and the flu virus. Dr. Parham Jaberi, MD, medical director for Department of Health and Hospitals (Office of Public Health Region 9) told the School Board Thursday night that the H1N1 virus, commonly called Swine Flu, has proven to be fairly mild for most normally healthy people.

He gave an overview of the Swine Flu situation, how it is affecting schools statewide, and precautions parents and educators can take to prevent the spread of infection. “The concern is out there,” he said, referring to an Open House meeting he attended at Tchefuncte Middle School the night before. “There were over 1000 people present, and we were able to assure them that the swine flu is similar to regular season flu, somewhat milder, and requires the same precautions and methods of treatment.”

Dr. Jaberi has been closely monitoring the situation and staying in contact with School Officials for the past few weeks, and he told the Board that the community can be sure that the Office of Public Health and the School System is doing everything they can do. “We are on the right track,” he stated, noting that carefully monitoring of the situation will continue as the regular flu season approaches.

A video featuring Dr. Jaberi's remarks at the School Board meeting is available for viewing by clicking here. (Quicktime Movie Player needed to play video.)

School Board member Donald VIllere thanked Dr. Jaberi for his update, and especially for his attendance at the Tchefuncte Middle Open House. “It helped our parents to hear his view of the situation. We don’t want to overreact,” VIllere commented.

Superintendent Gayle Sloan told the Board about the week’s higher than normal absences, believed to be caused in part by parents keeping their children home because of the concern over swine flu. She explained how the high level of concern over swine flu in the Spring has eased somewhat as more information about the disease has been brought out. “Since we now know that Swine Flu is actually milder than originally thought, we wanted to get good information out to the parents so they can take the proper precautions,” she stated, “and make sure we are all on the same page about what is being done and what we need to do.” Superintendent Sloan will continue to follow the directions of the Office of Public Health as the season progresses and more information is gathered about the flu situation in general.

School nurses have been instructing students on the proper way to wash their hands and cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough. Special supplies have been brought in to enhance the current cleaning efforts by school custodial staff members.

Little was known about the H1N1 virus when it first emerged in the spring, or how seriously it could affect people's health, so medical workers and school officials were encouraged to proceed with an overabundance of caution, resulting in several school closures throughout Louisiana and the nation. The CDC is no longer encouraging the closure of schools due to cases of Swine Flu. If a child has a fever, medical experts are recommending the child remain out of school for 24 hours after the fever and major symptoms are gone.

A video interview with Dr. Jaberi and Superintendent Gayle Sloan is available online by clicking here.

Superintendent Sloan sent a letter to parents home with students Thursday giving additional details. An online version of this letter is available by clicking here.

Dr. Jaberi serves as the public health medical official for the region, which encompasses Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes. He is responsible for addressing any disease and health-related concerns that arise in this area and coordinating the response with the state health officer, state epidemiologist and other OPH officials.

For more information about swine flu symptoms, click here.


Ribbon Cutting Held For Lakeshore High School
(08-18-2009)

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony for St. Tammany Parish's newest high school was held on Friday. Lakeshore High School hosted a number of visiting local and regional dignitaries, School Officials, parents, students, and school personnel for the event.

Principal Brennan McCurley welcomed visitors, and the Lakeshore Titans band and Dance Team helped with the festivitives. Several School Board members and Superintendent Gayle Sloan participated in cutting the silver and black ribbon held across the front door of the new school for the official ceremony.

Lakeshore High is on a 60 Acre Site west of Hwy. 1088. The 158,550 square foot facility provides 39 classrooms, nine computer and business labs, and six science labs. The campus consists of a main classroom building, a gymnasium, Agri-science building, parking lots, a bus loop, and entry roads. The cafeteria features a full service kitchen and three service lines, with seating available for 336 students. The gymnasium offers General Assembly seating for 1,100 and basketball game seating for 1,000. The gym also has two classrooms, Coachs' offices, and locker rooms. The Agri-science building features an Autotech shop, a Woodwork shop, two classrooms, and one drafting classroom. Parking lots accommodate 216 faculty vehicles, 24 administration and visitor cars, and 590 student vehicles.

The athletic facilities are now nearing completion, and they will provide a football stadium with 1900 seats in the Home Section and 1,000 seats in the visitor bleachers. The playing field will be artificial turf, a first for St. Tammany Parish public schools.The stadium will feature an eight-lane track for track and field events. Two practice fields, four tennis courts, a field house, concession stands, and additional parking are also a part of the athletic complex area. Adjacent to the football stadium, the project includes a Baseball Field, Softball Field, Field House, and Concession Stand.

An auditorium is planned in the future with a seating capacity of 500 persons, a stage, dressing room, and orchestra pit.


New Communications Services Offered
(08-16-2009)

Three new avenues of communication will be available to parents and employees of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System this School Year, an instant alert notification service for emergencies, an informative e-newsletter to be sent out periodically, and a mobile version of the School System web site designed especially for cell phone access.

The alert notification service will offer instant communications through text messaging or voice call alerts for any emergency situations which may develop at a school or Systemwide. Parents and employees may sign up for the service by going to the Alert Notification Log In Page, and clicking on the sign up link.

Registering for the service means that, in emergency situations, parents and employees will be sent special alerts to the phone numbers and other means of communications they choose. School-specific alerts will be sent out for the individual school sites checked by the person registering during the sign-up process. This will be used only for emergency situations and unscheduled school closings.

To view an informative video showing how to sign up for the alert notification service, click here. (You Tube video)

The second new means of communication, the e-newsletter service, will offer up-to-date information about events and programs of interest to the St. Tammany Parish Public School System parents and employees. Scheduled to be sent out quarterly, the news articles will focus on exciting programs happening within our schools and important dates and information for parents and community members. To sign up for this service, go to http://www.stpsb.org/CommServices/indexcommsystems.htm

The mobile phone web site features a reformatted version of the regular School System web site, giving on-the-go access to school directory information, district phone numbers, and other convenient information. It is designed to be viewed over cell phone screens with clear easy-to-read type and links. More information on this service will be released as the date nears for the official launch of the mobile website.

The alert notification service and e-newsletter registration processes are scheduled to begin on the opening day of school August 7.


College and Career Fair Scheduled September 30
(08-16-2009)

All students in Grades 9-12 in public, private, or home-school programs are invited, along with their families, to attend the 2009-2010 College and Career Fair on Wednesday, September 30, beginning at 6:00 pm.

This free event will be held at Castine Center in Pelican Park in Mandeville and is open to the public.

Participants will be able to talk with representatives from more than 125 universities, apprenticeship programs, community and technical colleges, military academies, and lending institutions. Printed information will also be available for many other programs of interest to college-bound high school students.

For more information on the College and Career Fair, please call the College Counseling Center, 227 N. Jefferson Avenue in Covington, at (985) 898-6478.


Coaches Event Features LSU Womens Basketball Coach Van Chancellor
(08-14-2009)

The annual fall Coaches Event held by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System featured a talk by Van Chancellor, Head Coach of the LSU Womens Basketball Team.

A veteran head coach of 30 years at both the collegiate and professional levels, he told how coaches can have a powerful positive impact on young people’s lives, especially in junior high and high school grade levels.

The event took place at the Instructional Technology Center, with hundreds of coaches and assistant coaches attending. The purpose of the meeting is to give local coaches a chance to hear from one of the most successful coaches in the state and also to meet each other prior to the beginning of the various sports seasons.

Chancellor led the United States to a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics Games, won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets and 14 NCAA Tournament appearances at Ole Miss. In his first season at LSU, the Lady Tigers went to the Final Four for the fifth straight season. He guided the team to its third Southeastern Conference regular season title in four seasons, and for his efforts Chancellor was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by both the coaches and the media and was one of four finalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year award.

In addition to his 2007 induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Chancellor is also a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. During his ten years as head coach of the Houston Comets, he was named the WNBA Coach of the Year three times, and his team posted a 211-111 record, making him the winningest coach in the history of the league. In addition to his coaching duties, Chancellor has also spent time serving as a television analyst for women's college basketball, working for both ESPN and SEC-TV.

Click here for additional photos from the event. (Windows Media Player file)


Standardized Testing Schedule Announced
(08-10-2009)

Parents will want to mark their calendars for next year’s dates for the standardized tests required by the Louisiana Department of Education. LEAP, iLEAP and GEE testing will take place the week of April 12 through April 16, 2010, throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

LAA-2 Testing will also take place the week of April 12 through April 16.

The three major standardized tests now used in the State accountability program include the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP), administered in grades 4 and 8; the Graduate Exit Exam (GEE), administered in grades 10 and 11; and the integrated Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (iLEAP), administered in grades 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9.   All these tests are built on the Louisiana Grade Level Expectations (GLE’s), with the exception of a portion of the iLEAP test, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, which is norm- referenced.

Standardized testing in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System is linked to the Louisiana Accountability Program.  In 2005-2006, the accountability program was modified to comply with Federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements.  The requirement to test every student using a criterion-referenced test, beginning with the third grade, is one factor that has prompted a major change in the State testing program. 

Teachers use the results from these tests, along with evaluation of the daily classroom performance of students, to help assess needs and improve learning.


New Communications Services Offered
(08-03-2009)

Three new avenues of communication will be available to parents and employees of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System this School Year, an instant alert notification service for emergencies, an informative e-newsletter to be sent out periodically, and a mobile version of the School System web site designed especially for cell phone access.

The alert notification service will offer instant communications through text messaging or voice call alerts for any emergency situations which may develop at a school or Systemwide. Parents and employees may sign up for the service by going to the Alert Notification Log In Page, and clicking on the sign up link.

Registering for the service means that, in emergency situations, parents and employees will be sent special alerts to the phone numbers and other means of communications they choose. School-specific alerts will be sent out for the individual school sites checked by the person registering during the sign-up process. This will be used only for emergency situations and unscheduled school closings.

To view an informative video showing how to sign up for the alert notification service, click here. (You Tube video)

The second new means of communication, the e-newsletter service, will offer up-to-date information about events and programs of interest to the St. Tammany Parish Public School System parents and employees. Scheduled to be sent out quarterly, the news articles will focus on exciting programs happening within our schools and important dates and information for parents and community members. To sign up for this service, go to http://www.stpsb.org/CommServices/indexcommsystems.htm

The mobile phone web site features a reformatted version of the regular School System web site, giving on-the-go access to school directory information, district phone numbers, and other convenient information. It is designed to be viewed over cell phone screens with clear easy-to-read type and links. More information on this service will be released as the date nears for the official launch of the mobile website.

The alert notification service and e-newsletter registration processes are scheduled to begin on the opening day of school August 7.


School Year Begins For 2009-2010
(08-07-2009)

The first day of the 2009-2010 School Year went smoothly for public schools across St. Tammany Parish Friday, as teachers and school administrators greeted new and returning students from First through 12th Grade.

The School Board heard a Back-To-School report by Superintendent Gayle Sloan at its Committee meeting held the night before, with updates by Deputy Superintendent Trey Folse and Assistant Superintendents Cheryl Arabie and Pete Jabbia.

Janitorial and maintenance crews were praised for their efforts in the schools all summer, as they completed repairs, maintenance projects, and custodial work. Information Technology staff members upgraded technology systems, ran new wiring,  and installed wireless networking and security video cameras.

Transportation Director Ron Despenza reported that his bus route phone Hotline had received hundreds of calls all week from parents as the first day of school approached. Now in its second year, the Bus Transportation Hot Line provided parents with information about school bus routes and the name and contact information for their children’s bus drivers.

Mrs. Sloan commented, “Teachers and administrators have spent weeks getting our 56 schools ready for the first day of classes and all of that work paid off. The first day of school here in St. Tammany Parish went extremely well.”

Two new schools opened, Lakeshore High School on La. Hwy. 1088 and Marigny Elementary School on Viola Street, both in the Mandeville area. Officials reported successful start-ups in both cases.


School Year Begins Friday, August 7
(08-06-2009)

The first day of the 2009-2010 School Year will be Friday, August 7, for public schools across St. Tammany Parish. Teachers and school administrators have been meeting for the past two weeks to get ready for the influx of new and returning students from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade.

Bell times and supply lists by grade level for each school are available on the School Directory web page.

Janitorial and maintenance crews have worked in the schools all summer, carrying out needed updates, repairs and custodial work. Information technology staff have been upgrading technology systems, installing security video cameras, and, in some schools, updating computer network installations.

Two new schools will be opening that day, Lakeshore High School on La. Hwy. 1088 and Marigny Elementary School on Viola Street, both in the Mandeville area. Brennan McCurley will serve as principal of Lakeshore High, and Principal Leslie Martin will welcome her students at Marigny Elementary.

Now in its second year, the Bus Transportation Hot Line will be available to parents beginning Sunday, August 2, from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., and Monday through Friday, August 3 through August 7, from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. By calling the Hot Line at 985.898.3373, parents may get information about school bus routes and the name and contact information for their children’s bus drivers. For more details about bus stop locations and pick-up and drop-off times, parents may call the bus drivers themselves.

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students will be screened between August 7 and August 12, and those classes will start full-time on August 17.

Parents may want to be aware of roadway construction that may cause traffic delays when they take their children to school the first day.


Bus Transportation Phone Hot Line Offered
(08-05-2009)

 A St. Tammany Transportation Hot Line is now available to help parents get information about school bus routes for the 2009-2010 school year. The Hot Line opened August 2 and is continuing this week, August 3 through August 7, from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. The telephone number for the Hot Line is 985.898.3373.

Parents can call the Hot Line to get the name and contact information for their children’s bus drivers, which will allow them to call drivers to find out bus stop locations and pick-up and drop-off times.

“The Hot Line is a great tool for parents. It allows them quick access to bus information and provides details they will need for the first day of school,” said Deputy Superintendent Trey Folse.

Parents can click on the Bus Transportation link on the School System's web site home page to find bus routes, bus driver contact information and pick-up points. Folse added, “Our Transportation Department is striving to be customer-friendly to our students and parents. We implemented the Hot Line and web link for the first time last year and both proved to be very helpful. We believe by providing the information again this year, it will make the start of school as smooth as possible for our students who use bus transportation.”


Teachers Attend Professional Development Sessions
(08-03-2009)

More than 3200 educators met in Lacombe recently to attend professional development workshops as the St. Tammany Parish Public School System geared up for the start of school on August 7.

Dr. Tim Tyson spoke to the teachers on how integrating technology into the classroom helps engage students and prepares them for entering the 21st century workforce. He addressed four different groups of certificated employees, each session with over 500 persons in attendance.

The annual professional development sessions go towards helping teachers meet the required six hours of workshop time per school year.

“Dr. Tyson has addressed our School System employees before, and we always have requests to bring him back,” said Cheryl Arabie, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. “His message brings home the importance of effectively using new and innovative instructional technology with a view towards the global economy and the workforce needs of the future.”

Tyson, formerly principal at Mabry Middle School in Cobb County, GA, has become a much sought-after speaker on guiding educational systems as more technology becomes available for use in the classroom. He has worked in the field of education for nearly 30 years as a teacher and an administrator, and he is internationally-known for providing educators with valuable knowledge of the free resources and techniques available from the internet.

Teachers were excited about how many of his ideas such as podcasting, blogging, and video production can be used as tools to reinforce what is learned in the classroom.  The new emphasis on student-produced materials gives them a chance to show what they have learned and share it with other students around the world.

Dr. Tyson visited the School System last year for an overview of how technology can be used and was a guest speaker at the 2009 Administrators Conference held at the Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville in July.

 


2009 Summer Institute Enhances Teaching Techniques
(07-30-2009)

More than 2000 teachers signed up to take part in the recent 2009 Summer Institute, a two-day professional development program that provided St. Tammany Parish Public School System teachers opportunities to enhance their knowledge of content and best teaching practices. A total of 137 different seminars were offered.

Session presenters included teachers, special education facilitators and coordinators, textbook consultants, curriculum specialists, and NASA representatives.

The institute included sessions at several sites, including Fontainebleau High School, Covington Elementary School, Bonne Ecole Elementary School, Lake Harbor Middle School, the Educational Center in Covington, and the Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville.

Teachers were enthusiastic about the variety of topics covered and the instructional details provided. “DIBELS was fantastic,” said Clancey Anderson. “I learned how to interpret reports and the excellent resources that are available.”

Michelle Herring said the session “Write from the Beginning” was great. She was taught how to create mini-lessons and how to use them to the best effect with her students. Other teachers were excited to learn how to more effectively utilize the technology they are receiving this coming year. Curriculum specific sessions were especially popular, such as one entitled “Science Mysteries” and several presentations on teaching math.

Attending the seminars enable teachers to begin acquiring the six hours of required professional development credits for the school year and to receive Continuing Learning Credits (CLUs).


Channel 13 Staff Wins Press Club Awards
(07-26-2009)

For the second year in a row, staff members at the St. Tammany Parish Public School System’s Channel 13 have earned top honors in the annual New Orleans Press Club awards.

A first place award was presented July 18 to John Harrison for his segment on the legendary Abita Opry, and a third place award went to David Williams, Kevin Mumphrey, and Charles Edwards for their school-oriented programming efforts. The honors were announced at the Press Club’s awards ceremony.

Channel 13 provides daily local educational television programming over the Charter Communications cable television system and is housed in the Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville. Channel 13 shows are also available for viewing on the internet as webcasts here on the School System website.

Melody Swang, Director of Broadcasting for the School System, said her staff was honored to be nominated several weeks ago. “We were in competition with all the New Orleans broadcast stations, so it was quite a moment when we won top honors,” Mrs. Swang said.

Harrison won first place in the entertainment category for his piece telling the story of  “The Abita Opry.”  Williams and Edwards earned third place for their documentary “Coaching the St. Tammany Way; From Good to Great” while Mumphrey’s public affairs PSA “Threats at School: No Joking Matter” won a third place certificate.

Mrs. Swang said she was especially pleased that Grant Yenni, a student intern at Channel 13, was able to join the group at the awards presentation for his contributions to the channel.

Superintendent Gayle Sloan said, “Channel 13 has always been a great communications tool for our School System, and receiving first place awards from the New Orleans Press Club proves its professionalism and effectiveness. We congratulate the whole team, the staff, student interns and Director Melody Swang, on their wonderful accomplishment.”

All the videos competing in the awards program were judged by other Press Clubs from throughout the nation.

The crew at Channel 13 were competing in the Press Club’s regular television media categories, not in a special educational channel category, so the awards meant even more to Mrs. Swang and her staff. “This was a wonderful highlight in our careers,” she said. “I am so proud of my staff.”

Last year the Channel 13 staff won two first place New Orleans Press Club awards, one in the Public Affairs category for its documentary “Teen Focus on Safe Driving: Survivor” produced by Mrs. Swang, John Harrison and Trevor Cassidy, and the other a first place award in the Sports Action Photo Category for a video produced by staff member David Williams featuring Slidell High School football star Matt Forte’.

The group also won an “honorable mention” last year for its video on Dr. Margo Guilott’s retirement.


Spanish Camp Held at Honey Island Elementary
(07-22-2009)

Seventy children took part in a special two-week summer camp that featured Spanish culture, customs, language and games. It was the first year the event was held at Honey Island Elementary School in Slidell.

During the two one-week sessions, the children enjoyed arts and crafts, games, music, and basic language lessons, and on Fridays, activities included a fiesta complete with dancing and taking a swing at candy-filled pinatas.

The first day of camp all participants were given Spanish names, and they were greeted at the door each day by a Customs and Immigration table where they were handed their passports with the day’s country ready for its stamp. The campers themselves made the passports, as well as drawing each country's flag, putting a flag book together to display the flags, and decorating hand-made sombreros.

Three certified teachers who work in the School System were on hand to guide the educational activities such as game-playing, arts and crafts, dancing and language practice.

Each day, the campers were first introduced to a world map where they were given the chance to see exactly where the county of the day was located. Denise Nelon was Camp Coordinator, and participants in the project included Deana Cantin, Alissa Davies, Jennifer Madona, and School Board Member Mary K. Bellisario.

“And there were seven wonderful teen volunteers who really made whole thing happen,” Mrs. Bellisario said.

Every day was a different country, and during the session the kids were shown the flags, tasted the foods, and learned the characteristics of Spain, Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, Peru, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Chile.

Future camps may be offered with other cultural themes if enough teachers and volunteers can be gathered who are familiar with the language and customs.

For a slide show of photographs from the Spanish camp, click here. (Windows Media Player required to show file.)


Bus Transportation Phone Hot Line To Be Offered
(07-22-2009)

 A St. Tammany Transportation Hot Line will be in place before school starts to help parents get information about school bus routes for the 2009-2010 school year. The Hot Line will be open August 2, from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., and August 3 through August 7, from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. The telephone number for the Hot Line is 985.898.3373.

Parents can call the Hot Line to get the name and contact information for their children’s bus drivers, which will allow them to call drivers to find out bus stop locations and pick-up and drop-off times.

“The Hot Line is a great tool for parents. It allows them quick access to bus information and provides details they will need for the first day of school,” said Deputy Superintendent Trey Folse.

Parents can click on the Bus Transportation link on the School System's web site home page to find bus routes, bus driver contact information and pick-up points. Folse added, “Our Transportation Department is striving to be customer-friendly to our students and parents. We implemented the Hot Line and web link for the first time last year and both proved to be very helpful. We believe by providing the information again this year, it will make the start of school as smooth as possible for our students who use bus transportation.”


Fall Registration Schedule Announced
(07-21-2009)

Registration for all students entering the St. Tammany Parish public schools for the first time during the 2009-2010 session will be held at the school the student will attend according to the schedule listed in the fourth paragraph. 

Students changing schools within St. Tammany Parish (other than students going to another school because of grade promotion), students who are entering the School System from home schooling, and parents or court-appointed guardians who do not have the required proof of residency must complete an Assignment/Transfer Request Form at one of the Child Welfare and Attendance Offices.  They must obtain an Assignment Letter from this office before registering at the school they will attend. 

Every child, as a prerequisite to enrollment in any first grade of a public school, shall meet one of the following criteria: have attended a full-day public or private kindergarten for a full academic year; or have satisfactorily passed academic readiness screening at the time of enrollment for first grade. Students who have completed kindergarten at an accredited private school must furnish proof of attendance. Any child born before October 1, 2003, will be eligible for the first grade, and any child born before October 1, 2004, will be eligible for kindergarten.

Registration Schedule

The hours of registration will be 9:00 a.m. until noon on the dates listed: 

Monday,  July 27, 2009    

     Covington Elementary School  
     
Covington High School
     Fifth Ward Junior High School
     Folsom Junior High School
     Fontainebleau High School
     Honey Island Elementary School
     Lake Harbor Middle School
     Lee Road Junior High School
     Little Oak Middle School
     Mandeville Middle School
     Northshore High School– 1st Registration
   
Wednesday, July 29, 2009    

     Abita Springs Elementary School
     Abney Elementary School
     Alton Elementary School
     Bayou Lacombe Middle School
     Bayou Woods Elementary School
     Boyet Junior High School
     Brock Elementary School
     Carolyn Park Middle School
     Clearwood Junior High School
     Cypress Cove Elementary School
     Florida Avenue Elementary School
     Folsom Elementary School
     Fontainebleau Junior High School
     Lyon Elementary School
     Madisonville Elementary School
     Magnolia Trace Elementary School
     Mandeville Elementary School
     Mandeville High School
     Marigny Elementary School (Marigny Elementary Students
                               will register at Magnolia Trace Elementary)
     Monteleone Junior High School
     Northshore High School– 2nd Registration
     Pearl River High School
     Pine View Middle School
     Pontchartrain Elementary School
     Riverside Elementary School
     St. Tammany Junior High School
     Salmen High School – last names A-L
     Slidell High School
     Slidell Junior High School
     Tchefuncte Middle School
     Whispering Forest Elementary School
     William Pitcher Junior High School
     Woodlake Elementary School

Thursday, July 30, 2009    

     Abita Springs Middle School
     Bonne Ecole Elementary School
     Chahta-Ima Elementary School
     Creekside Junior High School
     Lakeshore High School     
     Little Pearl Elementary School
     Madisonville Junior High School
     Mandeville Junior High School
     Salmen High School– last names M-Z
     Sixth Ward Elementary School
 
Registration Requirements

 The following items are required for student registration:

  1.  State Certified Birth Certificate
  2.  Proof of Residency
  3.  Social Security Card
  4.  Health Record of Required Immunization
  5.  Report Card/Records from last School/LEAP results (for in-state
        transfer)
  6.  Assignment Letter (if applicable)
  7.  Custody Papers (if applicable)

State Certified Birth Certificate.  Those who do not have a birth certificate may contact a St. Tammany Parish School Board Annex in their area for information on how to obtain one.  Contact the Covington Annex at 985-898-3370 or the Slidell Annex at 985-646-4917.
 
Proof of Residency.  Proof of Residency must be established, using at least three of the documents listed below.  Documents that are suspect or inconclusive may be disallowed and additional documentation may be required.  All documents must be the most current available.

Documentation may consist of a current utility bill (butane, electric, gas, water, cable, or satellite), the current year W-2 form, the most recent federal or state income tax return, a vehicle insurance print-out from the parent’s or guardian’s insurance company, a signed residential building contractor agreement, a signed real estate lease agreement, or signed mortgage loan documentation.  All documents must show the name of the parent or guardian, the utility service address (if using utility bills), and the street or road address of residence.  Lease agreements must show street or road location and must be from a real estate office, apartment complex, or mobile home property, not from an individual.
 
U. S. Post Office box numbers, printed checks, or drivers’ licenses are NOT considered proof of residency.
 
Social Security Card.  The Social Security number serves as a student identification number on all records.  The Social Security number written on a piece of paper cannot be accepted.
 
Health Record.  State Law requires that all children attending school in the State of Louisiana have the following immunizations.  This requirement includes students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.  Included are students who are coming into the St. Tammany Parish Public School System from another parish, state, or nonpublic school.

  1. DTP  (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis or Whooping Cough) – A minimum of four (4) doses is required.  The last DTP or a booster is to be given after the fourth birthday.          Polio – A minimum of three (3) doses is required.  The last polio or booster is to be given after the fourth birthday. MMR  (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) -  One (1) dose is required at twelve to fifteen months of age.  A     second MMR is required before entry to school. Hepatitis B – Three (3) doses are required for first time enrollees into Louisiana public schools. HIB – Four (4) doses or proof of at least one dose after fifteen (15) months of age are required for pre-kindergarten   and noncategorical students to enter school. Varicella (Chickenpox) – Two (2) doses or a history of the disease is required for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.
  2. MCV4 (Meningococcal Conjugate) – Required for all students entering grade 6 or eleven (11) years old in any other   grade.  These students must also have proof of booster doses of Tdap, MMR, and Chickenpox.

Dates of the above required immunizations must be recorded on an official immunization form and presented to the school at the time of registration.  Contact the Slidell Health Unit at (985) 646-6445, the Covington Community Wellness Center at (985) 871-6030, the Greater New Orleans (GNO) Immunization Network Mobile Unit at (504) 733-3268 for immunization information.The immunization policy of the St. Tammany Parish School Board dictates that no child be allowed to enter school without proof of immunizations.Report Card/Records from Last School/LEAP Results.  To ensure correct grade placement of new students, a report card and standardized test reports from the last school the student attended must be presented.  Students entering fifth and ninth grades from in-state public, nonpublic or any home schooling program are required to show evidence that they have passed the English/Language Arts and the Mathematics sections of the LEAP (Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) test, as mandated by the State of Louisiana.  All students entering grades other than fifth and ninth from home-school programs are required to take the home-schoolre-entry test.  For more information about the LEAP requirements, contact the St. Tammany Parish Public School System Testing Coordinator at (985) 898-6481.Assignment Letter.  Students who are transferring within the St. Tammany Parish Public School System (other than those being promoted to a higher grade from feeder schools), students who are entering the School System from home schooling, and parents or court-appointed guardians who do not have the required proof of residency (see Proof of Residency for requirements) must obtain assignment letters from a St. Tammany Parish School Board Annex in their area.  Contact the Covington Annex at (985) 898-3370 or the Slidell Annex at (985) 646-4917 for additional information.  The Child Welfare and Attendance offices are located at 406 East Boston Street in Covington and 980 Ninth Street in Slidell.Custody Papers.  Parents or guardians granted custodial rights of a student must present at registration the custody papers granted through a court system.
 
All public schools in St. Tammany Parish will open Friday, August 7, 2009.PRE-KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATIONPre-kindergarten classes are being offered at 21 school sites during the 2009-2010 school year for four-year-old children who meet program criteria.  Registration for all classes will be held at the school the child will attend, with the exception of Marigny Elementary School. Registration for Marigny Elementary School will be held at Magnolia Trace Elementary School.   The schools and registration dates are as follows:Monday, July 27, 2009       Whispering Forest Elementary SchoolWednesday, July 29, 2009       Bonne Ecole Elementary School
    Chahta-Ima Elementary School
    Covington Elementary School
    Fifth Ward Jr. High School
    Lee Road Jr. High School
    Little Pearl Elementary School
    Sixth Ward Elementary SchoolThursday, July 30, 2009       Abita Springs Elementary School
    Abney Elementary School 
    Alton Elementary School
    Bayou Woods Elementary School
    Brock Elementary School
    Florida Avenue Elementary School
    Folsom Elementary School
    Lyon Elementary School
    Madisonville Elementary School
    Mandeville Elementary School
    Marigny Elementary School (will be held at Magnolia Trace Elementary School)
    Pontchartrain Elementary
    Woodlake ElementaryTo qualify for any regular education pre-kindergarten class, a child must meet the following criteria: 1. has reached four years of age (48 months) before October 1, 2009;
 2. resides within the attendance area served by the school site; and
 3. has a family who agrees to participate in activities associated with the program and who will sign a contract stating   that agreementIn addition to the other documents required for registration, pre-kindergarten applicants must provide income verification – using at least one of following documents:  Food Stamp Card, TANF eligibility, McKinney Vinto eligibility, most current W-2 form, or two most recent pay stubs.

Other criteria must be met for some pre-kindergarten programs.  For specific information about student eligibility, placement or the screening process call the St. Tammany Parish Pre-Kindergarten Office at 898-6483, ext. 208. Families who do not meet income eligibility may be charged $400 tuition per month to attend a pre-kindergarten class.

 


New Teacher Induction Session Helps Classroom Performance
(07-20-2009)

An annual program was held recently at the Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville to help teachers new to the St. Tammany Parish Public School System become acquainted with overall goals, instructional strategies, and specific curriculum initiatives. In attendance were 120 new educators recently hired by the School System.

Holly Broom, coordinator of professional development, said the four-day session introduces new teachers to the local educational culture and helps provide a climate of understanding for what is expected of them.
 
“We show them some of the programs we are using to improve student performance,” she said. “The sessions are taught by the grade-level teachers who have a first-hand understanding of the various programs and how they work in the classroom setting.” New teachers meet in small group sessions led by a “master teacher” for each curriculum topic, and some of the meetings are one-on-one for specialized subject areas.

A full day was spent on familiarizing new teachers with the latest techniques for encouraging student engagement so that a meaningful learning environment is assured. The School System’s current “Working on the Work” initiative is also explained. In that effort, educators and administrators work in conjunction with the national Schlechty Center’s recommendations for improving student performance.

Topics range from LaTAAP and online teaching tools to special education and STI, an Internet based procedure that enables parents to check their children’s grades from home.

The new teacher induction program is now in its sixth year. Each year the new teachers are asked to evaluate what portions of the session were most valuable to them, and next year’s program focuses even more attention on those areas. It was recently scaled back from five to four days as year-to-year refinements were made based on feedback from the participants.

This year, there will be a new section in Blackboard, the School System’s intra-communications system, just for new teachers. It will contain information of interest to new teachers and allow them to exchange comments and questions.


Preservation Plaza Dedicated
(07-17-2009)

More than 200 people gathered Thursday night, July 16, to take part in dedication ceremonies for Preservation Plaza at the C. J. Schoen Administrative Complex in Covington.

 The  ceremony for the new architectural feature on the Jefferson Avenue side of the former middle school building involved the cutting of several ribbons attached to the top of the flagpole in the center, with children and adults holding the ends of the ribbons around the circle similar to the May Pole activities of years ago. Hundreds of bricks make up the Plaza design, with many of them inscribed with the names of employees who have retired.

 The dedication program included recognition of employees who had retired in the past School Year, as well as those who had been honored by having their names inscribed in those bricks for the Plaza construction. The commemorative project honors the contributions and memory of those who have worked for the School System in the past 110 years.

 A video produced by Channel 13 featured several interviews with local educators, both active and retired, which illustrated how one educator will mentor another, and how past associations with outstanding administrators will inspire teachers to become administrators themselves. Thus the never-ending cycle of how established employees continually provide encouragement to younger employees was the reason why the Plaza was designed in a circular shape.

 Deputy Superintendent Trey Folse emceed the annual retirement recognition program, School Board President John Lamarque read an official resolution dedicating Preservation Plaza in honor of those who had worked for the School System and made it what it is today, and Superintendent Gayle Sloan reviewed how the devestation caused by Hurricane Katrina motivated school officials to protect, preserve, and electronically archive the papers, photos, and official documents of the School System.

 She mentioned that the Channel 13 interview show “Reflections” is taping interviews with many retired teachers and administrators, giving them the opportunity to recall the history and progress of the School System during their years of service.

 The emphasis on the heritage of the School System is also reflected in the naming of new schools, as plans and construction are now underway for Joseph B. Lancaster Elementary School in Madisonville, Henry Mayfield Elementary School in Slidell, and Bernard deMarigny Elementary School in Mandeville. 

 A new Archives section of the School System website also premiered at the event. The new web pages feature digital scans of a number of photographs in the School System archives housed at the C. J. Schoen Administrative Complex. Internet visitors may access the website at www.stpsb.org/PhotoArchives, enjoy viewing the old photographs and then provide more details for any pictures on which they may have additional information.  

 In the School Board resolution, Preservation Plaza was dedicated to the lasting memories of the thousands of committed individuals who, for more than a century, have dedicated their talents to making the St. Tammany Parish Public School System the success that it is today. “They have provided these young people with the educational tools and knowledge that will serve them over the course of their lives,” the resolution stated. “These retired employees have shared their knowledge, experience, creativity and care with their students, their families and the community,  and they continue, in their retirement, to serve as volunteers in support of the School System and its students.”

 Local Artist Bill Binnings was noted as the sculptor of the first bronze statue in the new plaza.

 


Summer Video Institute Hosts 17 Broadcasting Students
(07-15-2009)

Seventeen high school students from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System took part in an intensive one-week Summer Video Institute recently, learning video production techniques from shooting raw footage and standup commentary in the field to final editing procedures in the studio.

The eighth annual summer video program brought outstanding broadcast journalism students together with the experienced staff members of Channel 13, the School Board’s educational cable television channel. Each staff member led a group of students as they created a video documentary from beginning to end. The institute included instruction on how to best tell a story employing camera handling techniques, lighting and music overlays.

A video festival held on the final day of the institute premiered the student-produced films.  One showcased the inner-workings of the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center; another the Dew Drop, an Old Mandeville jazz hall; another toured an alligator farm and learned the value of  raising and releasing alligators back into the wild; and the fourth video asked the question, “What is Art?”  The student produced videos will be broadcast on Channel 13 as well as the website.

Melody Swang, Director of Broadcasting for the School System, said, “We had a wonderful week. This has been the best institute we’ve had yet. The students came to us with some valuable experience from their school broadcasting programs and worked really hard for us.” Instructors agreed that the “kids were awesome” and they were proud of what they had accomplished.

Learning the basics of camera work, editing, and post production, the students came with a wide range of experience. Most of them are interested in professional broadcast journalism careers, so the institute is an extra boost to their education.

 


Energy Conservation Program Launches Website
(07-10-2009)

Dr. John Swang, director of the Energy Management Program for the St. Tammany Parish Public School System, presented his annual progress report to the School Board recently, noting that savings continue to mount as buildings and personnel become more energy-efficient.

A new energy conservation website was launched recently by the department. It offers a variety of information on how to save money through energy management, changes in routine behavior, and appropriate technology.

Over the last three years, the School System has made significant progress in controlling energy costs through environment awareness and personnel training as well as the installation of automated control systems for air conditioning and heating. Savings are expected to increase as more schools have NOVAR control systems installed. “Our current energy savings are at 19.4 percent,” Dr. Swang said.

According to carefully monitored statistics, the School System has, through its energy-saving efforts, avoided energy costs of $1.7 million last school year. Since the program began in 2005, a total cost avoidance figure of $4.2 million dollars has been realized. The program helped schools save $45,000 alone just on monitoring energy charges for possible errors in billing, it was reported.

“We are the only school district in the state designated an Energy Star Partner by the Environmental Protection Agency,” Dr. Swang stated. “And in June we were recognized as a Leaders Top Performer, meaning our schools and facilities are more energy efficient than 83 percent of similar buildings around the nation.”

Efforts are now being made to provide each school with a “specialized energy management plan” which will suggest improvements based on specific site characteristics.



Fall Registration Schedule Announced
(07-06-2009)

Registration for all students entering the St. Tammany Parish public schools for the first time during the 2009-2010 session will be held at the school the student will attend according to the schedule listed in the fourth paragraph. 

Students changing schools within St. Tammany Parish (other than students going to another school because of grade promotion), students who are entering the School System from home schooling, and parents or court-appointed guardians who do not have the required proof of residency must complete an Assignment/Transfer Request Form at one of the Child Welfare and Attendance Offices.  They must obtain an Assignment Letter from this office before registering at the school they will attend. 

Every child, as a prerequisite to enrollment in any first grade of a public school, shall meet one of the following criteria: have attended a full-day public or private kindergarten for a full academic year; or have satisfactorily passed academic readiness screening at the time of enrollment for first grade. Students who have completed kindergarten at an accredited private school must furnish proof of attendance. Any child born before October 1, 2003, will be eligible for the first grade, and any child born before October 1, 2004, will be eligible for kindergarten.

Registration Schedule

The hours of registration will be 9:00 a.m. until noon on the dates listed: 

Monday,  July 27, 2009    

     Covington Elementary School  
     
Covington High School
     Fifth Ward Junior High School
     Folsom Junior High School
     Fontainebleau High School
     Honey Island Elementary School
     Lake Harbor Middle School
     Lee Road Junior High School
     Little Oak Middle School
     Mandeville Middle School
     Northshore High School– 1st Registration
   
Wednesday, July 29, 2009    

     Abita Springs Elementary School
     Abney Elementary School
     Alton Elementary School
     Bayou Lacombe Middle School
     Bayou Woods Elementary School
     Boyet Junior High School
     Brock Elementary School
     Carolyn Park Middle School
     Clearwood Junior High School
     Cypress Cove Elementary School
     Florida Avenue Elementary School
     Folsom Elementary School
     Fontainebleau Junior High School
     Lyon Elementary School
     Madisonville Elementary School
     Magnolia Trace Elementary School
     Mandeville Elementary School
     Mandeville High School
     Marigny Elementary School
     Monteleone Junior High School
     Northshore High School– 2nd Registration
     Pearl River High School
     Pine View Middle School
     Pontchartrain Elementary School
     Riverside Elementary School
     St. Tammany Junior High School
     Salmen High School – last names A-L
     Slidell High School
     Slidell Junior High School
     Tchefuncte Middle School
     Whispering Forest Elementary School
     William Pitcher Junior High School
     Woodlake Elementary School

Thursday, July 30, 2009    

     Abita Springs Middle School
     Bonne Ecole Elementary School
     Chahta-Ima Elementary School
     Creekside Junior High School
     Lakeshore High School     
     Little Pearl Elementary School
     Madisonville Junior High School
     Mandeville Junior High School
     Salmen High School– last names M-Z
     Sixth Ward Elementary School
 
Registration Requirements

 The following items are required for student registration:

  1.  State Certified Birth Certificate
  2.  Proof of Residency
  3.  Social Security Card
  4.  Health Record of Required Immunization
  5.  Report Card/Records from last School/LEAP results (for in-state
        transfer)
  6.  Assignment Letter (if applicable)
  7.  Custody Papers (if applicable)

State Certified Birth Certificate.  Those who do not have a birth certificate may contact a St. Tammany Parish School Board Annex in their area for information on how to obtain one.  Contact the Covington Annex at 985-898-3370 or the Slidell Annex at 985-646-4917.
 
Proof of Residency.  Proof of Residency must be established, using at least three of the documents listed below.  Documents that are suspect or inconclusive may be disallowed and additional documentation may be required.  All documents must be the most current available.

Documentation may consist of a current utility bill (butane, electric, gas, water, cable, or satellite), the current year W-2 form, the most recent federal or state income tax return, a vehicle insurance print-out from the parent’s or guardian’s insurance company, a signed residential building contractor agreement, a signed real estate lease agreement, or signed mortgage loan documentation.  All documents must show the name of the parent or guardian, the utility service address (if using utility bills), and the street or road address of residence.  Lease agreements must show street or road location and must be from a real estate office, apartment complex, or mobile home property, not from an individual.
 
U. S. Post Office box numbers, printed checks, or drivers’ licenses are NOT considered proof of residency.
 
Social Security Card.  The Social Security number serves as a student identification number on all records.  The Social Security number written on a piece of paper cannot be accepted.
 
Health Record.  State Law requires that all children attending school in the State of Louisiana have the following immunizations.  This requirement includes students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.  Included are students who are coming into the St. Tammany Parish Public School System from another parish, state, or nonpublic school.

  1. DTP  (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis or Whooping Cough) – A minimum of four (4) doses is required.  The last DTP or a booster is to be given after the fourth birthday.         
  2. Polio – A minimum of three (3) doses is required.  The last polio or booster is to be given after the fourth birthday.
  3. MMR  (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) -  One (1) dose is required at twelve to fifteen months of age.  A second MMR is required before entry to school.
  4. Hepatitis B – Three (3) doses are required for first time enrollees into Louisiana public schools.
  5. HIB – Four (4) doses or proof of at least one dose after fifteen (15) months of age are required for pre-kindergarten   and noncategorical students to enter school.
  6. Varicella (Chickenpox) – Two (2) doses or a history of the disease is required for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.
  7. MCV4 (Meningococcal Conjugate) – Required for all students entering grade 6 or eleven (11) years old in any other   grade.  These students must also have proof of booster doses of Tdap, MMR, and Chickenpox.

Dates of the above required immunizations must be recorded on an official immunization form and presented to the school at the time of registration.  Contact the Slidell Health Unit at (985) 646-6445, the Covington Community Wellness Center at (985) 871-6030, the Greater New Orleans (GNO) Immunization Network Mobile Unit at (504) 733-3268 for immunization information.

The immunization policy of the St. Tammany Parish School Board dictates that no child be allowed to enter school without proof of immunizations.Report Card/Records from Last School/LEAP Results.
 

To ensure correct grade placement of new students, a report card and standardized test reports from the last school the student attended must be presented.  Students entering fifth and ninth grades from in-state public, nonpublic or any home schooling program are required to show evidence that they have passed the English/Language Arts and the Mathematics sections of the LEAP (Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) test, as mandated by the State of Louisiana.  All students entering grades other than fifth and ninth from home-school programs are required to take the home-schoolre-entry test.  For more information about the LEAP requirements, contact the St. Tammany Parish Public School System Testing Coordinator at (985) 898-6481.

Assignment Letter.  Students who are transferring within the St. Tammany Parish Public School System (other than those being promoted to a higher grade from feeder schools), students who are entering the School System from home schooling, and parents or court-appointed guardians who do not have the required proof of residency (see Proof of Residency for requirements) must obtain assignment letters from a St. Tammany Parish School Board Annex in their area.  Contact the Covington Annex at (985) 898-3370 or the Slidell Annex at (985) 646-4917 for additional information.  The Child Welfare and Attendance offices are located at 406 East Boston Street in Covington and 980 Ninth Street in Slidell.

Custody Papers.  Parents or guardians granted custodial rights of a student must present at registration the custody papers granted through a court system.
 
All public schools in St. Tammany Parish will open Friday, August 7, 2009.

PRE-KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION


Pre-kindergarten classes are being offered at 21 school sites during the 2009-2010 school year for four-year-old children who meet program criteria.  Registration for all classes will be held at the school the child will attend, with the exception of Marigny Elementary School. Registration for Marigny Elementary School will be held at Magnolia Trace Elementary School.   The schools and registration dates are as follows:

Monday, July 27, 2009       
Whispering Forest Elementary School

Wednesday, July 29, 2009       
    Bonne Ecole Elementary School
    Chahta-Ima Elementary School
    Covington Elementary School
    Fifth Ward Jr. High School
    Lee Road Jr. High School
    Little Pearl Elementary School
    Sixth Ward Elementary School

Thursday, July 30, 2009       
    Abita Springs Elementary School
    Abney Elementary School 
    Alton Elementary School
    Bayou Woods Elementary School
    Brock Elementary School
    Florida Avenue Elementary School
    Folsom Elementary School
    Lyon Elementary School
    Madisonville Elementary School
    Mandeville Elementary School
    Marigny Elementary School (will be held at Magnolia Trace Elementary School)
    Pontchartrain Elementary
    Woodlake Elementary

To qualify for any regular education pre-kindergarten class, a child must meet the following criteria: 

 1. has reached four years of age (48 months) before October 1, 2009;
 2. resides within the attendance area served by the school site; and
 3. has a family who agrees to participate in activities associated with the program and who will sign a contract stating that agreement

In addition to the other documents required for registration, pre-kindergarten applicants must provide income verification – using at least one of following documents:  Food Stamp Card, TANF eligibility, McKinney Vinto eligibility, most current W-2 form, or two most recent pay stubs.

Other criteria must be met for some pre-kindergarten programs.  For specific information about student eligibility, placement or the screening process call the St. Tammany Parish Pre-Kindergarten Office at 898-6483, ext. 208. Families who do not meet income eligibility may be charged $400 tuition per month to attend a pre-kindergarten class.


Marigny Elementary School Nearing Completion
(07-02-2009)

School officials took a tour of the new Marigny Elementary School campus on Viola Street in Mandeville recently, visiting the classrooms, cafeteria, and library as construction workers put the finishing touches on the facility.

Plans call for the school to open in August, with the pre-school children, Kindergarten students, and Transitional First Grade students from nearby Magnolia Trace Elementary to move to the new facility. Principal Leslie Martin and Assistant Principal Marcella Caesar conducted the tour for Superintendent Gayle Sloan and Deputy Superintendent Trey Folse.

Also accompanying the group were St. Tammany Parish Public School System Lead Construction Supervisor Cameron Tipton and Construction Supervisor Sammie Mannino, as well as Project Superintendent Charles Villneuve and Vice President Jim A. Wilson, both with Woodrow Wilson Construction Company of Baton Rouge.

To view photographs of the tour of the new school, click here. To visit the school’s webpage, click here.

 

 


Policy Announced for Free and Reduced Priced Meals
(07-01-2009)

The St. Tammany Parish School Board today announced its policy for free and reduced price meals served under the National School Lunch and/or School Breakfast Program(s) for the 2009-2010 School Year. 

All schools and the central office have a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The family size and annual income criteria that will be used for determining eligibility may be reviewed by clicking here for an Adobe Acrobat PDF File.

 

 


Wortmann Named Principal of Salmen High
(06-26-2009)

Ms. Terri Wortmann was appointed as the new principal of Salmen High School by the School Board at its meeting in June. Previously serving as assistant principal at the school, she will take the place of Principal Byron Williams who was appointed a Supervisor of Administration at the School Board’s May meeting.

Wortmann began teaching mathematics at Salmen High in 1991, and has been active in the LaTAAP assessment and mentoring program, was a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and is National Board Certified.


Mrs. Jindal Visits Two Mandeville Schools
(06-22-2009)

Mrs. Supriya Jindal, the wife of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, visited the summer camps at Tchefuncte Middle School and Pontchartain Elementary Schools in Mandeville recently, bringing a message of how important science and math are to everyday life.

Mrs. Jindal encouraged the children to remember that math and science were fun to learn and to say thank you to those who care for them.

She gave numerous examples of how knowledge of math and science are key to success in everything from playing football and formulating toothpaste to providing health care and governing an entire state.

She is visiting schools throughout the state with the message. Her Mandeville visit was accompanied by the donation of dozens of books to the school library by Scholastic Books.

At the end of her talk, the students were treated to a hands-on exhibit of baby alligators by John Price of the Insta-Gator alligator ranch near Waldheim. He talked to the children about the successful re-population of the Louisiana alligator after its dwindling numbers in the mid-1970’s prompted legislative action to protect the reptile.


Two Principals From St. Tammany Named Louisiana Principal of Year Finalists
(06-18-2009)

Two principals with the St. Tammany Parish Public School System were named finalists in this year’s Louisiana Principal of the Year program.

Bruce Bundy, principal at Mandeville High School, was named one of six finalists in the High School Level competition, and Dr. Timothy W. Schneider, principal at Fontainebleau Junior High School, was named one of eight finalists in the Middle School Level.

Each year, the Louisiana Department of Education names a Principal of the Year, and this year there were 21 principals from throughout the state chosen as regional finalists for the award.

“We are especially pleased that two of our outstanding principals have been chosen as finalists for this state honor,” said Superintendent Gayle Sloan. “We have long recognized the contributions made by all of our principals, and it is a notable achievement when the state Principal of the Year program chooses two from St. Tammany to be among the 21 finalists named statewide.”

The finalists will be honored during the Third Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration in July. At that time, the Department will also reveal one Principal of the Year for each of the three school levels -- elementary, middle and high school – as well as Louisiana’s 2009 Principal of the Year.

“Extraordinary school leadership is crucial to raising student achievement, and we are pleased to honor the extraordinary work of these 21 dedicated and talented principals,” State Superintendent of Education Paul G. Pastorek said. “In their roles as leaders of their school communities, these individuals shoulder an enormous responsibility, yet they have all risen to the challenge. We are looking forward to expressing our gratitude to them for their service.”

Nominees for Principal of the Year are identified by their local school systems and progress through a regional selection process.
 
Winners are judged on specific criteria, including leadership skills and commitment to academic excellence; community leadership; respect of students, parents, and colleagues; affiliations with educational organizations and demonstration of a superior ability to provide instructional leadership to teachers and students of all backgrounds and abilities.

Principals of the Year are invited to serve on state committees for curriculum development, school leadership, and accountability. In addition, they may be invited to showcase model programs at their schools or to host school visits. Recipients also may be invited to serve as facilitators or presenters at meetings, conferences, or training activities.

Principal Bundy first taught mathematics and science at Broadmoor High School in Baton Rouge, and subsequently served as a science teacher and coach at Northshore High and also a mathematics teacher, coach, and Assistant Principal at Fontainebleau High School. Dr. Schneider joined the School System in 1983 as Band Director at Salmen High School, and served for a time as Band Director and Assistant Principal at Northshore High School.

 

 


Byrd Scholarship Winners Include Three St. Tammany Graduates
(06-17-2009)

Three recent graduates from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System will receive Robert C. Byrd Scholarships for 2009, according to an announcement by the Louisiana Department of Education. The total number of graduates awarded the Scholarships statewide came to 127.

The local winners include Jennifer DeLuca from Slidell High School, James Twardowski of Fontainebleau High School, and Anne Holladay from Northshore High School.

An eleven-member selection committee representing BESE reviewed applications and determined the Louisiana winners in the national scholarship program. The applicants were evaluated on their academic achievement, leadership potential, communication skills, and school and community involvement. Each scholarship award shall be for a maximum of $1,500 per year for a period of no more than four years of undergraduate study.

To be academically eligible for the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship, applicants must have completed the required state minimum high school graduation requirements by the end of the 2009 academic year. Scholars must have earned a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 and have an ACT Composite Score of 23 or SAT Critical Reading and Math Score of 970.

"This year's winners exhibited exceptionally high levels of academic achievement," State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek said.

 

 


(05-27-2009)

National Merit Scholarship Winners Announced

Four recent St. Tammany Parish Public School System graduates were named winners of National Merit Scholarships May 27.

Students listed from St. Tammany Parish included Samantha L. Parker of Fontainebleau High School; Joshua D. Frick of Salmen High School; Wendelyn L. Morell and Nicole E. Schrock, both from Northshore High School.

More than 2800 winners from across the country were announced by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The $36 million in scholarships are financed by 201 colleges and universities and independent corporations, and winners are chosen from among the finalists who were named last school year. The awards provide between $500 and $2000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study.

The National Merit Program was established in 1955.


(05-26-2009)

Fontainebleau High Student Named Presidential Scholar

A Fontainebleau High School student has been selected as one of 141 outstanding high school seniors to be designated a 2009 Presidential Scholar, according to U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Holden M. Brown, the 18 year old son of Thomas and Mary Brown of Mandeville, will be honored for his accomplishment in Washington, D.C., from June 20 to 24, along with the other Presidential Scholars nationwide. They are being recognized for their exceptional academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, and service at school and in the community.

The program allows the Scholar to invite his most inspiring and challenging teacher to travel with him to Washington, D.C., to receive a Teacher Recognition Award from the U. S. Department of Education. Brown chose Fontainebleau High School Gifted English Teacher Gayle Berard of Covington, and she will have the opportunity to participate in recognition events.

Brown distinguished himself when his film productions won numerous awards in cinematic arts competitions, especially for special effects. He has taken part in both the Talented Art and Talented Drama programs at his school, both of which have played an important role in his work as a filmmaker, he said.

Duncan stated that Presidential Scholars are shining examples of excellence in academics and in the arts and are role models that all students should emulate.

The 141 Presidential Scholars represent one young man and woman from each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The program was established in 1964 to honor academic achievement and was expanded in 1979 to recognize students demonstrating exceptional talent in visual, literary and performing arts.

Past Presidential Scholars from St. Tammany Parish include Slidell High School student Lorilee Biernacki of Pearl River in 1980, James Dautenhahn of Slidell High School in 1985, Caren Chaika of Northshore High School in 1989, and Erica Gaston of Slidell High School in 1999. Teacher Recognition Awardees have included Darnell Boudreaux of Clearwood Junior High School in 1999.


(5-25-2009)

Students of the Year Recognized At Annual Reception

The three Students of the Year representing the St. Tammany Parish Public School System for the 2008-2009 School Year were honored at the annual May Reception held recently at the C. J. Schoen Administrative Complex. 

The outstanding students were chosen from the fifth, eighth, and twelfth grades based on criteria including writing ability, community involvement, academic success, and interview skills. They were chosen Students of the Year at the school level first, then at the district level.

Shalin Bhatt, a fifth grade student from Tchefuncte Middle School, was named Student of the Year for St. Tammany Parish public schools and was also named a finalist at the regional level. When being introduced at the May reception, his interest in science and community service was acknowledged. His activities at school include student government, 4-H, and the French Club, and his career goal is to become a neurologist. He is the son of Dr. and Mrs. Suresh Bhatt.

The eighth grade district winner is Raya Islam from Boyet Junior High. At the May reception, she was congratulated for her outstanding academic record, her community service, and involvement in community sports programs. She won first place in her school’s science fair when she was in kindergarten, has been active for years in local Girl Scout programs, and has also taken part in school robotics challenges. She hopes to attend Duke University and major in international affairs in medicine so she can help less fortunate people across the globe. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Quazi T. Islam.

Samantha Lee Parker won the Student of the Year honors for the 12th grade level. While a student at Fontainebleau High School, she was active in honor societies, student government, and the quiz bowl. The daughter of Gordon and Dr. Janine Parker, who are both first responders, she has assisted in many blood drives and other community service projects. In addition to gathering an excellent academic record, she has been involved in volleyball, softball, ballet, gymnastics, figure skating, and piano. Her experiences during Hurricane Katrina taught her lessons that will last a lifetime, she said, and her mother’s career has inspired her to explore a career in the medical field.

During the School Board meeting following the May reception, Superintendent Gayle Sloan congratulated each Student of the Year and presented them with an award recognizing their achievement.


(5-18-2009)

Northshore High School Wins State Championship in Class 5A Baseball

The Northshore High School Panthers rocketed to the state Class 5A Baseball Championship this weekend, defeating Dutchtown seven to two with six runs in the fourth inning alone. The action took place in Denham Springs.

The team took home its first-ever state baseball trophy under the guidance of Coach Rick Mauldin. They finished the season 34 wins to two losses.

Dr. Mike Peterson, Northshore principal, congratulated the team for being named the 2009 5-A State Baseball Champions. "For the players, the coaches, our student body, the faculty and the community, I could not have hoped for anything more than this.  The hard work, the sacrifices, and the commitments which these young men have made, have afforded them the honor of being called champions," he said.  "The character, class, and leadership demonstrated by Head Coach Rick Mauldin, his staff, and the players on this team were incredible.  Coach Glen Rivera and Coach Vincent Ruda were valuable supporting cast.  We are very proud of the team and the coaches."

The state win came on the heels of losing their best pitcher Ryan Eades to an injury in mid-April, which while disappointing, motivated the team even more for the run at the championship. Pitcher Cody Deckwa brought the needed expertise to the mound to finish the season in Northshore’s favor.

For photographs of the winning moments of the tournament, click here. Windows Media Player needed to view slide show.

Northshore catcher Chad Gough-Fortenberry was named the Class 5A tournaments Most Valuable Player.

At the School Board's May 21 meeting, Board members passed a resolution honoring the team for its achievements.


(5-16-2009)

2008-2009 School Year Ends

Monday, May 25, marked the end of the 2008-2009 School Year.

Students reported to school for half-a-day, and the rest of the day was reserved for record-keeping duties for teachers and administrators.

The 2009-2010 School Session will begin on Friday, August 7, 2009. Lists of school supplies needed for each grade level next Fall have been posted to the School Directory page.


(5-16-2009)

Mandeville High Robotics Team Does Well In First Year Competitions

The Mandeville High School robotics team got off to a great start this year.

“Team Prometheus” was recently congratulated by the St. Tammany Parish School Board for remarkable accomplishments during its first year in competition. The efforts paid off with numerous educational opportunities, Board members were told.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Arabie reported that the robotics team had done very well in meeting the challenges presented by various regional and national competitions. They placed third out of 31 teams in regional qualifying rounds, ranked 24th out of 87 teams in the national championships in Atlanta and placed 34th overall out of 400 teams  nationally. The group also received the Rookie All-Star Award and the 2009 Rookie Seed Award.

“Robotics competition is a unique varsity sport for the mind,” Mrs. Arabie stated. “It helps students discover how interesting and rewarding the work of engineers and researchers can be.”

Teacher Sponsor Elena Marina was commended for her leadership with the group, and mentors from the community were also recognized for their contributions.

Mandeville High had the only team from Louisiana to make it to the national competition level, Mrs. Arabie said. “That is an incredible feat for a rookie team,” replied School Board Member Neal Hennegan.

Robotics spotlights the importance of education in math, science, engineering and technology. High school robotics programs call for expertise in several disciplines, among them artistry, mechanical engineering, journalism, marketing, public relations, programming, web design and carpentry, as well as the ability to work together as a team.

Part of the team’s goal is to build a robot and demonstrate it to students in area elementary, middle and junior high schools, in hopes of sparking their interest in engineering and robotics.

At the School Board meeting, a resolution was passed commending the students involved for their outstanding performance at the regional and national competitions and wishing them continued success in future challenges.


(5-14-2009)

Lyon Elementary Nominates Host Volunteers

Lyon Elementary School recently nominated St. Tammany Parish Hospital for the state’s prestigious 2009 Distinguished Partners in Education Award, and it was announced this week by the Louisiana State Department of Education that the hospital will be one of the award recipients in June.

St. Tammany Parish Hospital was nominated by the school in recognition of its active participation in the “Helping One Student to Succeed” (HOST) program. HOST is an ongoing service at Lyon Elementary where community members visit the school and help individual students achieve academic success. 

Principal Jeanine Barnes said she was excited and proud for the hospital’s recognition because quite a number of the hospital’s department heads participate in the effort while on approved hospital time. “These people make a difference in the lives and academic achievement of so many of our students, and I am happy that it is being formally and widely recognized,” she said. “St. Tammany Parish Hospital provides the most HOST volunteers for our children, and hospital department heads are encouraged to take part.”

Statewide, there were more than 60 nominations made for the recognition by the State Department of Education. The award will be presented at a June 17 dinner at the Lod Cook Conference Center on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge.

Superintendent Gayle Sloan said the award was great news and would help serve to spotlight community education partnerships. “Recognition such as this helps bring attention to the many benefits of community partnerships with our schools,” Superintendent Sloan said. “We really appreciate the time donated and efforts made by those individuals who work with our students in these programs. It truly makes a difference.”

HOSTS is now in its tenth year. The program is a proven reading intervention program, and  on average 85 percent of the children taking part finish the school year reading on or above grade level, according to Ms. Barnes. Volunteers from the community come into the school each week to read and complete lessons designed by the HOSTS coordinator Cindy Lester and Teacher Florence Kinnett. 

The hospital recently showcased the school and its HOSTS program with an article in its quarterly Heart to Heart publication published in the Times Picayune newspaper.


 

(05-08-2009)

Gardening Project Offers Many Benefits

Students in the fourth grade WIN class at Riverside Elementary School in Pearl River have found that digging in the dirt can be more than just fun. They have planted a tomato garden and learned a number of invaluable lessons along the way.

Their teacher Jennifer Bennett asked a local gardening expert, her father, to visit the class and give students tips on how to make a garden box, how to prepare soil for planting, and how to use fertilizers. A former high school teacher, he spoke about the importance of using recycled materials when possible. The students were also told the benefits of using natural compost.

The week before Easter break, the class was split into groups of two or three each for the planting effort. Ms. Bennett said that the task seemed to be a stress reliever for some of her students who had taken part in high-stakes testing earlier in the day. “I chose this day because I felt that the students had worked so hard preparing for the test, they were very anxious about taking the test, and that this would be a good way for the students to focus on something other than testing, yet still be learning.” Ms. Bennett explained.

The class had been studying plants in science and had recently completed a Junior Achievement Day that taught students about personal finances.  “I thought that we could incorporate the two learning concepts into the gardening project where students would study first hand the growing process of plants and then the economic aspect of selling the grown produce to faculty and staff members at our school,” Ms. Bennett said.

“Each day we go out to the garden to make observations,” she went on to explain. “The students count the number of flowers, green tomatoes, and red tomatoes.  They also record any evidence of bugs or caterpillars.  Each Friday they record the height of the plant.  We will use this data the last week of school to create and compare different graphs about the plants.” This is generating discussions on possible number of tomatoes, why some tomatoes are green and others are red, etc.

The students really seemed to enjoy the experience and looked forward to checking on our plants each day.  Ms. Bennett found the response from parents as very positive.  “We had people in the local community donate the needed materials and supplies for this project,” she said. 

“But most importantly, the students are gaining first hand knowledge and experiences that they can use in their everyday life.  A few students have even begun a gardening project at their own home,” she reported.

Some follow-up activities that the class will engage in will be a food tasting to compare the tomatoes we grew to those purchased at a local food store and comparing the taste of green tomatoes to the taste of red tomatoes. “We may even generate some recipes or have students bring in dishes that they have made from home using tomatoes,” Ms. Bennett stated.

At the end of school, the class plans to sell the tomato plants in the teacher’s lounge, which will give them the opportunity to learn money management by voting what to do with the project’s financial proceeds. “My students are definitely getting a great sense of satisfaction out of growing their own food,” Ms. Bennett stated.

Riverside Principal Mary Lou Jordan said she was pleased when Ms. Bennett came to ask about planting a vegetable garden. Everyday, it creates quite a buzz in the third, fourth, and fifth grade students when they walk pass by the garden plot, she said.

“Ms. Bennett’s students have been so excited that their enthusiasm has spread across the entire school,” Ms Jordan commented. “On top of a beautiful healthy garden, they are planning to sell their produce as a fund raiser for their classroom.”

The tomato garden project has even gotten the 4-H club thinking about converting its rose garden in the front of the school to a vegetable garden next year.

Superintendent Gayle Sloan has asked all principals to encourage their teachers to start planting gardens such as this one with their students.

Click here for a photo slide show showing the vegetable garden project. (Windows Media Player is required to play slide show.)

WIN is a locally developed alternative program within regular education that serves at-risk youth in the elementary grades. In a self-contained, fifteen-student setting, students work on individual academic and social needs. The program encourages parental involvement and addresses areas of need as determined by standardized tests.


(05-07-2009)

School Board Reviewing Proposed Budget Revisions

A revised budget for fiscal year 2008-2009 was submitted by Superintendent Gayle Sloan to the School Board Thursday, May 7, for its review and consideration for adoption at its May 21 meeting. 

For more information on the proposed budget revisions and to view a copy of the document, click here.


(05-06-2009)

High School Graduations Taking Place This Week

Graduating high school seniors across St. Tammany Parish are receiving their diplomas at several ceremonies held by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System this week.  A complete list of graduations for the 2008-2009 School Year, in alphabetical order, is as follows:

Covington High School will hold ceremonies beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13, at Southeastern Louisiana University at the University Center facility in Hammond.

Fontainebleau High School seniors will also receive their diplomas at Southeastern’s University Center, with their ceremony scheduled for Saturday, May 16, at 5:00 p.m.

Students graduating from the G.E.D. Adult Education program will meet at the Castine Center in Pelican Park in Mandeville at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, to participate in the awarding of diplomas.

Mandeville High School graduates will take part in their graduation ceremonies on Tuesday, May 12, at Southeastern’s University Center facility, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Northshore High School seniors were awarded diplomas on Saturday, May 9, at the University Center on Southeastern Louisiana University Campus

Pearl River High School will hold its graduation ceremonies on Friday, May 15, at 7:00 p.m. at the Northshore Harbor Center southeast of Slidell.

Salmen High School graduates will receive their diplomas in a 7:30 p.m. ceremony to be held at Northshore Harbor Center tonight Monday, May 11.

Slidell High School diplomas will be distributed to graduating seniors on Thursday, May 14, beginning at 8:00 p.m. in the stadium at Slidell High School.

For a printout of graduation dates and times, click here.


(05-05-2009)

Woodlake Elementary Educator Honored

John Blake, a second grade teacher at Woodlake Elementary School in Mandeville, has been named a “Tech4Learning Innovative Educator" by a company that encourages technology use by young students.
 
“I was awarded the honor because of the videos my students made about conservation,” Blake said.
 
A company spokesman said they were thrilled to recognize the work that he was doing with various graphics software programs, thanking him for his continued support in educating 21st century students with advanced technology tools.
  
His work was commended for having an outstanding impact on student learning, and he will receive a special certificate and a symbolic badge for his website.
 
Dr. Jean Krieger, principal of Woodlake, said the school was proud of his latest in a series of recognitions for technology implementation in the classroom.
 
The Tech4Learning Innovative Educator program is designed to recognize the work that exceptional classroom teachers, community organizations, and principals are doing with Tech4Learning products.
 
Teachers named as Tech4Learning Innovative Educators are often invited to join beta software testing teams and to speak at educational conferences.
 
Nominees for the award submitted classroom-produced images or movies that were judged on the completeness of the story told about their classroom innovation, the creativity of submission (video, digital documentary, etc.), and the use of effective instructional strategies, such as differentiation, meeting of multiple intelligences, and a UDL approach.



(05-05-2009)

Lakeshore High Gets Grant Funds For Greenhouse

The horticulture program at Lakeshore High School will get off to a good start next year thanks to a $29,000 grant from the state Department of Education that will help pay for a greenhouse on the new campus.

A 30 foot by 60 foot greenhouse has been added to the list of the school’s facilities to be ready by next fall, enabling it to offer instruction in the planting and care of flowering plants as well as edible produce. It’s part of an effort to emphasize new “green” concepts into the curriculum, especially the skills of gardening and greenhouse management.

“We see this as a way to give our students a variety of learning opportunities in horticulture and agriculture, from decorative flowers and bedding plants to ferns and growing their own food,” said Senior Secondary Supervisor Denise Parker. “This is the best way to use the grant’s funds since it teaches green skills, conserves energy, and produces food all at the same time.”

Greenhouses have become a standard feature at high schools across the parish, and the state money will enable Lakeshore High to start its horticulture program with a greenhouse of its own. The structure will feature a concrete slab, a sidewall height of six feet, ventilating fans, a heating system, and overhead sprinkler system. It will be located near the existing agriculture building.


(04-30-2009)

School Officials Continue To Monitor Swine Flu Situation

St. Tammany Parish Public School System officials continue to closely monitor news and public health alerts related to the swine flu outbreak in Mexico and several states. They are staying in contact with local public health agencies and following the advisories of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as the situation progresses. School nurses are instructing students on the proper way to wash their hands to prevent the spread of infection, and students are being reminded to cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough. All schools across the parish are also viewing a video provided by the CDC that details the proper way to wash hands.“Our students have always been encouraged to wash their hands before eating breakfast or lunch, and we are reminding them the importance of doing so in the present situation,” said Meredith Mendez, Director of Public Information.

For more information about swine flu symptoms, click here. To view the video provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on the proper way for washing hands, click here. To play the video, you will need the free Quicktime player installed on your computer.


(04-28-2009)

Swine Flu Situation Being Monitored

St. Tammany Parish Public School System officials are closely monitoring the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and in the United States.
 
“We are following the advisories of the Centers for Disease Control and staying in close contact with public health officials in St. Tammany Parish,” said Meredith Mendez, Director of Public Information for the School System. 

While there have been no cases of the swine flu reported in Louisiana, the schools are doing everything possible to protect the health of our students. Schools already practice a number of measures to prevent the spread of disease among student populations. “All employees and students are urged to use ‘universal precautions’ in dealing with sickness in the schools, especially by washing hands frequently and using sanitizers when possible,” Ms. Mendez said.

For more information about swine flu symptoms, click here.


(04-24-2009)

Substitute Appreciation Day Held In Schools

To show gratitude for the services provided by substitute employees, schools across the parish took time on Wednesday, April 22,  to thank their substitutes and acknowledge their contributions to the continuity of education in the community.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Pete Jabbia told the School Board at its April meeting that it was important for the schools to be “substitute friendly,” encouraging the recognition of substitutes for their dedication and hard work.

“Our substitute program has grown to approximately 3,850 active employees who support teachers, paraprofessionals, bus operators, clerical, lunchroom technicians, custodians, and other support personnel,” Jabbia stated. “Each school has been asked to submit a nominee for Substitute of the Year to recognize outstanding substitutes for their service and positive impact in our schools.”

A resolution passed by the Board declared April 22 as “Substitute Appreciation Day.” It mentioned the diversity of their talents, the contribution they make to the education of children when called upon, and the flexibility needed to adapt to different grade levels, classroom settings, and instructional plans on a day-to-day basis. “Their efforts to meet the needs of the children when teachers and other personnel are away from school is a meaningful contribution to the community,” the resolution stated.

For a slideshow of Substitute Appreciation Day photos, click here for wmv file. (Requires Windows Media Player to see photos)


(04-23-2009)

Louisiana School Lunch Week Celebrated

Schools throughout St. Tammany Parish took part in Louisiana School Lunch Week April 20 through April 24 with special programs during lunch. Visitors were invited to come to the schools and enjoy a meal with their children or grandchildren, accompanied by entertainment such as singing, dancing and skits presented by the students.

All year long, nutritional information about healthy food choices are presented by the schools using special bulletin board displays, classroom visits by lunchroom personnel, and the student-oriented Nutrition Advisory Councils which help personalize school lunches while insuring healthy choices.

School Lunch Week focuses on the fun aspects and importance of eating a healthy breakfast and lunch.

Giving students a role in learning about nutrition, designing appealing menus, and showing what they have learned has made the St. Tammany Parish Public School System Food Service a nationally-recognized leader in student nutrition.


(04-23-2009)

Earth Day Activities Held Across Parish

The international observance of Earth Day on April 22 made its mark in schools across St. Tammany Parish as students participated in a large number of events from planting trees on campus to classroom lessons about the environment.

Activities included arts and crafts projects using organic materials, viewing videos about Earth Day and the reasons behind it, and assembling and planting flower beds around the school buildings complete with stepping stones and benches.

Planting trees was a popular activity with the students, and at one school all the students were given the chance to throw a handful of mulch on the ground around the new trees at their school. Students also built bird feeders, made papier mache Earths, and read books about conservation of natural resources. 

In a community clean up project, students were asked to bring items to school to put in recycling bins, and other neighborhood beautification events were also held.

For photographs of Earth Day activities, Click Here. (Windows Media Player wmv file). Additional photos may be found on the Photo Gallery Page.


(04-23-2009)

Schools Commended For Meeting Accountability Goals

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education recently named the K-12 Schools that met or exceeded growth target goals in the state's Accountability Program for the 2008-2009 School Year. Twelve St. Tammany public schools were on the list.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Arabie reported at a recent School Board meeting that five St. Tammany schools had been honored for their “Recognized Academic Growth” and seven schools had been named to the list for “Exemplary Academic Growth.”

The purpose of this program is to recognize those schools that meet or surpass their growth target for the performance of specific groups of students. The growth targets are determined by a school’s performance score baseline and how well it has done in the past year in improving its academic instruction.

Schools in St. Tammany awarded the “Recognized Academic Growth” label this year were Abita Springs Elementary School, Fontainebleau High School, Lake Harbor Middle School, Madisonville Elementary School, and Madisonville Junior High School. Schools earning the “Exemplary Academic Growth” designation were Bayou Lacombe Middle School, Boyet Junior High School, Carolyn Park Middle School, Fontainebleau Junior High School, Little Oak Middle School, Mandeville Junior High School, and Sixth Ward Elementary School.

A “Recognized Academic Growth” school met its growth target for the year, and schools given an “Exemplary Academic Growth” label have met state-designated growth targets and have grown at least 2 points in the assessment indices for specific student groups.


(04-23-2009)

GED Graduation Set for May 26

The 24th Annual Graduation Ceremony for General Educational Development (GED) diploma recipients will be held on Tuesday, May 26, 2009, at 7:00 p.m., at Pelican Park in the Castine Center in Mandeville.  The St. Tammany Parish School Board Adult Education Program holds the event for those students who have earned a GED diploma during the 2008-2009 school year. Also invited to attend are students’ families and friends.

The GED is an equivalency diploma, which is earned by passing a rigorous national examination.  Students must gain proficiency in math, English, reading, science and social studies for graduation. Graduates range in age from teens to senior citizens.

Students must register for graduation and pay a graduation fee of $37 (money order only) for their cap, gown and tassel.  They may also purchase invitations at time of registration.  Proper identification and a copy of diploma or GED scores should be brought at the time of registration.  

The following is a list of places, dates and, times for graduates to register for participation in the 2008-2009 GED cap and gown graduation ceremony.

Harrison Curriculum Center, Adult Education Classroom, 706 W. 28th Ave., Covington, LA (985) 892-7626.  May 5, 2009 – May 14, 2009 (Monday thru Thursday).

Slidell Church of Christ, Adult Education Classroom, 994 Old Spanish Trail, Slidell, LA.  (985) 646-4924.  May 5, 2009 – May 15, 2009 (Monday thru Friday).

The St. Tammany Parish School Board Adult Education Program seeks those adults who would like to complete their high school education and earn their high school diploma.  For further information about enrolling in the GED Program, please call (985) 892-7626 in Covington or in Slidell (985) 646-4924.    GED services are offered at no charge to the student.


(04-14-2009)

Superintendent’s Character Award Winner Named

A community service program partnering middle school students with senior citizens at a Northshore nursing home has won the 2008-2009 Superintendent’s Award for Outstanding Character and Citizenship.

The Tchefuncte Middle School fifth grade’s K.I.S.S. (Kids Interacting with Seniors Successfully) project was recognized at the Thursday, April 9, School Board meeting as the winner of the award which seeks to spotlight individuals and groups taking part in character-building activities.

The K.I.S.S. program won recognition also as a Learn and Serve intergenerational grant project put together by teachers Heidi Rhea and Ceres Kitchens. Its purpose is to build relationships between two fifth grade classes at Tchefuncte Middle School and their “senior buddies” at a Mandeville area nursing home. Twice a month, students visit the nursing home and take part in birthday parties, conduct interviews which will result in the students writing their senior partner’s biography at the end of the year, and the development of communication skills, acceptance, open mindedness, and tolerance.

Friendships result from the community interaction, and students come away from the encounters with a greater awareness of the need for courtesy, respect, and concern, said Ms. Rhea.

Finalist honors in this year’s Superintendent’s Award program went to the Random Acts of Kindness Club at Abney Elementary School in Slidell.

Teacher Alison Ryan said the project was to encourage showing kindness among students with the setting of monthly goals. “There are no external rewards given for our students when participating in our activities,” Ms. Ryan stated. “The aim of the club was to enable students to experience the intrinsic good feelings of being kind and showing respectful behavior.”

Students are “caught” by others who see them showing kindness, and after five random acts of kindness are credited to them, the student becomes an official member of the club.  “We have close to 936 students who have been recognized for doing some type of kind act,” Ms. Ryan commented.

A special award was also presented at the School Board meeting as Superintendent Gayle Sloan recognized Brock Elementary School for its “remarkable resilience and dedication following Hurricane Katrina.” The school was heavily damaged by the storm four years ago, and after moving from campus to campus hosted by other schools, the student body and staff returned home to a newly-repaired and renovated Brock Elementary last December.

Several public programs have been held since to give the community a look at the restoration of the historic downtown Slidell educational landmark.  Students and staff have expressed their great appreciation to local, state, and federal officials who helped provide the funding to rebuild the structure, which at one point was considered for demolition due to the extensive damage resulting from Katrina.

The Superintendent’s Award for Outstanding Character and Citizenship was initiated in 2003 to give the School System an opportunity to reflect on the many outstanding acts of character and/or citizenship by individuals and groups. The program aims to encourage and recognize the value of teaching and modeling good character and citizenship among the educators, staff, students, and groups within the System.

 


(04-09-2009)

Booster Club Policy Adopted After Revisions

A new policy detailing best fiscal practices for Booster Clubs was adopted by the St. Tammany Parish School Board April 9.

The policy was introduced in March to help safeguard the trust of those who spend much time and effort in working in booster clubs and associated fund-raising activities.  Before the policy was adopted, a number of suggested revisions were included in the guidelines for implementing the document. The revisions reflected comments and concerns received from parents, administrators and booster club members.

Booster clubs provide substantial assistance to schools, Superintendent Gayle Sloan said, and many parents agreed that a definite Board policy would help assure members that booster clubs would operate in a sound fiscal manner.
Clubs that incorporate the name of the school itself into the organization’s name will have to obtain written permission every year from the school principal to continue using the name.

To read the policy, click here.

Principals have expressed concern in situations where outside sales organizations try to give the impression that they represent the school in some way. The booster club policy addresses those concerns as well.

 


(04-08-2009)

Mandeville High Stadium Named In Honor of Coach Theriot

The football stadium at Mandeville High School has been named in honor of Coach Sid Theriot, the long time coach and math teacher who started the first football program at the school in the mid-1960’s. A plaque with his name and likeness will be installed at the Mandeville Skippers home field, with a special ceremony planned in the fall.

Coach Theriot attended the April 9 School Board meeting where the honor was bestowed, and he expressed his appreciation for the recognition. His work and dedication earned him a standing ovation at the meeting and an outpouring of gratitude from the community which benefitted from his more than 40 years as a coach and educator.

Widespread support of the proposal to rename the stadium came from former students, administrators, and former football players in Theriot’s athletics programs. Mike Dobson, who played on the school’s first football team in 1967, spearheaded the request to rename the facility and asked the School Board at its April 2 meeting to consider the action.

Theriot had considerable positive impact on the lives of those student athletes who were under his direction, Dobson said. Fontainebleau High School Principal Johnny Vitrano agreed with the renaming proposal and noted that Theriot still serves today as a substitute teacher at his school.
A new state law allows the naming of athletic facilities after individuals while they are alive, while other types of public buildings cannot be named after an individual until a year after their death. Prior to the new law, special legislation had to be passed to name Covington High Stadium after Coach Jack Salter and Slidell High School Stadium after L. V. McGinty, Sr.
In his comments about Theriot, Dobson said that few people have ever had to overcome the hurdles associated with starting a football program from scratch.  “St. Tammany Parish has grown exponentially since the football program was started at the then very small MHS in the spring of 1967,” he commented. “Every new school that has been started since then has at least had some students that had a prior opportunity to participate in organized football.  Coach Theriot did not have that luxury, in fact to my knowledge none of the 30 plus players had any prior 11 man football playing experience.”
That first year of Mandeville High football Theriot and his volunteer assistants taught the new players how to properly put on the equipment, learn the basics, give maximum effort, and compete with dignity and class, Dobson went on to say.  “Coach Theriot laid out the field, planted, watered, and cut the grass, lined the field before home games, washed the uniforms after the games, prepared scouting reports of the next games, wrote the articles that appeared in the paper, and many times drove the team bus,” Dobson recalled. “He had tremendous work ethic, taught us the value of teamwork, and was unselfish with his time and effort.”

 


(04-07-2009)

Spring/Easter Break Now Underway

The week-long Spring/Easter break for St. Tammany Parish Public School students began Friday, April 10.  Students do not have to report to school  through Friday, April 17. Classes resume on April 20.

School Board support offices were closed Friday, April 10, and Monday, April 13, and re-opened on April 14.


(04-06-2009)

New Elementary School Named After Marigny

The new Kindergarten and first grade school on Soult Street in Mandeville has been named Marigny Elementary School in honor of Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, the founder of Mandeville.

Principal Leslie Martin appeared before the School Board on April 2 to propose the name following March meetings of a naming committee made up of parents, teachers, and a supervisor. The Board voted April 9 to make it official.

The committee sent a letter out to ask for input from all Magnolia Trace Elementary parents and employees who will be making the move to the new school, and several possible names were suggested. Marigny was a well-known Louisiana political figure active in the development of the Mandeville area.

Principal Martin also reported that the committee decided they would like to designate the starfish as the school mascot and light blue and red as the school colors.

The new school is scheduled to open next fall. Located not far from Magnolia Trace Elementary, the $15.8 million project was designed by the Gossen-Gasaway-Bankston architectural firm and is being built by Woodrow Wilson Construction Co. Inc. with funding being provided by the 2004 Bond Issue. Work began in November of 2007.

A separate project is placing an access road from La. Hwy. 59 to the school site.

Superintendent Gayle Sloan told the Board that Principal Leslie Martin was doing a wonderful job of getting things ready at the new elementary school. “It’s a big job to get a new school open, and while Ms. Martin is still working at her post at Woodlake Elementary, things are coming along very well,” she said.

Bernard de Marigny was a French-Creole American nobleman born in 1785 in New Orleans. He served on the New Orleans City Council between 1811 and 1814 and was president of the Louisiana Senate between 1822 and 1823. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1828. Marigny was active in subdividing and selling land parcels in New Orleans and on the North Shore.

 


(04-03-2009)

Proposal Presented To Name Mandeville High Stadium After Coach

A Mandeville High School graduate who played on the school’s first football team in 1967 has asked the School Board to name the Mandeville High School stadium after Coach Sid Theriot. The Board will consider action on the request at its April 9 meeting.

Mike Dobson said that Theriot had “incredible positive impact” on the lives of those student athletes who were under his direction. He recounted the first season played by the team, the challenges they faced, and the life lessons they experienced. Theriot was credited with going door to door that first year to drum up public support for the creation of the football team. Even outside the sports program, many MHS alumni remember Theriot as an excellent math teacher, he said.

Fontainebleau High School Principal Johnny Vitrano agreed that Theriot deserved the honor and recognition being proposed, and that he still serves today as a substitute teacher at his school.

Mandeville High Principal Bruce Bundy has reviewed the request and agrees with the proposal, according to Superintendent Gayle Sloan. She told the Board that new state legislation allows the naming of athletic facilities after individuals while they are alive. Generally, state law prevents naming public facilities after persons until a year after their death, and special legislation had to be passed to name Covington High Stadium after Coach Jack Salter and Slidell High School Stadium after L. V. McGinty, Sr.


(04-03-2009)

Proposed Booster Club Policy Revised After Public Input

A newly revised proposed Booster Club policy was presented to the St. Tammany Parish School Board April 2 following public input on the document first introduced last month.

Superintendent Gayle Sloan told the board in March that while booster clubs provide substantial assistance to schools, an official policy was needed to safeguard the trust of those who spend much time and effort in working in those booster clubs. She introduced new text into the proposed policy that addressed comments and concerns received from parents, administrators and booster club members.

No one objected to a uniform set of rules for booster clubs, she said, and many agreed that a definite policy would help assure parents that the booster clubs they joined as their children progressed from one school to the next would operate in a sound fiscal manner.

The School Board has no direct oversight over booster club operations, but officials felt that such clubs would benefit from the new policy. Particular attention is being directed towards clubs that incorporate the name of the school itself into the organization’s name. The policy proposes that clubs wishing to use school’s name will have to get written permission every year from the school principal to continue using the name.
 
While acknowledging that booster clubs contribute to the educational and extra-curricular mission of the schools, the policy and Superintendent guidelines call for the organizations to use responsible procedures for the collection and handling of monies. Since many of the projects conducted by such booster clubs require and enjoy administrative support, the policy encourages school administrators to cooperate with the fund raising and other efforts, while providing a “clear understanding” of what is expected of them.

To read the policy and related documents, click here.

Principals have commented that the new policy will help clear up some issues, particularly in those situations where outside sales organizations try to give the impression that they represent the school in some way.



http://www.stpsb.org/Policies/ProposedBoosterClubTotal.pdf

(04-02-2009)

Rivers Crest As Flooding Eases

School System officials are continuing to monitor how high water conditions are affecting access to schools in the area east and north of Slidell.

Emergency management officials warned the School System earlier this week of possible flooding when the West Pearl River crested Thursday morning.

Schools began administering LEAP testing on Wednesday. Parents are assured that if students miss any LEAP tests as a result of access problems due to flooding, there will be time in next week’s schedule to make-up any missed tests.


3/31/2009 Flooding Causes Concern

Predictions of severe flooding along the Pearl River are causing School System Officials to keep an eye on how high water conditions will impact access to Honey Island Elementary, Cypress Cove Elementary, Riverside Elementary, Little Oak Middle School, Boyet Junior High School, and Creekside Junior High School.

Schools began administering LEAP testing on Wednesday. Parents are assured that if students miss any LEAP tests as a result of access problems due to flooding, there will be time in next week’s schedule to make-up any missed tests.

Emergency management officials notified the School System of possible flooding when the West Pearl River reaches its crest on Thursday morning, April 2. Some streets east of Military Road are expected to be impassible. Families living in those areas may be required to seek shelter if their homes become inaccessible. emergency officials said, adding that high waters may reach the flood levels experienced in 1983.

In the northeast section of St. Tammany Parish, flood warnings were given along the Bogue Chitto River near Bush.


3/30/2009 Slidell High Holds Centennial Celebration Gala Event

Slidell High School celebrated its Centennial Year March 28  with a special gathering honoring the history and heritage of the school. Centennial Day festivities included a parade around the campus, special musical presentations, and a tribute to former Principal L. V. McGinty, Sr. A large number of alumni of the school attended, including several School Board members. 

Among the special guests was Mrs. Elinor B. McGinty of the Class of 1931 and wife of the late Principal McGinty. A video program produced by Channel 13 was shown in the library, detailing Mr. McGinty’s many contributions to the school during the 40 years he served as teacher, coach, and principal between 1931 and 1976. 

Also on hand at the gala was former Prinicipal Joseph C. Buccaran (1976-2003).

A specially-designed Centennial Garden was dedicated. The new garden is located at the front entrance of the school and contains plants, trees, a performance area, and wood decks. Bricks honoring many graduates were engraved and placed in a memorial circle in the new garden area, which will also serve as a meeting place for concerts by the band, performances by the choir, and special event day programs.

The Slidell High NJROTC presented the colors for the main program, which featured present and past students giving the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the National Anthem.

The special day’s event featured a Showstoppers revue of moments from senior plays from years past, a Centennial cheer and dance by the cheerleading squad, and country music by Jenny Brooks of the Class of 1989. The program ended with a powder-puff football game at the school stadium named after McGinty.

Special guest Matt Forte, a player with the Chicago Bears football team and member of the Slidell High Class of 2004, met with guests in the gymnasium, and the popular area band Vince Vance and the Valiants performed on the main stage at the gala. Current and past members of the Slidell High Jazz Ensemble also entertained those attending. A variety of school memorabilia from across the years were brought in by alumni and put on display in the library.

The project involved scores of students, alumni, and community leaders. Over the past year, the school’s Centennial Committee has sponsored a series of projects and events which included official Centennial posters, story books, and commemorative T-Shirts. Throughout the year Communication Academy students  video-taped interviews with former students, and these interviews were distributed on DVD’s at the final program.

The Centennial Year’s events started with a Heritage Festival on July 4, 2008, continued with a homecoming pep rally, football game and dance in mid-October, and an Old Towne Alive “Birthday Party” in November, which was accompanied by a parade and musical performances.

Slidell High School was the only high school in the area until the late 1960’s, and many present-day members of the community graduated from the school.

Committee members for the Centennial Program included Donna Manetta and Tracy Krieger, overall co-chairmen; Senior Chief Ray Gonzales and Joanie Reeves, Centennial Garden committee; Mike Gambrell and Joe Anderson, commemorative sporting events; Ann Lott, Centennial T-Shirt and Poster; and Mrs. Margie Packer, story keeper and oral history recorder.

For photo, click here.

To view McGinty video tribute, click here.


3/30/2009 Attorney General Tours Fontainebleau High School Security Camera System

After attending a detailed presentation on security measures being instituted by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell toured Fontainebleau High School Tuesday for a first-hand look at newly-installed security cameras. St. Tammany schools are installing hundreds of video cameras system-wide as a result of funding approved by voters in a recent bond issue.

Superintendent Gayle Sloan welcomed the Attorney General and his staff members, giving an overview of the purposes, design, and funding of the new security camera system. Deputy Superintendent Trey Folse explained how the system worked, and Director of Information Technology Louis Boullion and FHS Principal Johnny Vitrano gave a demonstration of the versatility and coverage offered by the cameras.

Several other principals told Attorney General Caldwell, how, in specific cases, the security cameras had aided them in evaluating fight scenes, recovering stolen items, and in some cases pinpointing positive behavior for which the principal praised the individuals involved. The cameras are helping to cut back vandalism, reduce disturbances, keep a close eye on visitors arriving to the campus, and even find lost items. The video system saves principals time by showing them immediately who the culprits are in an incident, eliminating hours of interviews with witnesses while figuring out what actually happened.

Vitrano and Boullion illustrated how desktop computer software controlled the cameras, showing several screens at a time, singling out one camera full screen, and zooming the camera in on areas of interest. Camera images are recorded for easy playback, with a computerized timeline automatically indicating times of increased activity within the camera range.

Caldwell congratulated St. Tammany school officials for implementing a highly effective system, one which incorporates many of the suggestions his office has been making. He has recommended that School Systems around the state adopt better security measures, particularly camera systems. “It’s all about getting to the truth of a situation quickly,” he said. “You have taken a holistic approach and involved everyone, teachers, parents, and the community.”

Now that the students know that the cameras are video-taping them, student behavior has improved, the principals stated. “Even if they don’t know you have a camera on them or not, their behavior will change for the better,” Caldwell said. “The community sees these kinds of results and knows you are providing for the safety and security of their children.”

A video update of security measures taken by the School System in the past few years also detailed the new visitor authorization procedures, new fingerprinting technology for employee applicants, and the active shooter drill held last year to test law enforcement response to a simulated school emergency.

On the video program, Supervisor of Administration Mike Cosse and Deputy Superintendent Folse explained how the tragic events across the nation over the past several years encouraged the School System to apply for a federal grant to improve security measures. As a result, school-level and district-level administrators are all striving to work more closely with local law enforcement agencies. New crisis plans and emergency management efforts were among the improvements. Many new technological tools were brought into use as well, the video security cameras being just one of the measures being implemented.

CLICK HERE for photo.


3/29/2009 Standardized Testing Now Underway

Beginning Wednesday, April 1, and running through Thursday, April  9, students in the St. Tammany Parish Public Schools System are being administered standardized tests required by the state of Louisiana’s Accountability Program.

Given once each year, the high stakes criterion-referenced LEAP testing for fourth graders and eighth graders will assess student performance in State-developed academic content standards in English/language arts, math, science, and social studies. LEAP test results are used to determine student promotion to the next grade level.

Students in Grades 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9 will be taking the iLEAP tests, which are based in part on the norm-referenced IOWA tests and specifically-developed criterion-referenced items measuring content standards and grade-level expectations.

Individual test results may fall within five achievement categories: Advanced, Mastery, Basic, Approaching Basic, and Unsatisfactory.

Tenth grade students will take the English/language arts and mathematics sections of the Graduate Exit Exam (GEE), and eleventh grade students will take the science and social studies components of the GEE. Students who do not pass the required GEE tests are offered remediation and multiple opportunities to retake the necessary portions.


3/19/2008 Senator Vitter Hosts Academy Day

Academy Day will be held April 25, 2009, from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm at the Instructional Technology Center, 2024 Livingston Street, Mandeville. 2009 Academy Day is sponsored by U. S. Senator David Vitter. Attending a U. S. Service Academy is an honor that is offered to only a few outstanding students. The 2009 Academy Day is a chance for students to meet with Senator Vitter's staff and Representatives from each of the five academies. This forum will provide the opportunity to ask questions directly, which will in turn enable interested students to make a more informed decision regarding the possible future of a military education.

 


 

3/18/2009 Board Seeks Booster Club Policy Public Input

The St. Tammany Parish School Board is seeking public input on a proposed new policy for school booster clubs. Acknowledging that booster clubs provide substantial assistance to schools, Superintendent Gayle Sloan told the board in March that an official policy was needed to safeguard the trust of those who spend much time and effort in working in those booster clubs.
 
The booster club policy proposes to define “sound fiscal practices” for such organizations, which are not normally officially linked to the School System but do contribute to the educational and extra-curricular mission of the schools.

The School Board agreed to open the policy up for public review and comment. Actual adoption of the policy may take place in April.

To read the policy and related documents, click here.

The policy calls for booster clubs to provide procedures for the collection and handling of monies. “It is critical that our community trust that those who solicit and manage funds intended to serve our students are operating in a sound, reliable fiscal mode of operation,” the policy states.

Since many of the projects conducted by such booster clubs require and enjoy administrative support, the policy encourages school administrators to cooperate with the fund raising and other efforts, while providing a “clear understanding” of what is expected of them.

The booster club policy does not affect programs conducted by the local and national PTA organization, since that group has their own requirements for internal and external accounting controls.

Accompanying the adoption of the policy would be a list of proposed guidelines on how it would be implemented. Among the guidelines are school administrator reviews and approval of all new booster clubs and their proposed activities, a provision that the name of the booster club may not include the name of the school itself, and a requirement that school-appointed faculty sponsors or liaisons must attend all of the club’s general membership and board meetings. Those sponsors and liaisons cannot be members or officers of the club, however.

The guidelines state that booster clubs shall develop and maintain by-laws that define membership in the group, election of officers, and implementation of appropriate auditing measures for fiscal responsibility. It is also expected that fund-raising and other club activities will be reviewed and approved beforehand by the sponsor, coach or school liaison to the club.

To email a comment on the proposed policy, click here or email your input to Public.Comment@stpsb.org.

Mrs. Sloan noted that the school board does not audit or otherwise oversee the handling of funds by booster clubs. On occasion, school officials are invited to look at booster club activities and review their fiscal policies. Principals have commented that the new policy will help clear up some issues, particularly in those situations where outside sales organizations try to give the impression that they represent the school in some way.


3/18/2009 Registration Scheduled For Kindergarten, First Grade

Spring registration for the 2009-2010 school year will begin April 20, 2009, for students entering kindergarten or first grade for the first time in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.  

Registration for the 2009-2010 pre-kindergarten classes will be held at a later date. The announcement of specific registration dates and times for each school will be listed in local newspapers and on the School System Web site.

Any child born before October 1, 2003, will be eligible for the first grade, and any child born before October 1, 2004, will be eligible for kindergarten.

All kindergarten and first grade students will register at the elementary school the student will attend.  Students who attended and completed a public school kindergarten during the 2008-2009 school year will not be required to register again for the first grade.

Every child, as a prerequisite to enrollment in any first grade of a public school, shall meet one of the following criteria: have attended a full-day public or private kindergarten for a full academic year; or have satisfactorily passed academic readiness screening at the time of enrollment for first grade. Students who have completed kindergarten at an accredited private school must furnish proof of attendance.

Registration for all students entering the St. Tammany Parish public schools for the first time will be held at the school the student will attend with the exception of the new elementary school in Mandeville scheduled to open for the 2009-2010 school year.  The registration for the new elementary school in Mandeville will be held at Magnolia Trace Elementary. 

Hours of registration will be 9:00 a.m. until noon on the following dates.

REGISTRATION SCHEDULE 

April 20, 2009 -Monday   

Chahta-Ima Elementary
Fifth Ward Junior High
Little Pearl Elementary
Mandeville Elementary     

April 21, 2009 - Tuesday    

Abita Springs Elementary  
Bonne Ecole Elementary
Brock Elementary
Lyon Elementary
Madisonville Elementary
Magnolia Trace Elementary
New Elementary School in Mandeville 
        (registration for new school will be held at Magnolia Trace Elementary)
Pontchartrain Elementary
Riverside Elementary
Whispering Forest Elementary
Woodlake Elementary

April 22, 2009 - Wednesday    

Abney Elementary
Alton Elementary
Bayou Woods Elementary
Covington Elementary
Cypress Cove Elementary
Folsom Elementary 
Florida Avenue Elementary
Lee Road Junior High
Sixth Ward Elementary     

REQUIREMENTS FOR REGISTRATION
 The following items are required for student registration:
               1.  State Certified Birth Certificate;
               2.  Health Record of Required Immunization;
               3.  Proof of Residency;
               4.  Social Security Card;
               5.  Custody Papers (if applicable).

State Certified Birth Certificate.   Those who do not have a birth certificate may contact a St. Tammany Parish School Board Annex in their area for information on how to obtain one.  Contact the Covington Annex at 985-898-3370 or the Slidell Annex at 985-646-4917.

Health Record.  State Law requires that all children attending school in the State of Louisiana have the following immunizations.  This requirement includes students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.  Included are students who are coming into the St. Tammany Parish Public School System from another parish, state or nonpublic school.

  1. DTP  (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis or Whooping Cough) – A minimum of four (4) doses is required.  The last DTP or a booster is to be given after the fourth birthday.         
  2. Polio – A minimum of three (3) doses is required.  The last polio or booster is to be given after the fourth birthday.
  3. MMR  (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) -  One (1) dose is required at twelve to fifteen months of age.  A second MMR is required before entry to school.
  4. Hepatitis B – Three (3) doses are required for first time enrollees into Louisiana public schools.
  5. HIB – Four (4) doses or proof of at least one dose after fifteen (15) months of age are required for pre-kindergarten and noncategorical students to enter school.
  6. Varicella (Chickenpox) – Two (2) doses or a history of the disease is required for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.
  7. MCV4 (Meningococcal Conjugate) – Required for all students entering grade 6 or eleven (11) years old in any other grade.  These students must also have proof of booster doses of Tdap, MMR, and Chickenpox.

Dates of the above required immunizations must be recorded on an official immunization form and presented to the school at the time of registration.  Contact the Slidell Health Unit at (985) 646-6445, the Covington Community Wellness Center at (985) 871-6030 or the Greater New Orleans (GNO) Immunization Network Mobile Unit at (504) 733-3268 for immunization information.

The immunization policy of the St. Tammany Parish School Board dictates that no child be allowed to enter school without proof of immunizations.

Proof of residency.   Proof of residency must be established using at least three of the documents listed below.  Documents that are suspect or inconclusive may be disallowed and additional documentation may be required.  All documents must be the most current available. 

Documentation may consist of a current utility bill (butane, electric, gas, water, cable or satellite communication bill), the current year W-2 form, the most recent federal or state income tax return, a vehicle insurance print-out from the parent’s or legal guardian’s insurance company, a signed residential building contract, a signed real estate lease agreement or signed mortgage loan documentation.  All documents must show the name of the parent or legal guardian, the street or road address of residence or the utility service address (if using utility bills).  Lease agreements must show street or road location and must be from a real estate office, apartment complex or mobile home property, not from an individual.

U.  S. Post Office box numbers, printed checks or drivers’ licenses are NOT considered proof of residency.

Social Security Card.  The Social Security number serves as the student identification number on all records.  The Social Security number written on a piece of paper cannot be accepted.  

Custody Papers.  Parents or guardians granted custodial rights of a student must present at registration the custody papers granted through a court system.

 


3/20/2009 School Calendar for 2009-2010 Approved

Friday, August 7, will be the first day of school next School Year, according to the new 2009-2010 School Calendar approved by a vote of St. Tammany Parish Public School Employees and presented to the School Board Thursday night.

The new calendar (PDF file) may be viewed by clicking here.

A committee presented two suggested calendars to the employees earlier in March, and Calendar A received 2,968 votes and Calendar B received 506 votes.

In the calendar, teachers first report to work on August 5, the Thanksgiving holidays run from November 23 through November 27, and the Christmas holidays/Winter Break starts December 21 and continues through January 1. School reopens in 2010 for the second semester on January 4.

The Mardi Gras holidays run from February 15 through February 19, and the Spring/Easter Break begins March 29 and goes through April 5, with classes resuming on April 6. The last day of school for students next year will be May 21.


3/19/2009 Salmen High Wins Class 4A State Championship Game

The Salmen Spartans defeated Bossier City in state basketball competition March 13, outpacing the BearKats 61 to 46 and putting the state championship in the Spartans' grasp. It was the first state boys basketball championship won by a St. Tammany team in the past 50 years, and the first title won by the Salmen squad in over 44 seasons.

The State Farm Boys Top 28 Class 4A Championship took place at the Cajundome in Lafayette, with Coach Jesse Carlin taking his Spartan team to the top. “We beat some of the best Louisiana basketball has to offer in our playoff run,” he said. For the season, Salmen boasted a 32-2 win-loss record.

For a short video featuring the Salmen win, click here.


3/19/2009 Senator Vitter Hosts Academy Day

Academy Day will be held April 25, 2009, from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm at the Instructional Technology Center, 2024 Livingston Street, Mandeville. 2009 Academy Day is sponsored by U. S. Senator David Vitter. Attending a U. S. Service Academy is an honor that is offered to only a few outstanding students. The 2009 Academy Day is a chance for students to meet with Senator Vitter's staff and Representatives from each of the five academies. This forum will provide the opportunity to ask questions directly, which will in turn enable interested students to make a more informed decision regarding the possible future of a military education.

3/18/2009 Registration Scheduled for Kindergarten, First Grade

Spring registration for the 2009-2010 school year will begin April 20, 2009, for students entering kindergarten or first grade for the first time in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.  

Registration for the 2009-2010 pre-kindergarten classes will be held at a later date. The announcement of specific registration dates and times for each school will be listed in local newspapers and on the School System Web site.

Any child born before October 1, 2003, will be eligible for the first grade, and any child born before October 1, 2004, will be eligible for kindergarten.

All kindergarten and first grade students will register at the elementary school the student will attend.  Students who attended and completed a public school kindergarten during the 2008-2009 school year will not be required to register again for the first grade.

Every child, as a prerequisite to enrollment in any first grade of a public school, shall meet one of the following criteria: have attended a full-day public or private kindergarten for a full academic year; or have satisfactorily passed academic readiness screening at the time of enrollment for first grade. Students who have completed kindergarten at an accredited private school must furnish proof of attendance.

Registration for all students entering the St. Tammany Parish public schools for the first time will be held at the school the student will attend with the exception of the new elementary school in Mandeville scheduled to open for the 2009-2010 school year.  The registration for the new elementary school in Mandeville will be held at Magnolia Trace Elementary. 

Hours of registration will be 9:00 a.m. until noon on the following dates.

REGISTRATION SCHEDULE 

April 20, 2009 -Monday   

Chahta-Ima Elementary
Fifth Ward Junior High
Little Pearl Elementary
Mandeville Elementary     

April 21, 2009 - Tuesday    

Abita Springs Elementary  
Bonne Ecole Elementary
Brock Elementary
Lyon Elementary
Madisonville Elementary
Magnolia Trace Elementary
New Elementary School in Mandeville 
        (registration for new school will be held at Magnolia Trace Elementary)
Pontchartrain Elementary
Riverside Elementary
Whispering Forest Elementary
Woodlake Elementary

April 22, 2009 - Wednesday    

Abney Elementary
Alton Elementary
Bayou Woods Elementary
Covington Elementary
Cypress Cove Elementary
Folsom Elementary 
Florida Avenue Elementary
Lee Road Junior High
Sixth Ward Elementary     

REQUIREMENTS FOR REGISTRATION
 The following items are required for student registration:
               1.  State Certified Birth Certificate;
               2.  Health Record of Required Immunization;
               3.  Proof of Residency;
               4.  Social Security Card;
               5.  Custody Papers (if applicable).

State Certified Birth Certificate.   Those who do not have a birth certificate may contact a St. Tammany Parish School Board Annex in their area for information on how to obtain one.  Contact the Covington Annex at 985-898-3370 or the Slidell Annex at 985-646-4917.

Health Record.  State Law requires that all children attending school in the State of Louisiana have the following immunizations.  This requirement includes students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.  Included are students who are coming into the St. Tammany Parish Public School System from another parish, state or nonpublic school.

  1. DTP  (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis or Whooping Cough) – A minimum of four (4) doses is required.  The last DTP or a booster is to be given after the fourth birthday.         
  2. Polio – A minimum of three (3) doses is required.  The last polio or booster is to be given after the fourth birthday.
  3. MMR  (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) -  One (1) dose is required at twelve to fifteen months of age.  A second MMR is required before entry to school.
  4. Hepatitis B – Three (3) doses are required for first time enrollees into Louisiana public schools.
  5. HIB – Four (4) doses or proof of at least one dose after fifteen (15) months of age are required for pre-kindergarten and noncategorical students to enter school.
  6. Varicella (Chickenpox) – Two (2) doses or a history of the disease is required for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.
  7. MCV4 (Meningococcal Conjugate) – Required for all students entering grade 6 or eleven (11) years old in any other grade.  These students must also have proof of booster doses of Tdap, MMR, and Chickenpox.

Dates of the above required immunizations must be recorded on an official immunization form and presented to the school at the time of registration.  Contact the Slidell Health Unit at (985) 646-6445, the Covington Community Wellness Center at (985) 871-6030 or the Greater New Orleans (GNO) Immunization Network Mobile Unit at (504) 733-3268 for immunization information.

The immunization policy of the St. Tammany Parish School Board dictates that no child be allowed to enter school without proof of immunizations.

Proof of residency.   Proof of residency must be established using at least three of the documents listed below.  Documents that are suspect or inconclusive may be disallowed and additional documentation may be required.  All documents must be the most current available. 

Documentation may consist of a current utility bill (butane, electric, gas, water, cable or satellite communication bill), the current year W-2 form, the most recent federal or state income tax return, a vehicle insurance print-out from the parent’s or legal guardian’s insurance company, a signed residential building contract, a signed real estate lease agreement or signed mortgage loan documentation.  All documents must show the name of the parent or legal guardian, the street or road address of residence or the utility service address (if using utility bills).  Lease agreements must show street or road location and must be from a real estate office, apartment complex or mobile home property, not from an individual.

U.  S. Post Office box numbers, printed checks or drivers’ licenses are NOT considered proof of residency.

Social Security Card.  The Social Security number serves as the student identification number on all records.  The Social Security number written on a piece of paper cannot be accepted.  

Custody Papers.  Parents or guardians granted custodial rights of a student must present at registration the custody papers granted through a court system.


3/16/2009 Kevin Davis Speaks To School Board

St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis spoke to the School Board March 12 about the funding status of several roadway projects, including the Interstate 12 and Hwy. 1088 interchange project. He also reported that the centrally-located University Learning Park was moving forward, and that more agencies are interested in participating in the multi-purpose educational complex. Additional funding may be forthcoming as a result, he said.


3/13/2009 Board Seeks Booster Club Policy Public Input

The St. Tammany Parish School Board is seeking public input on a proposed new policy for school booster clubs. Acknowledging that booster clubs provide substantial assistance to schools, Superintendent Gayle Sloan told the board March 10 that an official policy was needed to safeguard the trust of those who spend much time and effort in working in those booster clubs.
 
The booster club policy proposes to define “sound fiscal practices” for such organizations, which are not normally officially linked to the School System but do contribute to the educational and extra-curricular mission of the schools.

The School Board agreed March 12 to open the policy up for public review and comment. Actual adoption of the policy may take place in April.

To read the policy and related documents, click here.

The policy calls for booster clubs to provide procedures for the collection and handling of monies. “It is critical that our community trust that those who solicit and manage funds intended to serve our students are operating in a sound, reliable fiscal mode of operation,” the policy states.

Since many of the projects conducted by such booster clubs require and enjoy administrative support, the policy encourages school administrators to cooperate with the fund raising and other efforts, while providing a “clear understanding” of what is expected of them.

The booster club policy does not affect programs conducted by the local and national PTA organization, since that group has their own requirements for internal and external accounting controls.

Accompanying the adoption of the policy would be a list of proposed guidelines on how it would be implemented. Among the guidelines are school administrator reviews and approval of all new booster clubs and their proposed activities, a provision that the name of the booster club may not include the name of the school itself, and a requirement that school-appointed faculty sponsors or liaisons must attend all of the club’s general membership and board meetings. Those sponsors and liaisons cannot be members or officers of the club, however.

The guidelines state that booster clubs shall develop and maintain by-laws that define membership in the group, election of officers, and implementation of appropriate auditing measures for fiscal responsibility. It is also expected that fund-raising and other club activities will be reviewed and approved beforehand by the sponsor, coach or school liaison to the club.

To email a comment on the proposed policy, click here or email your input to Public.Comment@stpsb.org.

Mrs. Sloan noted that the school board does not audit or otherwise oversee the handling of funds by booster clubs. On occasion, school officials are invited to look at booster club activities and review their fiscal policies. Principals have commented that the new policy will help clear up some issues, particularly in those situations where outside sales organizations try to give the impression that they represent the school in some way.


3/12/2009 Finance Park Teaches Budgeting Skills

Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park, a mobile learning lab teaching monthly budgeting skills, is currently at Slidell Junior High with a large number of eighth graders in the parish taking part in the simulation of day-to-day living. During a four and a half hour session, students are learning how to face the challenges of balancing income with expenses, keeping calculators busy as they keep track of their envisioned household budgets.
 
It was the first time the mobile learning lab made its way to St. Tammany Parish. A program developed by Junior Achievement and sponsored by Capital One, the Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park introduced students to a number of high tech exhibits covering different aspects of budgeting for essential items as well as discretionary purchases. Essentially, they became “adults for a day,” having to learn how to make ends meet.
 
Among the junior highs participating were Folsom Junior High, Slidell Junior High, Pitcher Junior High, St. Tammany Junior High, Clearwood Junior High, Fifth Ward Junior High, Creekside Junior High, and Lee Road Junior High.
 
Principal Sharon Garrett of Folsom Junior High School said her kids were very excited to be a part of the project. “Our students were one of the first groups to finish the entire process, and they were very engaged. Many of the activities related to what they had been doing in math classes,” she said.
 
Jochen Kranz, CapStone Manager for Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans, said that the students visit to the Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park is preceded at the schools by several weeks of specialized curriculum instruction. He delivered the teaching materials to the participating schools two months ago and trained teachers on how to lead up to the visit to the Finance Park. The term “CapStone” references in-class and teacher-taught programs that are capped off with the visit to the Finance Park. “But it’s much more than just a field trip,” he said.
 
Folsom Junior High Math Teacher Charlene Guilbeau said the fair was very intensive, but it went perfectly. “The kids loved it, and it reinforced what we had been studying. I had never seen my students working on their own so well,” she explained. “They just took off with it.” Part of the exercise was to pick the kind of car they wanted to buy and what kind of house they wanted to live in, then figure out how to budget their incomes to achieve those goals.
 
“It really was a win-win situation for parents and students,” Ms. Guilbeau went on to say. “They learned the difference between debit and credit, and they realized that the plastic card is not a bottomless pit.”
 
Kranz explained that, among many things, the program emphasizes the differences between an ATM card, a debit card, and a credit card. “We ask them to go through the steps of borrowing money for an imaginary home improvement project,” he said. “In the exercise, they don’t have the cash for it, so they figure out the monthly payment plan for the credit to go forward with the project.”
 
Credit cards can be dangerous if someone doesn’t know how to handle them, Kranz noted. “But the students get the message by going through the activities here at Finance Park. And their teachers see them gain that understanding.”
 
Patrick Mackin, principal at Slidell Junior High, said it was a great experience for his students. “We sent 100 students each day, and they were very engaged the whole time,” he said. He overheard them talking among themselves after the fair about things like television cable service bills and other household expenses that cost different amounts for different families.

 “They assumed the roles of having to budget income vs. expenses and discovered how difficult it can be when you only have a certain amount of money to spend,” Mackin said. “It was truly a meaningful learning activity.” Because of this event, his students will be better prepared when they graduate high school, he felt.

“I heard one student say that he can now better understand his mother when she says she doesn’t have the money to spend on some items,” Mackin commented. “They now know firsthand what it means to have a limited amount of money that you have to pay all your different bills with.”

The effort proved invaluable for teaching financial literacy, with an added emphasis on entrepreneurship, two of the objectives of the Junior Achievement. Students gained insights on the budgeting for utilities, transportation, health care, housing, and even investing.
 
The event is taking place in the old gymnasium at Slidell Junior High, and Kranz expressed appreciation to the School System and the staff of the school for helping it all come together. “They have been great, very cooperative and accommodating,” he said.
 
Capital One Bank is a major sponsor of the mobile learning lab, a project originating in 2006 based on a financial basics curriculum that is 11 years old. Junior Achievement designed the program, wrote the curriculum, and worked with exhibit display manufacturers to put the whole show together. A previous version of the Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park used a different set up, filling two 18-wheeler freight trucks which “transformed” into an exhibit hall that students could walk through. The updated version packs down into a 24 foot box truck and is put together inside an existing building.
 
The School System is looking into ways to offer the mobile learning lab to a new group of students every year.



3/11/2009 Monteleone Junior High Students Return To Their Own Campus

After talking with area fire department officials and the National Weather Service, School System officials decided to resume classes at Monteleone Junior High School on Wednesday.

The school was evacuated on Monday and Tuesday due to concerns about smoke drifting across campus from a nearby forest fire.

While the forest fire in nearby wooded areas was brought under control Monday, fire officials cautioned that conditions could cause a flare up on Tuesday. Out of an abundance of caution, classes for Monteleone Junior High School students were moved to Lakeshore High School on Hwy. 1088 for one day. Gayle Sloan, Superintendent, said that conditions had improved to such an extent that returning to the Monteleone Junior High School campus east of Mandeville on Wednesday would be the best course of action.

Meredith Mendez, Public Information Director for the School System, said that chairs and desks have been left in place at Lakeshore High, just in case circumstances change. Letters were sent home to parents Tuesday afternoon to more fully explain the situation.


3/10/2009 Monteleone Junior High Students To Attend School at Lakeshore High Campus Today

While the forest fire in the wooded areas adjacent to Monteleone Junior High School has been contained, according to fire officials, conditions are such that they could flare up again today or Wednesday.

As a precaution, school officials have decided to move classes for Monteleone Junior High School students to the new Lakeshore High School on Hwy. 1088 today.

Meredith Mendez, Public Information Director for the School System, said that tables and chairs have been set up, and teachers are bringing instructional materials to the new school for the temporary re-location of the students. Food services personnel will bring in bag lunches.

School buses are running at their regular time, but are dropping the students off at the new high school location. Parents who bring their children to school are taking them to Lakeshore High. Click here for a map showing the location of the new school.

Students will stay all day at the new high school on Tuesday, out of an abundance of caution given the possibility of a repeat of Monday’s situation.

Monday morning, upon the advice of fire officials, Monteleone students were evacuated when it became apparent that smoke from the forest fire could make its way across the Monteleone campus. They were taken on buses to the auditorium at Fontainebleau High School.

Officials will keep in touch with fire officials to determine the best course of action on Wednesday.


3/8/2009 Students Evacuated from Monteleone Junior High As A Precaution

Out of an abundance of caution, students from Monteleone Junior High School have been evacuated to Fontainebleau High School because of a fire in the woods behind the school.

Currently, the fire is not threatening the school but smoke was drifting into the area. Monteleone students are now in the auditorium at Fontainebleau High School and will remain there until the School System receives word that it is safe to return.

Parents wishing to check their Monteleone Junior High students out of school may pick them up at the auditorium. Normal check out procedures will apply. Parents unable to do so can be assured their students will be safe.

School System Administrators are in constant contact with fire department officials as to the status of the fire. Updated details will be provided on this website as they become available.


3/6/2009 Turn Clocks Forward One Hour Sunday

Parents and students are reminded that Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 8. Clocks should be adjusted forward one hour, with the official change happening at 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

The beginning date for Daylight Savings Time is different this year than in years past, resulting in more daylight in the afternoons, but a later sunrise in the morning. This will mean less daylight when some rural area school buses are picking up students to bring them to school. Motorists are urged to use caution and follow all laws regarding school bus stops.


3/2/2009 Schools Close Friday for End of Period Tasks

Students did not have to report to school today, March 6, due to end-of-period record keeping duties and professional development workshops for teachers.

The third grading period ended Thursday, March 5, and teachers are taking half-a-day Friday to post grades and perform other record-keeping tasks. The other half of the day will be spent in a variety of professional development activities.

Classes resume on Monday, March 9, 2009.


2/20/2009 Lakeshore High Choose Mascot and Colors

A mascot and school colors have been adopted by Lakeshore High School, the newest school in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

Principal Brennan McCurley announced Friday morning that the mascot will be the “Titans,” and the two school colors will be silver and black.

The decision was made through a vote of the students who will attend the school, after the choice was narrowed down to two options by a committee of 18 students. The original suggestions had come from a survey of more than 400 students earlier in the year.

McCurley said the legend of the Titans pictured them as mythical characters of great strength. The school colors are also associated with strength and power, as shown by their use by some professional football teams.

“It’s really beginning to create an identity for our school,” McCurley said of the decisions. “It’s giving the kids something to look forward to, and the way we did it gives them a sense of ownership.”

The school is located on Hwy. 1088 two miles north of Interstate 12 and will open next August.


Schools Closed Mardi Gras Week, Reopen Monday

St. Tammany Parish Public Schools are closed Monday, February 23, through Friday, February 27, for a one-week vacation beginning with the Mardi Gras holidays. Classes resume Monday, March 2.

School board support offices are open Wednesday through Friday.


2/13/2009 Defibrillators To Be Placed in Public Schools

The School Board approved a policy at its February meeting that will begin distribution of cardiac defibrillator devices throughout the School System, beginning at the high school level particularly in the area of sports activities.

After months of study, a special committee recommended to the Board the purchase and placement of Automated External Defibrillators, giving personnel on site a proven life-saving tool in the event someone experiences sudden cardiac arrest. Prior to the vote, a parent told the School Board how important the defibrillators were. His daughter’s life had been saved by such a device several years ago when she experienced sudden cardiac arrest during a volleyball game, he said.

The units approved by the board were demonstrated earlier in the month. An automatic computer-generated voice begins giving instructions as soon as the device is opened, followed by step-by-step directions for unwrapping the electric paddles, placing them on the cardiac arrest victim, and proceeding through a pattern of shocks followed by CPR, for as long as needed.

Research shows that if a properly measured electric shock can be administered within minutes of cardiac arrest, the victim has a much higher chance of recovery. When the paddles are first applied, the units measure a victim’s heartbeat. If the heartbeat indicates that no shock is needed, it will not administer one. The device can also change the pace of its instructions based on the rescuer’s advanced training. The device continues to guide the rescuer until Emergency Medical Services personnel arrive to take over.

The adoption of the defibrillator policy was accompanied by Superintendent’s Guidelines on the use of the devices, with detailed procedures on keeping track of the unit locations, testing them, determining readiness, and updating the software when needed. The devices keep a complete log of self-testing cycles, updates and a patient’s statistics during use of the machine.


2/13/2009 Board Names New Campus Lakeshore High School

Following up on suggestions made by students and the principal of the new Mandeville area high school, the School Board has adopted “Lakeshore High School” as the official name for the parish’s newest educational facility.

Brennan McCurley, principal of the new high school on Hwy. 1088 northeast of Mandeville, told the Board that incoming students were surveyed and were overwhelmingly in favor of naming the new school “Lakeshore High School.” The school opens next fall with grades nine and ten. Grades 11 and 12 will follow in the next two years.

Click here to view the Lakeshore High School web page and recent photographs of the facility.


2/12/2009 Talented Arts Program Wins Parish President's Art Award

The St. Tammany Parish Public School System’s Talented Art Program (TAP) won the "President's Award" for 2009 at the fourth annual St. Tammany Parish President's Art Awards in January.

The annual awards, hosted by Parish President Kevin Davis, recognize six outstanding artists and arts patrons in the fields of visual art, culinary art, performing arts, music and writing. Stephen Cefalu, vice chairman of the Parish Commission on Cultural Affairs, emceed the presentation.

The event took place at the Louisiana Medical Center and Heart Hospital in Lacombe with TAP Coordinator Debbie Lefort and Assistant Coordinator Donna Laurent receiving the award. The Talented Arts Program serves 1700 students with 48 teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade. Many Talented Art Program teachers attended the awards program.

A video was shown giving a detailed description of the purpose and scope of the program. The parish government’s Channel 10 Access Television station video-taped the awards presentation, and the portion commending the Talented Arts Program may be viewed by clicking here. (Windows Media Player required to view file.)


2/12/2009 Northshore High Wins Bronze Award Two Years In A Row

Northshore High School was named by “U.S. News and World Report” magazine as one of the top high schools in America recently, the second year in a row for the recognition.
 
As a Bronze Medal winner, Northshore High School was spotlighted as one of 34 Louisiana schools awarded that honor.
 
Principal Michael Peterson is proud of his school’s second year in the bronze medal category. “It proves that we have some very effective education going on here,” he said. “It also demonstrates that we are progressive and moving forward in serving our at-risk populations.” Dr. Peterson noted that his graduating seniors were also pleased with the results, and especially with the high number of scholarship offers and acceptance letters coming from top universities across the nation.
 
The Best American High School rankings were done by the magazine in conjunction with SchoolMatters.Com, a research web site for parents. The magazine analyzed data from thousands of schools in 48 states to produce its list of the nation's best. The ranking methodology, developed by School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education data research business run by Standard & Poor's, is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all its students well, not just those who are bound for college and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show that the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.
 
In the survey, the magazine analyzed 21,069 public high schools using data from the 2006-2007 school year, and a three-step process determined the best high schools. The first two steps ensured that the schools serve all their students well, using state proficiency standards as the measuring benchmarks. Key factors in the analysis were how well economically disadvantaged students enrolled at the school were doing compared to other schools in the state, and whether the school's least-advantaged students were performing better than average for similar students in the state. Math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged students were compared with the statewide results for disadvantaged student groups.
 
For those schools that made it past the first two steps, a third step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work, using a formula based on advanced placement offerings as well as the number of students taking college-level courses in high school.


 

2/11/2009 Speaker Tells How Web Tools Help Children Learn

A nationally-recognized educational consultant spoke to 120 administrators, resource helping teachers and technology resource teachers at the Instructional Technology Center recently, giving an overview of opportunities to better engage students using new Web 2.0 technologies.
 
Alan November, author of “Web Literacy for Educators,” spoke on empowering students by helping them share their own learning experiences. His presentation included details on creating podcasts, using specific search engine techniques, and continual questioning of Web page trustworthiness.

His main message was about the fundamental shift of some of what a teacher does in a classroom to children being more self-directed. The teacher can then better personalize teaching to each child, he said. Children taking more responsibility over their actions on the internet was a major concern.

November was invited to share with St. Tammany district leaders and instructors powerful new tools which help children manage their own learning and make a contribution to the class. Those tools include teacher-customized internet search engines for focused class research and student-produced tutorials to show what they have learned for sharing with children around the world.

One such example was when a new student in a kindergarten class was able to talk with her grandmother back home overseas via internet telephone service Skype, and that generated a project where the class began each day visiting each other’s grandmothers who had access to the internet service. One Irish grandmother even read a favorite storybook to the class, and that session was recorded and played back over again many times to help the students learn to read.
 
“Technology will always be changing, so you have to start looking for ideas that will outlast any change in technology, and focus on those.” November said. “The concept of students working together as a team, collaborating on projects, and self-directing their own learning... these all line up with the twenty-first century skills needed in the workplace. These children develop excellent communication skills, and that gives them a leg up in the global economy.”

Most importantly, students should be taught the ethics and social responsibility of using the Web, he said. “Whatever they post to the Web will follow them the rest of their lives,” he commented. “I wrote a lot of stuff when I was 16 years old, too, but mine is rotting at the bottom of some landfill, not posted for all the world to see.”
 
He found that many St. Tammany Parish administrators and teachers are already utilizing the internet in educationally-productive ways. Ramping up what is already being done and implementing it Systemwide is the task, he said. He mentioned that the Web site Epals.Com was useful in connecting teachers with each other world wide and helping with lesson plans and working out challenges.
 
He took time to warn the audience that not every Web page was credible, and he showed techniques on how to validate the accuracy of Web sites so students could determine, for themselves, if what they were reading was reliable information. “We don’t want our students to be manipulated by Web sites with hidden agendas,” he said.
 
He also noted that students are going to use MySpace.Com and Facebook no matter what, and he encouraged teachers to remind their students that everything they post on the Web is archived. Even postings and photographs that have been removed from social networking sites may be retrieved by visiting Archives.Org and using the “Wayback Machine” to visit archived copies of Web sites from years ago. “Every two or three months, Archives.Org saves a copy of everything on the internet, so if you want to go back and find a page that has since been taken down, just paste the URL address into the Wayback Machine, and see what comes up,” he explained.
 
One fact that teachers may want to point out to students is that everything they post to MySpace and Facebook is copyrighted and owned by the Web site. “If you look in the fine print of the agreement and at the bottom of the Web page, you will see the copyright notice. Many of my students are amazed when I show them that, and they suddenly realize that all the songs and poetry and photographs they post may wind up legally belonging to the Web site and not to them.”
 
November is a senior partner and founder of November Learning, a national educational and corporate consulting firm.


Tchefuncte Middle School Community Service Project Commended

(02-11-2009)

A video telling about a community service project by students at Tchefuncte Middle School has been chosen as one of four national semi-finalists in the State Farm Service Learning Solution Showcase, a national competition featuring videocasts on community service programs.

The school program is an intergenerational project called “K.I.S.S. - Kids Interacting With Seniors Successfully.”  The video shows various activities during a nursing home visitation project .

As Tchefuncte Middle is the only Louisiana school in the national video competition, Teachers Heidi Rhea and Ceres Kitchens are excited about the video receiving one of the top selections, based on the number of people voting for their video at a special Web site blog page. Click here to see the voting choices with links to the video on YouTube. Tchefuncte Middle School is listed in the right hand column after scrolling down the page.

The service project began with a $5,000 Learn and Serve Grant this past summer. Twice a month, fifth grade gifted students walk to a local nursing home to visit their senior “buddy.” Students interview their senior buddy throughout the year and then present them with a hardbound biography at an end of the year get-together. In addition, students learn about historical and scientific events by making a timeline that begins the year their senior buddy was born.

“Our KISS program is a yearlong service project that gives our students the opportunity to use writing, technology, and communications skills effectively, along with learning and writing about history,” Rhea said.  “Throughout the year, we celebrate the holidays with the seniors, making cards and gifts for them, and we also entertain them with plays, musical performances and a fashion show.” Many parents accompany the students on their trips to the nursing home to witness first hand the extraordinary interaction between the students and the residents.


Michael Gambrell Appointed to School Board District 9 Seat

(02-06-2009)

Michael J. Gambrell will replace District 9 School Board Member Carmen Johnson on the St. Tammany Parish School Board. He was selected from a field of six applicants during a special Board meeting Thursday night and was sworn into office shortly after the meeting. He will serve as an interim appointee until a special election can be held in October.

A native of Lake Charles, the 46-year-old Gambrell works as vice-president and Senior Business Banker at Hancock Bank in Mandeville.

Following his selection, he said, “I want to thank everyone for their support of my appointment to the board.  I look forward to working with everyone on the board and in the school system. It is a first class organization, and I am thrilled to be a part of it and have the opportunity to help the children of St. Tammany Parish.”

Gambrell moved to Slidell at an early age and attended Florida Avenue Elementary and Slidell Junior High. He graduated from Slidell High School in 1980 and earned a degree in accounting from LSU four years later.

In his presentation to the School Board, he noted his many years as a youth coach in soccer, baseball and basketball. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Slidell Youth Basketball Association for the past four years. He noted that he wanted to serve on the School Board because he came from a family of educators. Both his mother and father were teachers. “This is a good way for me to carry on the legacy of my family in education,” he said, “and my banking experience will be valuable on the Board as well.”

A ceremonial oath of office will be held February 12 at the beginning of the regular School Board meeting.

District 9 Board Member Carmen Johnson resigned from the post due to a change in employment.   She joined the Board in November, 1998, when she was appointed to fill a vacant seat.  She was subsequently re-elected to the position in 1999, 2002, and 2006. 


Name Suggested for New High School

(02-06-2009)

Brennan McCurley, principal of the new high school on Hwy. 1088 northeast of Mandeville, told the St. Tammany Parish School Board Thursday night that incoming students were overwhelmingly in favor of naming the new school “Lakeshore High School.”

“I took the opportunity at our open house event to survey our students, and of the 343 comment forms returned, 228 wanted the name Lakeshore,” he told the Board. “They liked it because the initials would be LHS, setting it apart from other high schools, and because it didn’t pertain to any particular area. That would make everyone feel welcomed there. Those were the kind of responses I was looking for.”

Board member Charles Harrell made a motion, with a second by Ron Bettencourtt, that the name Lakeshore High be recommended for final adoption at the February 12 School Board meeting.
 
McCurley explained that the students were thankful for the opportunity to suggest names again in a second round of surveys. A committee narrowed the suggestions down to three: Lakeshore, Castine, and Marigny High. Castine got 57 votes, and Marigny received 58 votes at the open house event.

“There was a lot of excitement that night,” he said, explaining how the open house gave parents and students a close up look at the school.


Bus Safety and Appreciation Week Held

(02-02-2009)

In recognition and appreciation of school bus transportation personnel, the St. Tammany Parish School Board has proclaimed the week of February 9 through February 13 as “Bus Safety and School Bus Owner/Operator and School Bus Aide Appreciation Week.”

Schools are conducting special programs to thank transportation department employees for the excellent work they do in safely transporting 25,500 students over 24,500 miles daily. At the January meeting of the School Board, Deputy Superintendent Trey Folse said the student transportation system provides a most important service to the School System.

A resolution passed by the School Board at the meeting noted that the primary concern of the bus personnel is the safety of their passengers. “St. Tammany Parish citizens recognize the skill and dedication of the thousands of people who make this system possible,” the resolution stated, adding that the primary factors for the excellent record can be attributed to dedicated drivers, supervisors, superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, defensive driver programs, school bus driver instructional programs, student instruction in safe riding practices, careful bus maintenance and the vehicle inspections conducted. To view the resolution,click here.

Channel 13 produced a public service announcement in connection with the event. Click here to view the video webcast.

Providing transportation services in the most economical and efficient manner possible with the promotion of safety and reliability as the highest objective, the School System has participated in the annual proclamation of “Bus Safety and School Bus Owner/Operator and School Bus Aide Appreciation Week” for many years.


Schools Earn Top Honors In Positive Behavior Support Program

(01-28-2009)

Two St. Tammany Parish public schools have earned perfect performance scores in state evaluations of their implementations of the Positive Behavior Support (PBS) initiative.

Fontainebleau High School and Mandeville Elementary School won top honors for meeting the criteria required by the program that trains schools on how to reinforce appropriate behavior among students. Many schools use what is called The “Fish Philosophy,” which encompasses four basic principles:  Be There, Choose Your Attitude, Make Their Day, and Play. 

At Fontainebleau High, several PBS programs focus on positive reinforcements instead of negative consequences. One FHS program aimed to reduce tardy slips using free ice cream as an incentive to change student behavior. Last year the school implemented a good behavior ticket program, in which tickets are given to students who are exhibiting traits of the FISH Philosophy. Students turn in the tickets for prizes in a monthly drawing. 

At Mandeville Elementary, the most effective component of the PBS program is the Morning Meeting where students and teachers join together to start the day in a positive and fun way. 

The St. Tammany Parish Public School System has mandated that all schools take part in the PBS initiative,  which is just one effort in line with the federal government’s Safer Schools program.

Administrative Supervisor Mike Cosse’ and Tamarah Myers are the state PBS facilitators in the schools, and Myers and Darryl Bruno are certified trainers who help other parishes teach school teams to implement the programs in their schools.
 
PBS is a very detailed and sophisticated program that emphasizes social competence among students. The whole program is implemented over a three to five year period.

Representative teams from each school are trained on the district level and then they return to their schools to design the specific implementation at their campus. St. Tammany Parish is the first school system to designate some individuals as interventionists who can provide an internal evaluation to a school which may experience problems implementing PBS.

Once a school reaches a certain level of fluency in PBS criteria, it is nominated for a state evaluation. Evaluators come in from the state level and conduct a thorough evaluation of the school-level program. Once it is determined that a school has attained demonstration status, it is considered a “model” PBS program. In addition to Fontainebleau High and Mandeville Elementary earning perfect performance state evaluations, Tchefuncte Middle School, Magnolia Trace Elementary, and Slidell Junior High were all commended with very good scores from their state evaluations.

By deliberately teaching pro-social behavior, PBS has made a difference in school environments. 

 “The work in continuing, and we hope to have all schools reaching an active fluency with the program initiatives soon,” said Ms. Myers.

 Stephen J. Soileau, assistant principal at Fontainebleau High School, said the school was proud to score 100% on the recent state assessment.  “We are not only PBS proficient, but we also hold the honor of being a demonstration site for other schools to see.  In addition, we may be the only high school in the state to achieve such a score.  All credit goes to our wonderful FHS staff and more importantly the fantastic student body of Bulldogs.”

Judy Hankel, Assistant Principal at Mandeville Elementary, said, "We recognize and reward our students, faculty and staff for their positive actions, sing songs, share stories and celebrate each others accomplishments! We build on the positive each morning, and it carries into the day."


Abita Springs Elementary Reopens After Gas Leak Cleared

(01-27-2009)

Abita Springs Elementary School opened again for classes Tuesday morning after the school shut down temporarily when cafeteria workers arriving for work smelled natural gas.

The fire department was called out immediately to assess the situation.

After their investigation, fire department officials said the school buildings were safe for students and teachers, and the school was reopened. Any parents who were turned away earlier could bring their children to the school later in the day, and they were not to be counted as tardy.


Open House Held At New High School

(01-21-2009)

Tours of the new high school campus on Hwy. 1088 northeast of Mandeville were offered to parents and students on Tuesday, January 27, 2009, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Principal Brennan McCurley reported that there is a lot of work going on to get the new school ready for its fall opening. “I am very excited about the upcoming months. Construction on the school is almost complete, and we are in the process of ordering furniture for the classrooms and offices,” he said. “This is a great first step in our efforts to open the new school.”

The open house gave parents and students a first glimpse of the new campus, from the main mall, to the library, cafeteria, and classroom wings. 

At January's School Board meeting, the school was accepted as “substantially complete” subject to the Architect’s recommendations, completion of the punch list, submission of all regulatory requirements, and approval of Superintendent Sloan.

Click here to go to the new high school's web page.


Fontainebleau High Earns Top Honors in “Great Schools” Rankings

(01-20-2009)

A national non-profit organization that ranks schools based on remarks by parents and various other criteria has named Fontainebleau High School one of the top-performing public schools in Louisiana.

BusinessWeek.com worked with GreatSchools, a San-Francisco-based web site that provides an online community for parents seeking top schools, and together they came up with the top five high schools in each state in a number of different categories. They identified the best overall public high school in terms of test scores, the best public high school with an economically disadvantaged population, and the best improved public high school.

Fontainebleau High School earned the title of “Parent's Choice” after receiving a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10. Criteria for the ranking included the most recent test scores, advanced placement exams, teacher statistics, student statistics, and extracurricular activities.

Fontainebleau Principal Johnny Vitrano was recently  interviewed by Business Week regarding the honor.  He said, “We are pleased to be acknowledged as one of the five top-performing high schools in Louisiana by Business Week and GreatSchools. The honor comes, in part, as a result of the many positive comments posted by parents and students on the GreatSchools web site, along with our outstanding test results and the excellent job done by our teachers.”

Great Schools aims to inspire parents to be involved in their children’s education and the ranking is one way it accomplishes that goal. Over 40 parents and former students posted comments on the GreatSchools web site giving Fontainebleau High School high marks for its teachers, academic preparation for college, and parental and community support.


Carmen Johnson To Leave School Board

(01-16-2009)

After serving on the St. Tammany Parish School Board for more than ten years, District 9 Board Member Carmen Johnson has decided to leave the post due to a change in employment.   Persons interested in being appointed to fill the vacancy until a special election can be held later this year are asked to contact Superintendent Gayle Sloan by letter expressing their interest.

District 9 covers an area northeast of Slidell up to Pearl River. Click here to view map. Persons who live in the district interested in being appointed to the position may send a letter to the Board asking to be among those considered.  The letter must be hand-delivered to the Superintendent’s Office at the C. J. Schoen Administrative Office Complex in Covington, Louisiana by 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 29, 2009 or mailed in time to be received by the deadline. To qualify for the School Board position, a candidate must be at least 18 years of age, a resident of the state for the past two years, and a resident of the St. Tammany Parish School Board District 9 for the past year.

Mrs. Johnson joined the Board in November, 1998, when she was appointed to fill a vacant seat.  She was subsequently re-elected to the position in 1999, 2002, and 2006.  Active in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) since her son started Kindergarten, Mrs. Johnson worked at local, district, and state PTA levels. It was her dedication to the PTA that led her to run for the School Board when the opportunity came.

“Serving the children of St. Tammany Parish Public Schools has brought me great satisfaction throughout the years,” she said. “As a School Board, we always worked together as a group, and it was a wonderful experience to spend ten years working with these people and the School System.”

Mrs. Johnson said she believes that the close working relationship between the School Board members is the main reason they were able to get so many things accomplished over the past decade.  “Leaving this work is difficult for me because it was challenging and rewarding, but I am relieved and extremely proud that I will be leaving this Board in the hands of a very capable and strong administration,” she commented.

Board President John Lamarque announced Mrs. Johnson’s decision Thursday night, saying that she will be very difficult to replace and will be much missed.


School System Sets Record On United Way Contributions

(01-16-2009)

In its most successful United Way fund raising campaign to date, the St. Tammany Parish Public School System raised an all-time high of $140,907 for the community service agency this year. The School System has been the largest contributor to the United Way campaign in St. Tammany Parish for years. Administrative Supervisor Bill Brady reported to the School Board at its January 15 meeting that United Way really counts on the School System’s efforts to raise the funds needed to help provide critical services in St. Tammany Parish. “For every dollar we raise, about three to four dollars comes back to our parish in much needed services to the people who are less fortunate, people who are searching for answers in their family life and for the children of this parish,” Brady stated.In tough economic times, many demands are made on the United Way, he said, and the students and employees of the School System have stepped up and have come through with the contributions that make it all possible.Special awards were given to schools and offices which had 100 percent employee participation in United Way fund-raising efforts. They were Brock Elementary School, Covington Elementary School, Honey Island Elementary School, Lyon Elementary School, Mandeville Elementary School, the Educational Center, the Energy Management office, Student Health Services, the Instructional Technology Center, and Folsom Elementary. Mandeville Elementary School has reached the 100 percent mark for the past 11 years in a row.Fifth Ward Junior High School was recognized as the school with the most money raised through student contributions, the second year they have earned that honor. The amount came to $2,680.22.Brady announced that Fontainebleau High School raised the most dollars by employee contributions ($4,109), and the St. Tammany Parish School Board Administrative Complex central office was the support office site that raised the most dollars contributed by employees ($10,849).

Other locations to receive special recognition for outstanding efforts in their separate divisions were Folsom Elementary, Salmen High School, Lake Harbor Middle School, and Energy Management Office.


Hornets Schedule St. Tammany Parish School Night At The Hive

(01-15-2009)

On March 22 the New Orleans Hornets will host "St. Tammany Parish School Night at the Hive" at the New Orleans Arena beginning at 6:00 p.m. The fund raising program will reward schools and students who sell the most tickets to the event with a variety of fun activities.

A special section will be reserved in the stands for St. Tammany Parish visitors, and selected students will go courtside while Hornets players do their warm ups. A St. Tammany Parish public school student will sing the national anthem, and the Fontainebleau High School Color Guard will present the flag.

Five dollars of every ticket sold by School System participants for the sports event will go back to St. Tammany Parish schools.

The game will feature the Hornets vs. Golden State Warriors. For more information, click here. (Adobe Acrobat PDF File)


School System “Caps for Kids” Fund-Raiser Is Success

(01-14-2009)

A report on this year’s successful Caps for Kids fund-raising event was given to the St. Tammany Parish School Board recently, and $17,754 was collected last semester throughout the schools. That brought the total of funds raised by the School System over the past three years to $52,430.

Caps for Kids is an international non profit organization dedicated to providing celebrity-autographed headwear to children who have lost their hair due to treatments dealing with cancer. Money is collected at schools by allowing students who contribute a chance to wear their own favorite cap to school for a day. Administrative Supervisor Cathy Aime noted that 18 children within the School System are now undergoing treatment for cancer.

“Children and young adults who have experienced the physical aspects of treatment also require emotional and psychological support,” said Ms. Aime. The program addresses the whole child in a positive manner, she said, with benefits shown in each case when the child is presented with a cherished autographed cap signed by that child’s hero, star athlete or actor of choice.

Aime told the Board that cancer is a disease that touches every individual in some way, whether it involves their children, grandchildren, family members, or friends who have undergone treatment. Every school in the System chose to participate in the Caps for Kids program, collecting donations from students and faculty. “This effort exemplifies our compassion for our students and future generations,” she remarked.

The executive director of Caps for Kids and an administrator from Children’s Hospital also appeared before the Board to thank them for their participation in the program. 

A special guest at the School Board meeting was a fourth grade student from Bayou Lacombe Middle School who is being treated for cancer. He was presented with a cap signed by his favorite Hornets basketball player Chris Paul, along with several other players and coaches. Principal Patrick Woods contacted Caps for Kids to ask that the program obtain a special cap for his fourth grader.

The student also received two tickets to a Hornets game during which he was brought down on the court for special honors.


Northshore High Girls Swim Team Wins State Title

(01-14-2009)

The Girls Swim Team from Northshore High School won top honors in recent statewide swim competitions, and at the School Board’s January meeting, Parish Director of Athletics Larry Favre introduced members of the group.

He reported they won the title of 2008 Louisiana High School Athletic Association Girls Division 1 State Champion Swim Team, praising them and their coaches for their outstanding efforts.

On the way to the state championship, the group placed first in the Slidell City swim competitions, first in the St. Tammany Parish swim competitions, and first in district meets as well. Favre said the team also won the prestigious New Orleans Metro Championship. They went on to win the state championships in Sulphur in November.


Schools and School Board Offices Close January 19 on M. L. King, Jr. Holiday

(01-12-2009)

St. Tammany Parish Public Schools and School Board offices were closed on Monday, January 19, 2009, in observance of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Classes resume and offices reopen on January 20.


Congressmen Visit Newly Renovated Brock Elementary

(01-07-2009)

U. S. Senator David Vitter and U. S. Representative Steve Scalise visited the newly re-opened Brock Elementary School in Slidell in December, taking a tour of the facility that has been completely restored after its near destruction in Hurricane Katrina.

The Congressmen visited several classrooms, spoke with teachers and students, and attended a special program in the gymnasium. Superintendent Gayle Sloan and Principal Rose Smith, as well as many of the students, thanked Senator Vitter for his direct assistance in getting the FEMA funding for restoring the school facilities, rather than demolishing the whole structure and starting a new campus from scratch.

Students from various grade levels danced, sang holiday songs, and presented the Congressmen with artwork in appreciation for their help in bringing back Brock. Two fifth grade students led the visitors on the first-hand tour of the school. Teachers said they were especially grateful to return to their own classrooms and their home school after spending years being re-located to other school campuses.

The school became ready for students in early December, three years and a couple of months after being flooded by the Hurricane Katrina storm surge that swept through downtown Slidell.

Also helpful in the restoration of Brock Elementary was U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, Mrs. Sloan said. Officials had to push for a special change in FEMA rules to allow Brock to be restored instead of being demolished.

Representative Scalise distributed copies of the U.S. Constitution to the students and encouraged them to become good citizens. He also presented the school with an American flag that had flown over the Capitol Building in Washington, D. C.

Click here for photograph.


Mackin Appointed Principal at Slidell Junior High School

(01-05-2009)

The School Board appointed Patrick Mackin principal at Slidell Junior High School in December, as Board members moved to fill the vacancy left by former Principal Brennan McCurley when he assumed duties as head administrator at the new high school on Hwy. 1088, set to open next fall.

Mackin, an assistant principal at Carolyn Park Middle School, comes to the Slidell Junior High post with 11 years of experience in education, with previous assignments as a fourth and sixth grade teacher at Bayou Lacombe Middle School; a seventh and eighth grade teacher at Boyet Junior High School; and a fifth and sixth grade teacher at Alton Elementary School.

He has a Master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision from Southeastern Louisiana University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans.


School System Honored For Excellence in Financial Reports

(01-05-2009)

A Certificate for Achievement For Excellence in Financial Reporting has been presented to the St. Tammany Parish Public School System for the 20th consecutive year by the Government Finance Officers Association of Louisiana (GFOA).

The presentation was made at the School Board’s December meeting. The School System also received, also for the 20th consecutive year, a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Board Officials International (ASBOInt), with specific recognition of the comprehensive annual financial report for Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2007.

Assistant Legislative Auditor Joy Irwin, CPA, and Joey Richard, Audit Director with Postlethwaite and Netterville, APAC, the School Board’s auditors, presented the awards to the School Board, saying that these are the highest awards given School Systems for outstanding financial reporting by their accounting staffs.  Chief Accountant Terri Fortenberry was commended for her work on the annual financial report.

 


Hurricane Katrina News Archives - Page 2