2012

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12/28/2012

Mandeville High Student Wins HERO Award

A Mandeville High School senior, Abigail Gardner, has been selected for January’s HERO award by Sophisticated Woman magazine and Charter Business. HERO stands for “Helping Eagerly and Reaching Out," and the award recognizes young leaders in St. Tammany Parish high schools for their accomplishments and community service efforts.
Miss Gardner was commended by her Guidance Counselor Sean Esker for her efforts in organizing the “Run for Hope Thanksgiving Turkey Trot,” a fund raising event held for lung cancer research over the past nine years.

She was nominated for the award by Esker, who said she’s a hero for working with her parents to honor the memory of family member Vincent Lombardo who passed away from lung cancer in 2004. She works throughout the year securing donations, organizing the race-day runner gift bags and T-Shirts, making awareness bracelets, and helping wherever needed on the day of the event.

The race celebrates lung cancer survivors, gives hope to those coping with the disease, and raises awareness about lung cancer research’s funding challenges, she said. “My family began this event to honor my uncle, a non-smoker and 18-year lung cancer survivor, who died in January, 2004,” she explained. “For several years I’ve successfully requested that Governor Jindal proclaim November as lung cancer awareness month.”

She is very concerned with the adverse effects of second hand smoke, and tries to help people understand the threat it poses. “A lot of people who get lung cancer get it from second hand smoke,” she said. “It really is a big problem.”

She has watched the Turkey Trot develop from a small walk with a couple of dozen participants to an event with over one hundred runners from far and wide. “It’s gotten really big over the years,” she stated.

“My uncle’s motto was “never deprive someone of hope, it may be all they have,” she said.

At Mandeville High, she is involved with the Drama Club, the Key Club, the National Honor Society, the Spirit Club and the Student Senate. Esker said her involvement with the fundraiser says a lot of about her as a high school student and a member of the community. She is very active with music theater and singing, he said.

Her long range plans are to be accepted by a musical theater program at a university and earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theater. Then she plans to go to New York and audition for shows, hopefully landing a spot with a touring company. “Maybe even Broadway eventually,” she said.

After that she sees herself returning to St. Tammany Parish to start a community theater. “I got my passion for doing musical theater by getting involved in a community theater,” she said. “So I know how big an impact it has on young people like me.”

Becoming involved with Slidell Little Theater got her started thinking along those lines. “It’s a great organization, and they have a lot of things for kids,” Miss Gardner explained. “They’ve been around a long time, and they have a lot of summer programs”

This past summer she lived for a month in New York working with a pre-college program, so she knows how different it is from Louisiana. “I love New Orleans and I love Louisiana, so I definitely want to come back here and do something like that,” she said.




Winter Holidays Start December 21, Classes Resume January 3


On Friday, December 21, the two-week Winter Holidays/Christmas break for students will begin. Classes resume and the third grading period starts on Thursday, January 3, 2013.

School board support offices will close at noon on Friday, December 21, and remain closed for the Christmas holidays Monday, December 24, through Wednesday, December 26. Offices will re-open on Thursday, December 27.

Offices will close again for the New Year’s holiday break at noon on Friday, December 28, and remain closed through Wednesday, January 2, re-opening on Thursday, January 3.

 


12/19/2012

Pearl River High Graduate Killed in Afghanistan


U.S. Marine Sgt. Michael J. Guillory, a 2002 Pearl River High School graduate, was killed in Afghanistan last week, and his funeral services will be held this weekend.

Often when he was home for a visit, he stopped by Creekside Junior High School and other schools to talk to students. He would tell them the importance of education, the career opportunities before them, and demonstrate survival skills in the wild. He had a passion for teaching young people.

The 28-year-old Guillory had served six tours of duty with Special Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, enlisting shortly after graduating from Pearl River High School. He visited his family just before Thanksgiving, spending his free time visiting area schools and volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club.

“He really loved being here with our kids,” said Andrea Jeansonne, a teacher at Creekside. “He visited my class and demonstrated a "hunt," explaining the hiding techniques. During the year he discussed survival skills with the students in connection with their reading assignments. As a recon Marine, Sgt. Guillory became an expert in survival, Ms. Jeansonne said, and he would share his knowledge with the students as well as discuss careers in the Marine Corps and the role of education in his career.

The students’ favorite part was when he took them outside for in-the-field demonstrations, hiding somewhere on campus. The students would attempt to find him, but sometimes they would be within inches of him and could not see him. As part of his presentation, he explained how to survive on items found in the wild. During his trips to Creekside Sgt. Guillory would often eat grasshoppers to the amazement of the young people.

On occasion, Sgt. Guillory brought students into his presentations to show them how to apply camo paint. No matter which route he chose for his presentation, Sgt. Guillory brought excitement to those learning sessions, Ms. Jeansonne stated.



12/18/2012

Winter Holidays Start December 21, Classes Resume January 3


Thursday, December 20, will be a half day for students in the St. Tammany Public School System as the second grading period for the 2012-2013 School Year comes to a close. Students will report to school in the morning only. The rest of Thursday will be for teacher record-keeping duties.

Then on Friday, December 21, the two-week Winter Holidays/Christmas break for students will begin. Classes resume and the third grading period starts on Thursday, January 3, 2013.

School board support offices will close at noon on Friday, December 21, and remain closed for the Christmas holidays Monday, December 24, through Wednesday, December 26. Offices will re-open on Thursday, December 27.

Offices will close again for the New Year’s holiday break at noon on Friday, December 28, and remain closed through Wednesday, January 2, re-opening on Thursday, January 3.



12/18/2012

State Superintendent Visits St. Tammany To Recognize Top Gains Schools


Louisiana Education Superintendent John White visited the Central Office of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System Tuesday, December 18, to recognize 27 schools for recently announced significant improvements to their School Performance Scores.

Administrators, teachers, and parent representatives from the 27 schools designated “Top Gains” schools for the 2011-2012 School Year were congratulated for their accomplishment, with each school receiving $8,500 for education projects and expenses.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III was presented with a symbolic check for $228,253.95 representing the total award funds that will be distributed to the winning schools. “We are here to honor the schools in our System who earned top honors in School Performance,” Superintendent Folse stated. “This is a very proud accomplishment.”

In his comments, Superintendent White said, “This is the largest group of Top Gains schools I have visited.” Every school in the state tries to make gains, White said, but only a small number of schools made Top Gains.

He reminded his audience that the “moment of learning” for each child is unbelievably precious. “You know when it happens, and however you got there, that is what it is about,” he said. “And this is all about honoring the teachers, the principals, and the kids who make it happen.”

Superintendent Folse noted that “We all know that when the classroom doors to the schools are closed each day, it’s all about the teacher in the classroom. You are the best of the best.”

Superintendent Folse added, “In today’s society, with everything going on and the challenges that have to be met every day, the principal’s job is one of the toughest jobs around. I admire you and respect you for the job you do each and every day.”

Among those present were State Senator Ben Nevers, School Board President Stephen “Jack” Loup, III, School Board Members Elizabeth Heintz, Willie Jeter, Peggy Seeley, Mary K. Bellisario, Robin Mullett, and Robert “Bob” Womack. Jim Garvey of the BESE Board was also on hand for the occasion.

Only 440 schools were recognized across the state for improving their school performance scores beyond goals set for the year, thus earning “Top Gains” status.

The schools earning a "Top Gains" designation were Abita Springs Elementary, Alton Elementary, Bayou Lacombe Middle, Bonne Ecole Elementary, Boyet Junior High, Clearwood Junior High, Covington Elementary, Cypress Cove Elementary, Folsom Elementary, Folsom Junior High, Honey Island Elementary, Lake Harbor Middle, Lakeshore High, Lee Road Junior High, Little Oak Middle School, Madisonville Junior High, Magnolia Trace Elementary, Mandeville High, Mandeville Junior High, Mandeville Middle, Marigny Elementary, L.P. Monteleone Junior, Pearl River High, Pontchartrain Elementary, Riverside Elementary, Tchefuncte Middle, and Woodlake Elementary.



12/17/2012

Letter from Superintendent Folse to Parents and Caregivers


Dear Parents and Caregivers:

The incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a tragic event that has left us all deeply saddened. It is hard to comprehend the horrific details of what took place in Newtown, Connecticut.

This is a difficult tragedy for anyone to understand, especially our children. As we complete this first semester as well as after we return from the holidays, if you feel your child is in need of additional assistance in dealing with this tragedy, please contact your child's principal or our Central Office. We will have mental health providers available to talk to the students who may have difficulty with the many issues that surround this event.

As a parent as well as the Superintendent, I know how much each and everyone of us love and treasure our children, and I want to assure you that the safety of our students is our primary concern. We take every effort to make sure all St. Tammany Parish Public Schools are safe and secure learning environments. We understand that no system is perfect and that we must never let our guard down. That is why our administrators and all of our principals regularly meet with our Sheriff and other local law enforcement agencies to review and revise when necessary our emergency and crisis practices and procedures. With the assistance of law enforcement, we will also review these recent events in Connecticut to determine if there are any additional safety measures that we should consider putting in place.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the students, parents, families, school faculty and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut.

Sincerely,

W.L. "Trey" Folse, III
Superintendent



12/17/2012

Fifth Ward Jr. High Collects Presents For Angel Tree Program


Dozens of parents, staff members and students brought wrapped Christmas presents to the Fifth Ward Junior High School gymnasium Friday afternoon to be distributed to children in the community through the Office of Community Services (OCS) . The gifts were collected by the school’s Angel Tree program. LA4 Paraeducator Jennifer Jenkins supervised the project.

Sixty eight children were on the list to receive the gifts through the program in which Fifth Ward has participated for the past several years. Any parent, faculty member, or student who wants to participate selects a name from the OCS list and buys the gift. Many parents encouraged their children to take part, teaching them that Christmas is the season for giving.

“Every year our school unselfishly gives more than asked for,” said Principal Christopher R. Oufnac. “This is an incredible program that we at FWJH take part in every year. It is really something to see. Last year OCS had to make four trips in vans to pick up all the gifts.”

Ms. Jenkins said the Angel Tree program has been a wonderful success at Fifth Ward. “For a small school, it has been remarkable.” Her students have shown an outstanding willingness to help others during the season, she said, to give something of themselves. “That means a lot. The kids really love it and really get into it,” she said.

Rebecca Williams, cheerleader sponsor and special ed teacher for moderate and severe, said, “Our cheerleaders elected to bring gifts to one of the children, and my own two children have gotten involved in the project as well.”

The tradition has been very rewarding and is one of the things Principal Oufnac is most proud of at his school. “It is something most of our Falcon family take part in,” he said. “It is a school-wide project and community-wide project.”

This month’s Positive Behavior Support (PBS) theme is “Compassion,” so the project is aligned with that goal as well, Principal Oufnac went on to say. “We feel good about bringing a smile on someone’s face when they wake up on Christmas morning. The students love the project,” Oufnac explained.

The school is also active in a number of other community service programs throughout the year, especially the United Way campaign.



12/15/2012

Message from the Superintendent


We are all deeply saddened by the tragic events that took place in Connecticut, and we send our deepest sympathies to the Sandy Hook Elementary School community in this time of sorrow.

We realize that this can be a difficult subject to discuss with children. If you feel your child is in need of additional assistance in dealing with this tragedy, please contact your school's Principal or our Central Office.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the students, parents, families, staff and entire community of Newtown, Connecticut.

Superintendent W.L. "Trey" Folse, III



12/14/2012

Bayou Lacombe Students Visit Christmas Around the World


Students at Bayou Lacombe Middle School took part in an around-the-world tour of Christmas holiday traditions the morning of December 12th, visiting different classrooms for educational presentations on a number of countries.

The “Christmas Around the World Celebration” gave students the opportunity to travel from one “country” to another to learn about the culture, traditions, food and music related to Christmas season activities. Each home room was decorated as a different country: Australia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, China, Germany, France, Spain, and Japan.

Before the special project began, students each made their own “passport” which was stamped as they entered a different country, and gave them a place to take notes about the experience. Teachers, some of whom were dressed in traditional costumes, taught the students how to say “Merry Christmas” in each country’s native language.

“This was a great opportunity for students to learn how people around the world celebrate Christmas and become more culturally competent,” said Principal Patrick Woods. “They will be able to associate it all with things they have already learned. Each grade level participated.”

The event was similar to a holiday program held several years ago, but it has been re-established and updated. “They won’t know they are learning,” said Ellie Schroder, Technology Resource Teacher. “It will be a fun educational experience.”

The school is also conducting a Food Drive to donate items to the Samaritan Center to help replenish the group’s December supplies. “This season is all about giving,” Principal Woods said. “Last year we collected 800 items in the Food Drive, and this year we are hoping to top that.” The school choir also visited the Lacombe Nursing Home last week to sing a selection of holiday season songs.

“It helps express our FISH Philosophy and making somebody’s day,” he said. “We have a really caring, affectionate group of kids who really are concerned about each other.”



12/11/2012

French Delegation visits Lakeshore High School


Lakeshore High School recently hosted three guests from France who are in America learning about Culinary and Hospitality programs. The delegation included the Minister of Foreign Affairs and two vocational high school teachers.

The ProStart culinary class welcomed the visitors by demonstrating their skills in the kitchen and serving them lunch. At one station students made strawberry crepes while at other stations students created several different types of cookies and other desserts. Students also showed off their knife skills by carving an apple into the shape of a turkey and by creating a Christmas tree using a pineapple and other fruits.

The French visitors toured each station and asked the students questions. “They were asking a lot about where I think this is taking me and what I plan to do with it, and I told them that hopefully in the long run I would like to own my own restaurant,” said Lakeshore High School Senior Kymber Gore.

Teacher Aline Launay from Lycee Professionnel Louis Guilloux, a school in France, talked to students, sampled different foods, and said, “It is very similar here to my school. We have six classes of 24 students taking cooking lessons, but from what I have seen I believe there is a lot here that our students can learn.”

“This is a great cultural exchange. I know the kids have learned so much and they have learned so much as well, so we are thrilled they visited Lakeshore High,” explained ProStart teacher Judy Achary. She said the students worked all weekend preparing for the visit and were excited to learn about the French culture.

Ms. Achary built the ProStart program from the ground up when Lakeshore High School opened and has hosted several other famous guests including chefs John Besh and Susan Spicer.

Principal Brennan McCurley said, “It is such an honor and it really says a lot about what our Culinary Arts teacher Ms. Achary has done with these students. It is very uplifting to know that people recognize our programs not just at Lakeshore High but in all of St. Tammany Parish.”

The Louisiana Department of Education hosted the French guests as the delegation visited seven schools across the state looking at different programs. “I think it’s fantastic, and I’m hoping it is just the start of something we can build on as far as learning from them and hopefully they will be able to learn some things from us,” stated James Elanchard, ProStart Coordinator for the Louisiana Restaurant Association.



12/10/2012

St. Tammany Schools Take Part in Train of Hope Donation Program


The St. Tammany Parish Public School System is hopping on board the Holiday Train of Hope. Students from across the parish are writing encouraging letters and cards to students in areas stricken by Hurricane Sandy. The letters will be transported via Amtrak the weekend of December 15 to areas of New York and New Jersey devastated by the hurricane. The letters will be included with donations of household supplies and Christmas toys.

Several schools in the district are also collecting school supplies and gifts that will also be included in the holiday shipment.

The train is being met by volunteers for Toys for Tots and other charitable organizations who will distribute the items where needed. Many families lost their homes in the hurricane, and the annual holiday toy collection organizations were overwhelmed by the need posed by those who have relocated due to the storm.

One of the organizers, Donna O’Daniels, visited the impacted area in November and said the news media has not conveyed the extensive devastation that still remains. “A lot of the families in the northeast lost everything in the storm, and many coastal communities are still without power,” she said. “They are facing a pretty bleak holiday season.”

“We all remember the outpouring of support after Hurricane Katrina and how much those notes of encouragement from all over the country meant to us and our kids,” Ms. O’Daniels stated. “It really lifted our spirits, so we thought our kids helping their kids would be a great idea.”

Those notes from Louisiana will be distributed by School Systems throughout the areas of New York and New Jersey affected by the storm. At Lake Harbor Middle School Fifth Grader Ella Thomason said, “We are doing this because we wanted to make them feel safer and make them feel good. I wrote about me and how I was impacted by Hurricane Katrina and how I know what they are going through.”

The first Train of Hope effort, organized in early November in St. Tammany Parish, brought a boxcar full of needed supplies up to affected areas with the help of Amtrak, many generous individuals and volunteers. The train was loaded with donated cleaning supplies, diapers and other baby items, pet food, toiletries, coats and blankets. Those items are still needed, so two more train shipments have been scheduled on the 14th and 15th of December. They will carry a mix of relief supplies and toys and gifts for the children.

Ms. O’Daniels said it was St. Tammany's opportunity to Pay it Forward and help those struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as did so many of the areas in the country helped Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.



12/07/2012

School Calendar For 2013-2014 Adopted


The St. Tammany Parish School Board has released its School Calendar for the 2013-2014 School Year.

The official dates for next school year will include a starting date for students on Friday, August 9, 2013, and an ending date for the School Year on Friday, May 23, 2014. The entire calendar including holiday schedules may be downloaded by clicking here. (PDF Format)

The calendar is adopted following a vote by employees choosing between two proposed calendars. Traditionally the vote has been taken in March of each year, but this year was moved to November as a result of requests by parents who wanted to schedule vacations and other activities in advance.



12/07/2012

Garden Club Gives Bayou Lacombe Garden Project $500 Grant


The Town and Country Garden Club of West St. Tammany awarded the Bayou Lacombe Middle School Organic Garden project with a check for $500 Thursday morning, the proceeds of a mini-grant awarded to Teacher Rebekah Ellis.

Principal Patrick Woods was on hand for the presentation, as were the 14 of the students who are taking part in the project. The garden has fostered connections to the community in a number of ways, from businesses such as Home Depot helping put the first one together, to students donating to area community service agencies funds raised by selling their produce.

Club officials read about the gardening project in the newspaper and wanted to help the students continue their efforts to plant and tend the wide variety of vegetables and herbs. The money will be used to purchase equipment to begin a new composting project and expand the outdoor classroom to include the whole school.

The grant certificate was presented by Dianne Bellas and Bobbie Abel with the garden club. “Every year for the past four years, we have offered a $500 mini-grant to elementary and middle schools to encourage gardening,” Ms. Bellas said, “with the money coming from our bi-annual garage sale. The teachers submit a grant application and show us how the gardening can be used to teach a variety of things,” she said. The garden project is a cross-curriculum venture, calling upon skills in math, science, and community organization.

“This is a big project, one of the biggest gardens we’ve seen,” she went on to say. “And we particularly liked that it is a continuing one, that it shows sustainability. That’s the hard part. It’s easy to start a garden, but to continue to care for it and work it is where the success truly lies. It’s absolutely wonderful that they are giving the proceeds of their work to the community.”

Ms. Bellas was particularly interested in the plans for the children to learn how to cook with the produce they were growing in the garden. This will include planting ginger next week so the students can harvest their own ginger root and make gingerbread cookies. That project is being conducted by Advanced Master Gardener Linda Franzo who has been working as a volunteer with the students. She operates the Passionate Platter Herb Garden and cooking school in Slidell and visits Bayou Lacombe weekly, helping the students develop the knowledge and skills to better use the produce from the garden.

At a farmer’s market held in the nearby John Davis Park, the students recently raised close to $1000 by selling the produce raised in the garden earlier this year. Some $500 in proceeds from the first harvest sale last school year was donated to the Mount Olive Soup Kitchen in Slidell as part of the community service effort.

Ms. Bellas, who is also a Master Gardener, looks forward to working with different schools in their gardening projects. “It’s a learning moment every time you come out here. Several schools have put in Legacy Gardens,” she explained, “and butterfly gardens have been popular.”

“Many children have no idea where their food comes from, so gardens like these are really important,” Ms. Bellas stated.

The Town and Country Garden Club of West St. Tammany has 35 members and the grant program is just one of their community development projects. A smaller grant will soon be awarded to a garden project at Woodlake Elementary School, Ms. Bellas said.

In the past, the garden club has awarded grants to Pontchartrain Elementary for Arbor Day tree plantings, Abita Elementary School for a sensory garden, and Madisonville Junior High for raised garden beds and composting.



12/06/2012

Pearl River area Youth Band Wins House of Blues Contest


A newly-formed band made up of students from Pearl River High School won top honors at a New Orleans “House of Blues” Band competition recently. “Crossfire,” an alternative rock band whose members only started practicing together a month ago, won first place in the 'Bringin' Down the House' youth band competition at the House of Blues on November 29, as well as the Audience Showcase award from the Audience Vote. Seven bands competed all together.

The band is comprised of Kelsey Parker, lead singer; Traven Handley, lead guitar; Nick Ranatza, rhythm guitar; Brennen Ouder, drums; and Bryan Spencer, bass. With their first-place win, “Crossfire” will receive 10 hours of studio time, a $500 gift certificate to Guitar Center, and an X-box Bundle. Band members already are planning for their first recording session.

The Audience Showcase award brings with it a $250 Guitar Center gift card and $200 House of Blues Karma Kash, and winning 1st place automatically advanced them on the National Online Contest. Since their performance, the band’s name has been lengthened to “Caught in the Crossfire” to avoid confusion with another band named “Crossfire.”

The four boys in the band are members of the Pearl River High School Band, and Parker and Handley are students in the Talented Music Program there. After hearing about the House of Blues contest, they only had one day to record an original song, "Sweet Content," and submit it as an audition performance along with their application. Then came the call and they found themselves performing on the House of Blues stage. The band performed its original song and two others during its 15 minute stage appearance and had the audience going wild.

The judges, who were scattered throughout the audience, were quite impressed with the band members’ support and encouragement of the other bands playing that night, said Miss Parker’s mother. “They were really good,” she said. “Everyone was so emotional when they announced on stage who the first place winner was.”

Their friends at school were already excited for them getting to play at the House of Blues after being together for only a month, but the winning of first place really ramped up the excitement.




11/30/2012

St. Tammany Garners Three Awards at LACUE Conference


A St. Tammany Parish Public School System educator has won the regional LACUE (Louisiana Computer Using Educators) “High School Teacher of the Year” Award for this year, and Pearl River High School and Channel 13 both won awards in the group’s 2012 Student Video Contest.

Richard “Vance” Lynch IV, the CISCO/Web/Multimedia Teacher at Covington High School received the Region 2 High School Teacher of the Year award for LACUE at the group’s November 27 meeting in New Orleans. "I am really honored to have been selected for this award,” Lynch said. “I strive to improve students' understanding of technology, and LACUE helps me to keep on top of current trends and issues. It's very humbling to be recognized by LACUE after being involved with this organization for only a few years."

A Student Video Contest Award was won by Channel 13, the St. Tammany Parish Public School System’s Educational Television station at the Treen Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville. The award was presented for the video “Friendships Beyond Differences,” which tells the story of the Bulldog Buddies at Fontainebleau High School. Director of Broadcasting Dr. Melody Swang and Broadcast Media Specialist John Harrison received the award at the opening presentation of the annual LACUE Conference Business Meeting on the New Orleans Hilton Riverside.

Dr. Swang said, “An award like this is all about the story we had to tell, and we were so honored that we had the opportunity to share this great story about this extraordinary club at Fontainebleau High School. This is a club that is really changing lives.”

Pearl River High’s winning video “Art by the Numbers” shows an artist who is inspired by mathematics to create intricate origami sculptures and ocarina music. It won in the Artistic category. Teacher Clear Moore said, “This video highlighted the connection between math, art, and music by exploring the work of Pearl River High School sophomore, Austin Pohlman. Last year Austin won second place in the Louisiana State Literary Rally in Algebra and is currently teaching himself calculus. He also plays multiple instruments and creates very intricate paper sculptures. Art By The Numbers showcases his origami and a little of his music. The video team consisted of Kasey Johnsen and Jessica Talamo with assistance from Jon Mitchell and Ashton Borne.”

Last year Lynch won the CHS Teacher of the Year award, continued on to win the Parish Teacher of the Year, and finally the Region II Teacher of the Year award given by the Louisiana State Department of Education.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, said, “As technology advances, our teachers have kept right up with it, and the awards given by the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators reinforce those achievements. We congratulate Vance, Pearl River High, and Channel 13 for their most recent accomplishments and appreciate the continuing effort of all our educators to integrate technology into each classroom to benefit every student.”

Many St. Tammany educators have been recognized by the organization in the past. The purpose of LACUE is to provide a professional nonprofit organization which recognizes and promotes the use of computers in education.

 



11/30/2012

Covington Elementary Students Sing Christmas Carols


Dozens of students from Covington Elementary took part in their annual tradition Friday morning by visiting the Central Office and helping to decorate the Christmas tree in the building foyer. They had made a variety of decorations and hung them on the tree as the Central Office staff watched.

After the decorations were in place, they went into the Atrium to sing a selection of holiday songs. They were greeted by Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III who thanked the children, Principal Susan Wolfe, and Teachers Cindy Huggins and Sarah Thompson for helping start the holiday season.

Each year, the Central Office tree is decorated by students from Covington Elementary to mark the beginning of the countdown to Christmas.



11/28/2012

Folsom Junior High Holds Ribbon Cutting for Renovations


Students, faculty, PTA members, and several special guests celebrated Folsom Junior High School’s newly renovated campus Wednesday morning, November 28, holding a ribbon cutting ceremony with several dignitaries on hand, including former Principal Joe Cyprian and former Folsom Mayor Marshell Brumfield.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, cut the ribbon with School Board Members Robin Mullett, Elizabeth Heintz, and Michael Dirmann, Principal Sharon Garrett, and Assistant Superintendents Cheryl Arabie, Pete Jabbia, and William “Bill” Brady.

Students participating in the special program included Chante’ Bartet saying the Pledge of Allegiance, the school chorus singing the National Anthem, and DeJeune’ Richardson giving a performance as one of the school’s early teachers, telling what it was like in the 1930’s and 1940’s and how it has changed.

Principal Garrett outlined the improvements to the campus, from a new administrative office building and cafetorium, to four new classrooms and library, as well as new restrooms. “Our physical campus has grown and has become a symbol of the many innovative and exciting changes that are going on here,” she said. “In the recently released School Performance Scores, we were named one of the most improved junior high schools in the parish for this year and we were also recognized as the most improved junior high since 2008, so we are very proud.”

Superintendent Folse stated “these projects have certainly changed the way Folsom Junior High looks, from the new office to this beautiful new cafetorium.”
“Our School System theme this year is Community Connections, and I believe that Folsom Junior High has really made those connections. It has hosted special community events, conducted the Giving Tree project at Christmas time, and it has been a school site in this community since 1928,” he said. Folse also thanked the taxpayers for stepping forward even in tough times to provide the funds to build and improve our schools so we can have schools that meet the needs of every child, every day.”

“This school is a great place doing great things,” he concluded.




11/27/2012

Ribbon Cutting Held for Fifth Ward Jr High Renovated Facilities


The ribbon was cut Tuesday morning, November 27, to commemorate the completion of extensive renovations to Fifth Ward Junior High School in Bush, with Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III and several School Board Members in attendance.

The event was accompanied by the chorus singing the school’s Alma Mater, students reading a variety of recollections by their parents and grandparents about the school’s early years, and tours of the new facilities by members of the cheerleading squad.

Among those in attendance were St. Tammany Parish School Board President Stephen “Jack” Loup, III; School Board Members Peggy Seeley, Beth Heintz, Michael Dirmann, and Charles Harrell. Assistant Superintendents William “Bill” Brady, Cheryl Arabie, and Pete Jabbia were present, as well as former principals T. J. Rogers and Brandon Clanton, and Parish Council District Six member Richard Tanner.

Principal Christopher Oufnac told the audience, “We have embarked on a new journey, and today we celebrate our progress.” Superintendent Folse said Fifth Ward Jr. High was a leader in “community connections” for the School System. “Fifth Ward has a very rich history in this community, and we are honored to be here,” he said. “The school does a lot of great things for the community, hosts meeting space for Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, takes part in Toys for Tots and The Angel Tree Drive.”

The school’s eighth grade choir, under the direction of Susan Harrell, sang the Alma Mater which was written in 1956. Among the memories read by the students were recollections by former students, teachers, parents and grandparents. One stated that the school started as “Oak Grove School” and was named “Fifth Ward” in 1949.

During the special program, Elise Carter led the Pledge of Allegiance, Alissa Long sang the National Anthem, Joy Nettles and Colt Dutruch introduced special guests, and Lily Jenkins, Santana Lang, Peyton Talley, and Jaylene Whitehead all read the memories recalled by former students.

After the program, members of the cheerleading squad led tours of the new facilities. The renovations included new buildings and updates for existing buildings housing the Family and Consumer Science department, the band and chorus rooms, computer rooms, and classrooms.



11/20/2012

Lancaster Elementary Students Portray Namesake’s Life and Times


A play portraying the life and accomplishments of Joseph B. Lancaster, the first Superintendent of Schools in St. Tammany Parish, was recently presented by students of the new Madisonville area elementary school named after the prominent citizen of the early 1900’s.

The students of Ms. Christyn Elliot, the Talented Theater teacher at Lancaster Elementary, read excerpts from a book recently published by Christian Garcia telling of the courtship and marriage of Lancaster and his wife Amanda as told in numerous letters exchanged between them over several years. The play offered key historical facts from the period as well, reminding the audience of what St. Tammany Parish was like in late 19th and early 20th century.

Students dressed in costume entertained their parents with the numerous exchanges of dialogue which included a number of references to the politics, progress, and challenges of life in western St. Tammany, especially the status of public education as Lancaster worked to consolidate and improve schools in the area. The play tells of his work as an attorney, state legislator and judge.

Three granddaughters of Lancaster were in the audience and enjoyed the special presentation. Three years ago, the Lancaster family participated in the groundbreaking ceremonies as well as the grand opening ribbon cutting for the new school last year.

The play was adapted from Garcia’s book “Now and Always: A Louisiana Love Story,” which not only showcased the letters, but also offered the results of extensive historical research and photographs on subjects mentioned in the letters.

The play originally premiered at the Talented Arts Program’s Festival held at the Koop Drive Tammany Trace Trailhead on October 27, and was presented again at the Family Learning Night activities held at the school November 15.



11/20/2012

Thanksgiving Activities Abundant Throughout Schools


The week before Thanksgiving holidays, students across St. Tammany Parish enjoyed a week of arts and crafts activities, history lessons, and community service projects all with a Thanksgiving theme as schools prepared for the upcoming family holiday.

Schools welcomed parents and visitors to take part, visiting their children’s classrooms and helping with the many holiday-themed programs. There were turkey drawings, harvest scenes, Pilgrim hats, decorated Plymouth rocks and Native American history displays. Some schools were reaching out to their neighborhoods with community dinners.

On November 15, the School Food Service Program served its annual traditional Thanksgiving lunch, complete with turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce.

Schools were closed November 19 through November 23 for the Thanksgiving holidays.



11/20/2012

Carolyn Park Middle School Hosts Annual Neighborhood Dinner


More than 400 people from neighborhoods around Carolyn Park Middle School in Slidell enjoyed visiting with each other and sharing dinner together Monday evening as part of the school's fifth annual “Feast for Friends” event, a Thanksgiving week tradition that has developed deep community connections.

A dinner of turkey and dressing, ham, cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, string beans, homemade buns, tea, desserts and even gumbo was available to the visitors to the school cafeteria. Principal Tony Esposito,who came up with the idea five years ago, said it has become a popular event the neighbors look forward to all year.

Terry O'Malley, who coordinates the project for the school, said the effort of twenty plus school cafeteria workers, teachers, and others started at 6 a.m. in the morning, preparing and cooking many of the menu items from scratch. “It says a lot that Monday is the first day off for teachers during the Thanksgiving Week holidays,and yet here they are, helping out,” O'Malley said. The dinner was served from 4 p.m. To 6 p.m.

O'Malley said that the program included giving away door prizes donated by local businesses, including discounts on Christmas trees. Students from Carolyn Park and other schools like Creekside Junior High and Mayfield Elementary were also on hand to help. Parish Council Member Steve Stefancik was on hand for the occasion, and he said the event was well-received and appreciated by the community.

The dinner is funded in part by the St. Genevieve Knights of Columbus Council 9769 and the Slidell Knights of Columbus Council 3732. Some of the meals were packaged and delivered by Council members to people who were unable to leave their homes.

The first year 100 meals were served, and last year some 300 dinners were served. “The first couple of years, people would come, get the dinner in take out boxes and head back out,” O’Malley stated. “Now they sit and enjoy the food and take time to visit with their friends and neighbors.”



11/19/2012

Mandeville High Student Chosen For National Jazz Tour


Miles Berry, a Mandeville High School student, has been selected to take part in the 2013 Thelonious Month National Performing Arts High School All-Star Jazz Sextet.

Berry, who attends The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) as a Level IV Jazz student, will join the national tour as saxophonist. He will participate in an all-expenses-paid, weeklong performance tour in Los Angeles with internationally renowned jazz recording artist Terell Stafford.

Along with his peers from across the country and Mr. Stafford, Berry will perform and present peer-to-peer master classes in public schools throughout Los Angeles in an effort to teach like-age audiences about jazz and the important American values it represents: teamwork, unity, with ethnic diversity. The trip, planned for March 3 through March 8, will be rounded out with educational field trips.

Leslie Loyacano, Talented Music Teacher at Mandeville High, taught Berry music when he was a freshman at the Mandeville High. “He had a very unique infatuation with jazz for someone his age, a great deal of knowledge about the genre, and an outstanding ability to improvise in the styles of the "late-great" sax players,” she said. “I know that he is incredibly focused on what he loves, and I fully expect him to become an amazing professional jazz saxaphone player.”

Berry takes courses in core academic subjects at Mandeville High and attends NOCCA for jazz instruction.



11/16/2012

Schools To Close for Thanksgiving Holidays November 19 through November 23


St. Tammany Parish Public Schools will close for the Thanksgiving Holidays on Monday, November 19, through Friday, November 23. Classes will resume on Monday, November 26.

Also in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, School Board support offices will close at noon on Wednesday, November 21, and remain closed all day Thursday and Friday, November 22 and 23. Offices will re-open on November 26.


11/15/2012

Parish Council Congratulates School System On Accomplishment


The St. Tammany Parish Council recently recognized the St. Tammany Parish Public School System for receiving an “A” from the State Department of Education. The District received a letter grade of “A” in the District Performance Scores released by the Department of Education October 22.

At the Parish Council’s November 1 meeting, Chairman Marty Gould and Parish President Pat Brister presented Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, with a Certificate of Recognition, congratulating the School System and its employees, students and their families for the “tremendous” accomplishment. The resolution approving the certificate was passed unanimously by the council.

The School Board, Superintendent Folse and his Central Office staff were commended for their leadership of the School System.

Superintendent Folse noted that the state has been giving School Systems letter grades over the past few years, and St. Tammany had received a “B” letter grade, but with a lot of hard work and determination, the new district performance score had been raised to an “A.”

“It’s great to be designated as a Letter Grade A School System, and we are really proud of that, but we want to be more than just a letter grade,” said Superintendent Folse. “We want to be known as more than just our test scores. Those things are important, but the most important thing we want to do is live up to our motto, ‘Every child, every day.”

“We look forward to meeting that challenge each and every day,” he concluded.

Ms. Brister thanked him for his continuing efforts and hard work. “It makes me very proud to talk about St. Tammany and our public schools and how good they are,” she said. “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do that.”



11/14/2012

Abita Springs Middle School Hears “Rachel’s Story,” Starts New Club


Hundreds of students at Abita Springs Middle School attended a presentation of “Rachel’s Story” Thursday, November 8, and as a result have started a new club called “Friends of Rachel.”

Dee Dee Cooper of Nashville, TN, conducted the program, telling the story of a young woman whose life philosophy has touched many around the world since she was killed in 1999. “The message is that one person can make a difference,” she said. “We talk about how one small act of kindness can truly be life-changing for someone else. Kindness and compassion can truly change the world.”

“Rachel’s is a powerful story,” Ms. Cooper said.

The program is connected to the popular “Rachel’s Challenge” program that was given in several St. Tammany Parish public schools last year. It tells the story of Rachel Scott, her winning personality, and her many efforts to reach out and befriend the new students at her school in Colorado.

The program includes interviews with the many young people and adults she influenced during her life, the poetry she wrote and entries from her diary, spotlighting her concerns and hopes for the future.

Miss Scott was the first student shot during the Columbine High School tragedy in 1999.

The new Friends of Rachel club will have close to 100 members whose goal will be to help each other and help others overcome bullying and being felt left out. They are given a list of projects they can do and are asked about what they would like to see changed at the school. The students “brainstorm” about projects to do to make things better. There are more than 1000 clubs already across the nation.

There was also a parent and community meeting at Abita Springs Middle School that evening, when PTA members and visitors had the opportunity to view a presentation about Rachael and the impact her life has had on millions of middle school, junior high and high school students over the past 12 years.

Several family representatives have been visiting schools all across the country to bring the message of the importance of friendship and reaching out to others.

Abita Springs Middle School has conducted a strong anti-bullying program in the past few years, incorporating rallies, games, and many other activities. “This presentation will carry on what the students learned last year,” said Principal Donna Forrest.


11/14/2012

St. Tammany Educators Honored by Louisiana State Parents Teachers Association


Six St. Tammany Parish public school educators have been named “Educators of Distinction” by the Louisiana State Parent-Teachers Association (PTA).

Each year every school nominates a PTA Educator of Distinction, and statewide there are only ten Educators of Distinction designated, according to Supervisor Margaret Sharpe. She announced the good news at the November 8 School Board meeting held in Slidell.

The six Educators of Distinction are Abita Springs Elementary Third Grade Teacher Theresa Curtis, Cypress Cove Elementary Music Teacher Carol Cline, Fontainebleau Junior High Choir Director Sharon McNamara-Horne, Lake Harbor Middle Fourth Grade Teacher Julie Mallory, Magnolia Trace Elementary Second Grade Teacher Rhonda Guttuso, and Fontainebleau High Principal Johnny Vitrano, who was named State PTA Principal of Distinction.

“Our schools also won several state honors,” Ms. Sharpe stated. “Little Pearl Elementary School won an award for having 100 percent PTA membership.” Principal Dr. April Whitfield of Little Pearl Elementary and PTA Chapter Membership Chairman Celia Drury were congratulated for winning the recognition at the state level.

“St. Tammany Parish public schools have a tradition of exceptionally strong PTA chapters,” said Supervisor Margaret Sharpe. “Our school leaders recognize the importance of having parents involved in our schools as a sure sign of success, and the parents of St. Tammany Parish have historically supported the efforts of our schools as we work together to educate their children,” she went on to say.

Every school in St. Tammany Parish has a parent-teacher association again this year, she reported, and St. Tammany Parish has the highest number of members in the state PTA. Over half the Louisiana state PTA membership come from St. Tammany Parish.

Ms. Sharpe thanked each and every PTA member in the School System and encouraged any parent not a member to join the organization.


11/12/2012

Junior Auxiliary Provides Recovery Funds for School Library


When St. Tammany Junior High Librarian Jennifer Macaluso heard that Hurricane Isaac was heading towards Slidell, memories of the flooding wrought by Hurricane Katrina came to her mind. As a result, she and maintenance workers jumped in and did what they could in the time available to take library books off the bottom shelves and move the library’s computers to the second floor of the Slidell school.

Still, the storm surge of water that came with Isaac caused damaged a number of books. This week, the Junior Auxiliary of Slidell came to the rescue with a donation of $250 to help replace the materials that were lost in the flooding.

A check was presented Friday by Junior Auxiliary President Laurie Jugan and Sharon Hewitt, Project Coordinator Vice-Chairman to Ms. Macaluso, with Principal Vincent DiCarlo on hand to thank the group for its efforts.

“We were told that the St. Tammany Junior High library had lost some books during Hurricane Isaac,” said Ms. Hewitt. “So we put the word out and received some money from the Junior Auxiliary of Tupelo, Mississippi.” She explained that while each chapter has its own projects, in times of disasters, the chapters work together to do what they can to help schools recover. “We thought that St. Tammany Junior High would be a great place to donate the money,” she said.

“Ms. Macaluso tried to save as many books as possible,” said Principal DiCarlo. “But for her, even losing one book is devastating.”

She made sure the books being packed into boxes for moving stayed in proper order, and the process of restoring the books to their proper place on the shelves is just about finished, DiCarlo stated.

Another program of the Junior Auxiliary is called “Literacy Liason,” a tutoring program the goal of which is to partner with area schools in the Salmen High learning community to provide at least 25 volunteers to help students develop their reading skills.

The Slidell Junior Auxiliary was incorporated in 1965 and participates in a variety of community service projects, primarily with children. “We are an all-volunteer, all-female organization,” said Ms. Jugan. “Our projects address emerging and existing needs in the community. In times of disaster, our chapters always help each other out.” The group has approximately 50 members.

For more information, visit http://www.jaslidell.org/



11/12/2012

Students Explore Teaching Careers at STAR Academy Conference


A one day conference was held at the David C. Treen Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville on November 8 for students enrolled in the STAR Academy at their local high school.

More than 100 students attended the STAR Academy Conference, representing young people interested in pursuing educational careers. STAR stands for “Students Teaching and Reaching,” and the STAR Academy provides high school juniors and/or seniors an opportunity to learn about teaching as a career through one-credit courses offered at their high school.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Teaching is Fantastic” and included a number of workshops and presentations.

Attendees learned about a variety of subjects, from classroom management and technology to educational styles and opportunities. Instructors included Tamarah Meyers, Kerri Soo, Sandy Swartz, and Inkie Landry.

The courses give students a glimpse into the teaching profession. Students are provided the means and guidance for self-assessment, learning about others, and diversity in the classroom. Students learn about the history and foundations of education and are given information sources on pursuing a career in education. Part of the goal of the workshops are to help young people develop links with the School System’s human resources department.

Director of Broadcasting Dr. Melody Swang was keynote speaker for the event. Special presentations were given by STAR Academy students from Fontainebleau High School, Northshore High School, and Mandeville High School.



11/12/2012

Shell Oil Volunteers and Hornets Hold Reading Rally at Mayfield Elementary


Basketball Player Brian Roberts, two Honeybee cheerleaders, and Hugo of the New Orleans Hornets all visited students at Mayfield Elementary Thursday, November 8, as part of a Shell Oil and Gas “Reading Rally.”

Books were distributed to sixth grade students from the Hornets/Shell Oil Bookmobile, and then all students were entertained by Roberts reading two books from the stage of the auditorium while Hugo acted out the parts on the floor. Hugo even enlisted the aid of students in pantomiming the story.

Following the assembly, Shell Oil volunteers visited different classrooms to talk about the importance of reading.

Principal Arlana LeBlanc welcomed the guests to the school and said the students really enjoyed the rally.

The event was held to emphasize not only the importance of reading, but also how much fun reading can be. The Hornets and Shell Oil and Gas are hosting “Reading Rallies” for elementary school students throughout the season to help promote literacy.

“As a company, Shell started the Reading Rallies because it enhances the joy of reading,” said Shell Upstream Americas Communications Business Advisor-Deep Water, Qi Wiggins, who was a speaker during the Mayfield program.

“So many kids think reading is boring or something you just do at school,” she said. “At the reading rally, to have Brian Roberts read to the kids and show them how much fun reading is and that you can use your imagination and act out the book like Hugo did, makes it special. The “Reading Rally” just confirms that not only is reading fundamental, but it’s also fun.”

Following the assembly, Shell employees and Roberts spent time hosting reading for the kindergarten and first grade classes.

Wiggins thinks the program shows the students the joy of reading. “I hope they go home and ask for a library card and that they want to read constantly and consistently,” she said. “I hope it makes them want to expand their imagination. I just hope they tell their parents that they discovered that reading is so fun and they want to do it all the time.”

Roberts hopes his appearance helps the students take to heart the importance and enjoyment of reading. “I think at that age, they don’t see reading as something cool, but having the perspective of being older, it’s important to help teach kids that reading is fun and it helps them use their imagination,” he said. “Being in the school and helping them to learn about reading is really cool.”

 


11/09/2012

Lancaster and Mayfield Elementary Schools Added To USDA Awards Program


Two more public schools have been commended by the United States Department of Agriculture for outstanding food service programs, as recognized by the HealthierUS School Challenge program.

After submitting applications of 125 pages each several months ago, Lancaster Elementary and Mayfield Elementary both recently received a letter from First Lady Michelle Obama informing them of their accomplishment.

At the November meeting of the School Board in Slidell, Supervisor of Food Services Pat Farris made the official announcement that the two new schools have been awarded the USDA’s highest honor, the HealthierUS School Challenge program’s “Gold Award of Distinction.” The addition brings the total of schools in the School System meeting the Gold Award of Distinction criteria to 27,” she said.

She introduced representatives from the two schools, Principal Susannah Welch and Cafeteria Manager Beverly Fleming of Lancaster Elementary and Cafeteria Manager Dee Singletary of Mayfield Elementary, who were applauded for their achievement.

“I want to thank the principals and cafeteria managers for earning this award and continuing in their efforts to implement the highest standards in food service,” Mrs. Farris said. “This award represents their commitment to the health and well-being of our students.”

The USDA Gold Award of Excellence program goes well beyond just serving a healthy school lunch, she said. “It includes an emphasis on physical activity and an overall healthy school environment,” Mrs. Farris explained. “Plus teaching lessons on nutrition to the students in a variety of ways. “

Assistant Superintendent William Brady commented that the St. Tammany Parish Public School System has won more USDA Gold Awards for its child nutrition program than any other school system in the nation.

The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) is a voluntary initiative established in 2004 to recognize those schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments by meeting specialized program criteria.

Cypress Cove Elementary earned the honor of being the first school in the nation to win the Gold Award recognition in 2004, and by 2005, every elementary school food service program in the School System was recognized for having achieved the USDA Gold Level award. By 2006, twenty three St. Tammany Parish public schools had achieved Gold Award status in the program.

In October of 2011, twenty five School cafeteria managers and their principals from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System who had earned the “Gold Award of Distinction” designation in the USDA “HealthierUS Schools Challenge” program were invited to the White House to take part in a recognition program hosted by the First Lady.

The USDA commended the schools for the exemplary steps, leadership and team work employed to make changes to their school’s nutrition environment, improve the quality of the foods served, provide students with more nutritious, healthy choices, and enhance their physical activity program.



11/03/2012

Public Schools To Close for National Election Day


The St. Tammany Parish Public School System will close schools and school support offices on Tuesday, November 6, the day of the national Presidential Election. Offices will re-open and classes will resume on Wednesday, November 7.

Many public school buildings are used as polling places.



11/02/2012

School System Hosts Leadership Northshore Education Day


Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III and other School System administrators had the opportunity to present an overview of St. Tammany Parish Public Schools to emerging leaders in the St. Tammany community recently.
The 2013 Leadership Northshore class visited the C.J. Schoen Administrative Complex in Covington for an outline of administration, curriculum and instruction, human resources, technology, finance and current issues impacting the District before visiting schools as part of their course focusing on education in St. Tammany Parish. “We always enjoy having the leadership groups visit because it gives us an opportunity to share the facts and good news of our School System. It is important that we connect with our community and business leaders and make sure they are well informed,” said Folse.

The group received hands on experience with the latest educational technology during the presentation and saw it in use as they visited several schools later in the day. Administrators, teachers and students at Bonne Ecole Elementary, Slidell High, Chahta-Ima Elementary, Lakeshore High, Northshore High, Honey Island Elementary, Mayfield Elementary, Salmen High, Whispering Forest Elementary and Pearl River High welcomed the Leadership class members as they toured their campuses, experienced teaching and learning in their classrooms and enjoyed lunch in their cafeterias.

“The high quality of education we provide for our students is directly related to the success of businesses and vitality of our community,” said Folse. “Having the emerging leaders of St. Tammany Parish visit our schools and see what we are doing to educate every child, every day helps make the partnership we have with our community even stronger.”


10/30/2012

Daylight Savings Time: Don’t Forget to Fall Back

Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday, November 4, at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to “fall back” and set your clocks back one hour Sunday morning.


 

10/26/2012

Talented Arts Program To Present Bicentennial Celebration


The St. Tammany Parish Public School System’s Talented Arts Program will present a four hour program on Saturday, October 27, entitled “A Celebration of Louisiana’s Bicentennial.”

More than 1000 talented arts students in music, theatre, and other arts are expected to take part in the program that starts at 10 a.m. and continues to 2 p.m. at The Tammany Trace Kids Town Pavilion at Koop Dr. just off La. Hwy. 59 north of Interstate 12. Admission will be charged.

Schools from throughout the parish and most grade levels are participating.

Supervisor of Special Education Sharon Hosch reported to the School Board Thursday night that the event will showcase art displays, music and theater performances, food, games, live entertainment, trivia contests, singing and dance.

Hosch said there will be a variety of art objects, bubble wands, and baked items, as well as demonstrations on print making, mask making, and drawing lessons.”

An original play entitled “Da 3 Nutria and Dat Ole Gruff Gator” will also be presented at Bicentennial Celebration.



10/26/2012

Honey Island Elementary Wins School Health Award


Honey Island Elementary School in Slidell won one of the three Louisiana School Health Awards for this year presented at a ceremony held in Baton Rouge Wednesday, October 24.

The award was presented to Principal Mary Jane Smith, Cafeteria Manager Ms. Cyndi Hoover, and Physical Education Teachers Wes Leake and Bunny Agar at the 2012 Childhood Obesity and Public Health Conference held at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Throughout the state there were three awards and one honorable mention given.

The award criteria calls for a wide range of nutritional and health activities in schools, as well as cost effectiveness and efficiency in the cafeteria, and measurable results showing an impact on student awareness and participation.

The School Health Awards (SHA) are given by the State Department of Education to recognize schools that encourage students to develop lifelong healthful eating and physical activity habits. It is part of an ongoing program to address childhood obesity in the nation.

The school received the award based on its wide variety of childhood nutrition and educational activities, from the availability of healthy snacks and its “Fuel Up To Play 60” minutes Pep Rally, to its promotion of healthy breakfast menus.
Students can even check out a pedometer from the library just like a book to help them chart the number of steps they take each day.

The school cafeteria has been recognized as a USDA Gold Award winning facility for several years, and students are active in the “Go, Glow and Grow” nutrition education program as well the Student Nutritional Advisory Council. That group is made up of third graders who take part in taste-testing, give input on menu selection, assist with informational lessons on nutrition, and organize promotional activities on eating healthy foods.

The school aims to help boost student brain power by engaging everyone with a physically fit lifestyle. A steady and significant growth in academic improvements are a result of the ongoing emphasis on increasing students’ physical well-being, school officials said. The school’s nutrition efforts motto is “Healthy Choices To Improve Wellness.”

“Implementing a healthy and fit lifestyle for our students and their families will ensure a more active, educated, and healthy community for the future,” said Principal Mary Jane Smith.

The NFL’s “Fuel up to Play 60” program encourages students to stay active at least 60 minutes a day, and the health benefits of drinking milk were applauded during the school’s “Moo Dat” challenge last year. In addition, students have participated in the American Heart Association’s “Jump Rope for Heart” events.

The school has also made use of the School System’s HOPSports program, computer-based instruction that features a number of well-known sports educators. The program was well-received by the students, their parents, and the school faculty when it visited their campus.

Last year, Monteleone Junior High School in Mandeville won one of the three School Health Awards in Louisiana.

This is the fifth year the childhood obesity and public health conference has been held at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. A specific focus of the conference this year was on Louisiana-specific data and solutions related to childhood obesity.


10/24/2012

Students Show Spirit in Middle School Special Olympics


Approximately 120 students from elementary, middle, and junior high schools throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System travelled to the Lakeshore High School Football Stadium on Wednesday morning, October 24, to take part in the second annual Middle School Special Olympics Track and Field Event.

The program opened with the traditional parade of athletes and the passing of the torch from one school’s representative to another, ending with the National Anthem sung by Terelle Bibbins, Claire Putnam and Paige Putnam.

Students participated in four different events: 25 and 50 meter track, long jump, overhand and underhand softball tossing. Parents and grandparents were on hand to view the competitions after groups of students from twelve schools marched onto the field.

Schools with representatives were Abita Springs Middle School, Bonne Ecole Elementary School, Carolyn Park Middle School, Clearwood Junior High School, Fifth Ward Junior High School, Florida Avenue Elementary School, Lake Harbor Middle School, Lancaster Elementary School, Little Oak Middle School, Mandeville Middle School, Pine View Middle School, and Tchefuncte Middle School.

LHS Coach Larry Route welcomed the visitors to the Lakeshore campus and got things underway by shouting, “Let the Games Begin.” More than 50 student volunteers and staff members of the adaptive physical education program assisted in conducting the field events.

The Lakeshore High School ROTC Color Guard opened the ceremonies by bringing in the flags. Lakeshore High has hosted the event for the past two years.

Renae Wallace, Adaptive Physical Education Coordinator, “This is the second year we have held this event,” she said,” and last year’s was really awesome. We decided to have it again and build it up even bigger. The teachers really like it, because they have their own age group now. It helps keep them together.”

Sharon Hosch, Supervisor of Special Education, said the kids have been excited about the upcoming event, practicing for the different events. “They have studied about the Olympics, they made posters to represent their schools, and it helped that the actual Olympics were held this past summer,” she said. “They learned how to show their abilities in different ways. Not only are they participating as individuals, but they are also representing their schools as a team.”

“And this is not only physical education, it is also recreation where they learn team-building and other social skills, along with their academic study,” Ms. Hosch said. “It’s an integrative experience that spotlights their own abilities. Not everybody has to be a winner; you just try your best. It’s all about participation.”


10/22/2012

St. Tammany Public School District Earns Grade A


The St. Tammany Parish Public School System received a letter grade of “A” in the latest District Performance Scores released by the Louisiana Department of Education Monday afternoon. The District earned a District Performance Score (DPS) of 122.8 for the 2011-2012 School Year.

District Performance Scores are determined using a school district’s individual student scores on the LEAP, iLEAP and EOC (End of Course Testing) as well as attendance and dropout rates, and graduation outcomes.

“Each and every one of our teachers, school employees, students and their families should be congratulated for this tremendous accomplishment,” said Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III. “With the leadership of our School Board, School Administrators and Central Office staff, we were able to see great gains this year. I am very proud of the efforts within our School System.”

“We still have work to do, and we are always looking at ways to improve each of our schools, but for today it is important for our Team St. Tammany to stop and recognize our efforts and celebrate our accomplishments,” Superintendent Folse concluded.


10/18/2012

Salmen Students Create Monopoly Game


A group of 40 Salmen High students visited the WWII museum in New Orleans Thursday to see the final product of a professionally-produced Monopoly game they helped create in partnership with the museum. The special edition of Monopoly was the idea of Salmen High History Teacher Kevin Boone who used a homemade version of it to engage the interest of his students while they studied World War II.

On October 18 the students were guests of honor at the Museum, seeing the movie “Beyond All Boundaries” and playing ten shortened versions of the actual game during a special event in the museum’s lobby. Special historical displays offered information about the various pieces used in the game itself.

The idea for the new game came to Boone during preparation for a school field trip to the Museum earlier this year. He was looking for a new way to teach his world geography students, so as a class project, he had them create a Monopoly game using WWII facts. Each class played the other classes’ game before going to the museum on a field trip.

Boone says he was surprised to find out that no one had already created a Monopoly game based on World War II. He pitched one to museum representatives, who became as excited about the game as his students. The museum began working with the students to create a real Monopoly game, and several months later, the game was delivered to the WWII Museum retail store. It will soon be on sale in over two hundred Wal-mart stores. If the game is a success there, it will go into 2,000 stores nationwide.

Boone feels the game will help future generations to come learn about and understand World War II better, and he appreciates being given the opportunity to make it come to reality.

In addition, he feels his students will be better ready to pass their End of Course testing as a result of playing the game. “It has been a tremendous learning experience,” he said.

The museum unveiled the WWII-Themed edition of the popular Monopoly game this week after making a number of pre-release sales through its online store. They worked in conjunction with USAoploy, under license from Hasbro, Inc., with the aim being to educate young generations about the significance of World War II, the “war that changed the world.”

The game, entitled “America’s WWII: We’re All in This Together,” introduces basic facts about WWII to the generation for whom the war is distant history and not living memory. Creators hope the game will encourage young people to talk to their parents and grandparents about their own experiences during and after the war.

Spaces on the game board and corresponding deed cards feature significant WWII events and “Railroads” are replaced by “Supply Routes” while “Houses” and “Hotels” are replaced by “Camps” and “Headquarters.” “Allies” cards and “Home Front” cards replace the familiar “Chance” and “Community Chest” cards. Players have the opportunity to move around the board using specially designed tokens such as a Sherman tank and combat boots while building support and rallying the troops. An educational website will accompany the release of the game.

“Games can stoke interest in important moments and historical events such as World War II,” said Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, The National WWII Museum’s president and chief executive officer. “To reach young people who live in a kinetic world of word, sound and image, we must do so in a manner that is both memorable and entertaining. Our Education Department, working with high school history students, went to great lengths to vet the facts and ensure our game is not just entertaining, but above all, a vehicle to convey the importance and the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation.”

Walt Burgoyne, the education program director at the museum, thanked the Salmen students for all the hard work they had done in the initial development of the game to provide a fun and engaging way to learn about history. “Young people can learn a lot of history with this game in a fun way,” he stated, especially when parents or grandparents share with their children their personal connection to the war.

Museum representatives were inspired by the Salmen students to explore other game possibilities.

Chris Michel, Director of Retail Sales for the Museum, said, “When we saw what Mr. Boone and his students had done with the game, it just inspired us here at the museum. We are very grateful to them.”

For more information, visit www.americasww2game.com.


10/17/2012

Slidell Jr. High Donates Spanish Flag To City

A new Spanish flag was presented to Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan by the Slidell Junior High School Spanish and Culture Classes in ceremonies the morning of October 17 at the flagpole area north of Slidell Train Depot.

The school band played the National Anthem and the Spanish National Anthem, while the Mayor and Tyler McManus raised the flag next to the statue of John Slidell.

The program opened with comments by Trevor Roy about Spain’s influence in Louisiana, included a talk by Tyler McManus about Spain’s flag symbols, and the presentation of the flag to the Mayor by Ahrieal Albert.

Mayor Drennan said the ceremony was a wonderful event, and he was honored to be a part of the presentation. “I think it’s great our students are studying Spanish history in our country. It’s been very influencial in our nation, and I think it will continue to do so for years to come.”

The Old Spanish Trail being one of the major thoroughfares through Slidell reminds the Mayor that this area was a part of Spain many years ago. “We have a lot of Spanish influence in our city, and that influence is growing,” he said. “It gets overlooked sometimes, but our city has many historical Spanish cultural influences.”

He presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the Spanish and Culture Classes, thanking them for their contribution to the city.

Principal Mackin said the ceremony was a great way to connect with the community. “We want to make these community connections any way we can, and to do this for the city and have the Mayor turn out for the occasion is a great experience for our kids. It’s a great example of the connections between our School System and the community we work in and educate our young people in.”

He commended Band Teacher Celia Guillory and Spanish Teacher Melba McDaniel for their efforts in making the project a success.

Ms.McDaniel said the new flag, which was purchased in Spain, replaced a previous flag at the historical plaza area at the intersection of Front Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The idea came to her as she passed by the flag plaza one day and noticed that the Spanish flag would be retiring soon. “My students have been studying about Spain and it's cultural impact in Latin America and in Louisiana, so I presented the idea of buying a new flag to Principal Patrick Mackin and students and they became enthusiastic about the idea. The Spanish classes conducted a fund raiser to pay for the flag and the reception, Ms. McDaniel said.


10/16/2012

School Bus Drivers and Attendants Honored During Safety Week

Schools throughout St. Tammany Parish are greeting their school bus drivers and bus attendants this week with special programs to honor them for their services through the school year.

The School Board last week adopted a resolution proclaiming the week of October 15 through October 19 as “Bus Owners/Operators and Bus Attendants Appreciation Week,” which coincides with National School Bus Safety Week.

Mrs. Cathy Aime, Supervisor of Administration and head of the Transportation Department, told the Board that the week showcases the work of the “unsung heros” of school bus drivers and attendants. The resolution introduced by Board Member Charles Harrell outlined the accomplishments of the transportation department drivers and attendants. The 372 buses travel approximately 31,000 miles a day carrying 28,000 students.

Drivers and attendants were commended for their excellent safety record, achieved through a variety of training programs and maintenance practices. A number of special activities are planned for this week to promote safety and recognize the difficult job carried out daily by school bus drivers.


School Cafeterias Celebrate National School Lunch Week

10/15/2012
National School Lunch Week is being observed in schools throughout St. Tammany Parish this week, with a number of activities planned during the lunch hours.

At the School Board meeting last week, Assistant Superintendent of Administration William “Bill” Brady said that National School Lunch Week would be observed October 15-19, 2012, with a number of special programs, skits and presentations planned by Student Nutritional Advisory Councils and school cafeteria staffs.

Board members, parents, grandparents and other special guests will be joining students and faculty for lunch at a number of schools. Brady said the School System’s award-winning nationally-recognized School Food Service always takes an active part in a variety of School Lunch week activities. Several schools have won national and state honors in lunch week themed competitions.

A resolution introduced by Board Member Beth Heintz was passed, proclaiming local participation in the National School Lunch Week. This year's theme is “School Lunch: What’s Cooking?” Each day the St. Tammany public schools program serves approximately 10,400 breakfasts and 26,250 lunches.

The resolution commended cafeteria staffs, Food Services Supervisor Pat Farris and the many student members of the Student Nutrition Advisory Councils in schools throughout the System. Student Nutrition Advisory Councils provide student input for menu selections, lunchroom activities and decorations.

 



School System Honors Principals and Teachers of the Year

10/12/2012
The annual program recognizing the 2012-2013 Teachers of the Year and Principals of the Year was held Thursday, October 11, prior to the regular monthly School Board meeting.

Principals honored were Dr. Michael Peterson of Northshore High School, who won the District High School Division; Susan Patin of Lake Harbor Middle School, who won the Middle School/Junior High Division; and Mary Jane Smith of Honey Island Elementary School, who won the District Elementary School Division as well as the Regional selection and a finalist for the state honor.

Teachers of the Year recognized were Suzanne Pichon of Bonne Ecole Elementary School, winner in the District Elementary Division; Amanda Warren of Lake Harbor Middle School, winner of the District Middle School Division, as well as being a regional finalist and the State of Louisiana Middle School Teacher of the Year; and Dawn Casselberry of Northshore High School, who won the District High School Division.

The program was preceded by the Mandeville High Show Choir kicking off the evening with several patriotic musical selections during the monthly entertainment portion of the event.

During the School Board meeting, Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III introduced each honoree, showing videos produced by Channel 13 featuring information and interviews about each one. Each educator was commended for their dedication and hard work, their relationships with the students, and the cooperative spirit among their co-workers. Superintendent Folse then presented each with a special award signifying their achievement.

In their comments, the District winners thanked the Board for giving them the chance to work with the students and other educators as a team in St. Tammany Parish.

“Tonight is a night we always look forward to as a School System,” Superintendent Folse said, “an opportunity to recognize our high-quality educators. Seeing these individuals we honor tonight, we know the St. Tammany Parish Public School System is in great shape, and we can be proud of them all.”

“I congratulate the six persons we honored tonight and know that they represent all of our great administrators and teachers throughout the System,” Superintendent Folse commented.



Hundreds of Bus Drivers and Attendants Gather for Annual Workshop

10/11/2012
Several hundred bus owner/operators and school bus attendants gathered at Pelican Park’s Castine Center in Mandeville Friday, October 12, to attend the second annual Transportation Department workshop put on by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

Four hours of special presentations were delivered to the group, from a welcome by Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III and a financial update by School Board President Stephen J. “Jack” Loup, III to a safety talk by Sergeant Jeremy Church of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Traffic Division.

Superintendent Folse thanked those in the audience for what they do for the School System, being representatives throughout the community each and every day.

The event was a chance for the Transportation Department to meet with and hear questions from the hundreds of school bus drivers who deliver more than 26,000 students to school and back home again, travelling more than 29,000 miles in 372 buses each day.

Mrs. Cathy Aime, Supervisor of Administration and head of the Transportation Department, ended the conference after breakout sessions by Assistant Transportation Director Dawn Buell, Coordinator of Speech/Language/Hearing Programs Mrs. Emily Homer, and Risk Manager Kirt Gaspard and Tommy Normand, Loss Control Specialist with Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Company.

Presentations also featured Supervisor of Administration Byron Williams, and Supervisors of Human Resources Brandon Clanton and Mrs. Dorable Dangerfield.

Students were not in school that day due to teachers taking professional development workshops in the morning and attending to record-keeping duties for the first grading period in the afternoon.



Students Get Day Off Friday For Teacher Workday

10/10/2012
Public school students will not attend classes on Friday, October 12, as teachers will be taking part in professional development workshops and carrying out record-keeping duties.

The first grading period of the 2012-2013 School Year ends Thursday, October 11, and teachers will spend Friday attending professional development sessions in the morning and completing end of grading period record-keeping in the afternoon.

Classes for students resume Monday, October 15.



Reading Momentum Continues Across Parish

10/09/2012
Cypress Cove Elementary in Slidell launched its celebrity reading program this week, with Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III as the first visitor to read to the classes.

Next week Mayor Freddy Drennan of Slidell will be the guest reader for the literacy promotion project, and a lineup of other special guests is being finalized.

PTA President Rosalin Scott is rounding up the special guest readers from throughout the community

Superintendent Folse read to two kindergarten classes, about 40 students, taught by Kristen Remerow and Stephanie Pell. He read the book “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?,” which is proving to be one of the favorite books for the guest readers.

Last week guest readers throughout the parish took part in Read for the Record, a nationwide effort to read the same book at the same time to elementary school students all across the United States.



Fair Spotlights School System Participation

10/08/2012
The 102nd St. Tammany Parish Fair was held this past week, with thousands of visitors converging on the fairgrounds in Covington to see the talents and work of hundreds of students from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System on display.

The fair’s many activities showcased the work of students across the parish, from livestock competitions and educational exhibitions to beauty pageants and musical performances by area high school bands.

Dennis Glass of the fair association told the audience at the opening ceremonies that the fair volunteers work really hard as a group to make the annual four-day event take place, and he really appreciated the hard work of the schools and students to help make the fair a success.

He introduced stage guests including Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, School Board President Stephen J. “Jack” Loup, III, and School Board member Michael Dirmann.

Superintendent Folse said he couldn’t think of a better connection for the School System to make with the community than the parish fair, since they have such a long history of cooperation and support.

Glass pointed out the high number of students and parents attending the fair on Friday, visiting the exhibits, taking part in the competitions, and riding the rides on the midway. The School System has given students the day off the Friday of the fair for many years, an action that increases participation and gives more people the opportunity to see the handiwork of all those who take part in the exhibits, he said.

The theme of the 2012 Fair was “200 Years in Louisiana History: The Bi-Centennial Celebration." Educational displays featuring student work from elementary through high school grades detailed the history of Louisiana in a multitude of creative ways.

“We have 55 school exhibit booths in the educational building full of student work,” Glass told the audience. The fair association awarded a more than $4500 in fair premium prizes this year to the exhibit participants who won first, second, and third places and honorary mentions.

Folse said that Parish President Pat Brister, the honorary Grand Marshal of the Fair Parade this year, and Roy Burns, whom the fair was dedicated to this year, were both big supporters of the public school system. “They are both well-deserving of this honor, and we are glad to share this moment with them,” Folse said.

He gave a special thank you to the Covington High band for its participation in the parade and opening ceremonies. “Most students are off having fun today, but we appreciate the hard work of the band, the dancers, and flag team, as well as the ROTC Color Guard,” he said. “We are really proud of you.”

“This is all about what we love about St. Tammany,” said Parish President Brister, thanking the school board for its encouragement of school participation. “It’s wonderful seeing all the kids out here enjoying the day.”

Burns stated that the fair was a great event because it provides young people a chance to showcase their talents in everything from agriculture and horticulture to arts and crafts. “St. Tammany Parish has a wealth of talent, and that talent begins with the Covington High Band and dance team who are with us today,” he said.

“One of the most important things is the support that the School Board and Trey Folse give to the fair each year,’ Burns stated. “Without the talent and support of the School System, this fair would not be a reality.”

Mayor Mike Cooper of Covington also thanked Covington High band members for their participation in the parade and opening ceremonies. This year’s beauty pageant winners were introduced at the opening ceremonies, several of them students from area St. Tammany parish schools.

Parish Fair Association President Melissa Primes Dottolo thanked the LSU Agricultural Center, the 4-H Club members, and the FFA chapter members for their active participation in the fair each year. “We thank them for their involvement with the children of our community and helping to keep agriculture alive,” she said. “The fair does all of this for the children in our schools. We put all the money we raise back into our schools through prizes, scholarships, and contacts through the community. All the money goes back to our kids.”




Walgreens Conducts School Supplies Drive

10/07/2012
Walgreens pharmacies on the Northshore have been conducting a “Back to School” Supply Drive for students in economic need in St. Tammany Parish. In August, customers were encouraged to buy items at the store and then place them in the donation box to be given to the schools.

The ten Walgreens stores are taking part in the school supplies project as designed by the “Kids in Need Foundation.”

Some stores donated the supplies to community youth agencies, and some school supplies were delivered to Abney Early Childhood Center in Slidell and Lyon Elementary School in Covington. Lyon Elementary will use them in the “Little Rembrandts” art mentoring program launched by St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce volunteers recently.

“We welcome the opportunity to join in this parishwide effort with Walgreens to make sure all our students have the school supplies they need to enjoy a successful day at school,” said Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III. “Parents, teachers, and School System personnel have played a key part in community donation drives like this for many years.”



St. Tammany Students Read for the Record

10/04/2012
Thousands of elementary students across St. Tammany Parish took part in the 2012 “Read for the Record” event on Thursday, October 4, joining students across the country all in reading the same book at the same time.

In St. Tammany Parish Public Schools guest readers were invited into the classrooms to read the book to the students. Guests included Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, School Board Members Stephen J. “Jack” Loup, III, and Elizabeth Heintz and Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Arabie.

The Sixth Annual Jumpstart’s Read for the Record is the world’s largest shared reading experience, and a number of schools conducted special programs to encourage literacy by sharing with the community the opportunity to read with the students. Last year 2.2 million students participated.

This year’s event spotlighted the book “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad.”

Superintendent Folse read the book to the kindergarten classes at Covington Elementary and also the second and third grade classes at Folsom Elementary. At the second school, he also read another book, “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?” and answered questions from the group.

School Board President Loup told his audience the importance of learning to read. “It’s much harder to succeed in life if you don’t know how to read,” he said.

The aim of the Read for the Record program is to put books in the homes of children who need them the most, and the program focuses on helping them make gains in crucial language and literacy skills.

Abney Elementary School celebrated literacy with a special day entitled “Reading Rocks at Abney.” Several programs were scheduled through the day, including a reading session, a parent workshop, and the “Great Book Giveaway.”

The Abney Literacy Team at the school presented a workshop for parents, discussing the importance of literacy and reading aloud to their children. Every student, Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade, received a book to take home and add to their own library. The books were donated by Books for Kids.

 




Superintendent Joins Chamber Advisory Board

10/04/2012
Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III has been appointed to a one-year term on the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board by the group’s Chairman-Elect Amy Edwards.

The chamber represents a cross-section of businesses in the community and has partnered with the St. Tammany Parish Public School System on several projects over the past year, including the Chamber Expo held at Lakeshore High School and the recent “Cultural Economy Luncheon” featuring ProStart students from three area high schools. The Chamber is also working with the School System on an art mentoring project at Lyon Elementary School called “Little Rembrandts.”

Regarding Superintendent Folse’s appointment to the advisory board, Lacey Toledano, President and CEO of the chamber, said, “We utilize a matrix to ensure that our various member business categories are represented on our board of directors. We then round out our representation with one-year advisory board members appointed by our board chairman to enhance communication with other agencies or organizations in the community. We are most pleased that in 2013 Mr. Folse has agreed to include our Chamber on his list of responsibilities.”

Amy Edwards, the incoming Chairman of the Board, said, “Communications between the business and education leadership is critical to economic and workforce development and maintaining our high quality of life. Having the Superintendent on our board is the best way to achieve those lofty goals.”




Chevron Grant Helps Students With Hands-On Science Learning

10/04/2012
The scientific investigative method became a bit more exciting in a Covington Elementary third grade classroom Tuesday afternoon when several boxes arrived with new research equipment paid for by a Chevron grant.

Teacher Paula Allen began opening boxes and pulling out a variety of science lab accessories, including a high-definition video camera for the classroom computer, a weather station, and a microscope capable of sending images to the projection whiteboard.

School officials, Chevron officials, and Carolina Martin with DonorsChoose.Org watched as the children reacted in excitement as the boxes were opened. They were each handed safety goggles, a collection of different kinds of rocks, and various other items keyed to their curriculum.

The kids immediately took the items to their desks and started working with the hands-on lesson materials. “These things help learning come to life for my students,” Allen said.

Karen Rawls with Chevron said that her company is investing in the community through a number of programs. “We believe that effective education which includes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) can foster bright young talent for the future workforce and health economic growth for our country,” she said.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III thanked Chevron for providing leadership in funding educational programs, especially those dealing with the STEM subject areas. “We are excited about this project that will make a difference in our students’ lives,” Superintendent Folse stated. “Chevron is the best corporate partner we have. What they are doing is making a huge difference in this School System. They are truly making a connection with our community.”

Present for the event were School Board President Stephen J. “Jack” Loup, III, Board member Elizabeth Heintz, and Assistant Superintendents Cheryl Arabie, Pete Jabbia, and William “Bill” Brady, who was principal of Covington Elementary some years ago.

Loup stated that anytime kids can put their hands on an object and really look at it up close, they will always be more interested in learning about it and how it works. "They are going to be very inquisitive, as they are at this age, and this will be outstanding for the teacher to help the kids know what's really going on," he said. The microscope which projects images on the classroom whiteboard will be a great tool to show them the same thing all at the same time, Loup went on to say.

Part of the experience will be for the classroom to communicate with other classrooms over the internet what they are learning. "Students are now able to see how others are learning the same things all over the country and around the world," Loup explained.

The Covington Elementary project came to Chevron's attention through the “DonorsChoose.Org” website. Ms. Martin explained that the national “DonorsChoose.org” website helps match donors such as Chevron with projects proposed by teachers. “Education is very important,” she said, ”and working with teachers and donors has been very exciting.”

The event was part of Chevron’s “Fuel Your School” program which provides grant funds for classroom projects developed by public school teachers and posted to the “DonorsChoose.Org” website.




Videos Explain New Changes In School Food Menus

10/02/2012
Several changes were made to School Food Service menus this semester as a result of a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) effort to improve the nutritional quality of meals for students. Informational videos explaining these changes are now available for students and parents.

The videos will soon be shown in the schools across the parish to help students understand the new USDA requirements. One video was created for elementary and middle school audiences, and another video is aimed at junior high and high school students.

They are also available for viewing on this website by visiting the School Food Service webpage or by clicking here for the junior high/high school video and clicking here for the elementary school/middle school video.

The menu changes are designed to help combat the problem of childhood obesity by offering different menu items as well as specifying the quantity of each item offered. The changes will continue to meet the nutritional needs of school children, but also aim to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Over the past several years the St. Tammany Parish Public School System has won numerous national awards for its School Food Service. Under the new requirements, school cafeterias will offer a greater variety as well as increase the serving sizes of fruits and vegetables.




Schools To Close October 5 For Parish Fair Holiday

10/01/2012
Students in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System will be out of school on Friday, October 5, the second day of the Parish Fair. The fair will celebrate “School Day” by giving students and their parents an opportunity to participate in the annual parade, the opening ceremonies, and a variety of horticultural exhibits and livestock competitions.

Other fair attractions include community arts and crafts, home economics and the educational exhibit booths put together by schools throughout the parish. The fair begins on Thursday, October 4, and runs through Sunday, October 7.

The School System has partnered with the parish fair association for more than 100 years to give students the day off so they could participate in many key fair activities such as providing marching bands in the fair parade, and representing their school’s 4-H Club and FFA Chapters with livestock projects.

The educational exhibit displays student work in grade levels kindergarten through 12th grade. The theme of this year’s educational displays will be “200 Years in the Making: Celebrating the Bicentennial of Louisiana Statehood.”

Click here for a photo page of educational exhibits being put in place Monday and Tuesday.

School System support offices will also close on Friday. They will re-open and classes will resume on Monday, October 8, 2012.



Teaching Gardens Planted At Slidell Elementary Schools

09/28/2012
Students at two Slidell elementary schools are learning all about homegrown vegetables this semester, as they plant and nurture several raised beds in the green spaces between classroom wings. Parents and students put together the raised planting beds last Saturday, and classes planted seeds and engaged in fun activities during the initial garden activities this past week.

Abney Elementary School was the first to have a garden dedicated and planted, and Florida Avenue Elementary followed shortly afterwards. Representatives with the American Heart Association were on hand for both occasions, telling the students the importance of good eating habits.

A Gold Shovel plaque was presented to each school, identifying them as a “Teaching Garden School,” by Jessica Gremillion, vice president of the local American Heart Association.

The project not only teaches students how to plant and care for vegetables, but it also comes with a curriculum with lessons on the importance of eating healthy, recycling, and the use of math in keeping track of garden growth. “It’s really just keeping nutrition and physical activity in the front of their minds,” said Ms. Gremillion. “We are trying to get the children to embrace eating healthier while having fun with the garden.”

The Abney Elementary project was funded by LLOG Exploration, and the Florida Avenue Elementary project was funded by Chevron, Ms. Gremillion said. Representatives with Chevron also attended the Florida Avenue Elementary ribbon cutting.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III visited with the children at Florida Avenue Elementary on Friday, congratulating them on their new garden, and sharing with them the fact that Florida Avenue was where he attended elementary school. His children also attended there as well, he said. “These gardens show how beneficial it is for the schools to connect with the community,” he commented, thanking Chevron for its contributions to the project and the American Heart Association who has partnered with the schools in launching the gardens. “I’m proud of all of you,” he told the group.

Materials for the raised garden beds were delivered to the school by the American Heart Association, with the parents putting them together at Abney and the students themselves fitting them together at Florida Avenue Elementary.

“I really want you all to take pride in this garden, because it is a great gift from Chevron,” Ms. Gremillion told the children at Florida Avenue Elementary. “Remember to eat healthy every day.”

The children opened specially prepared packets of seeds, planted them, and then were given instructions on how to water the garden beds every day.

Principal Kimberly Burgoyne of Florida Avenue Elementary said the project pulled in volunteers from the PTA, the school, and Chevron, and the kids were very excited about working in the garden. “The students are really engaged in the project because it is such a hands-on experience,” she explained. The planned curriculum that was provided to go along with the garden will be a great learning opportunity for each class, she went on to say.

Other schools will be putting in teaching gardens as the American Heart Association reviews applications and lines up sponsors for each project.



Little Rembrandts Program To Mentor Lyon Elementary Art Students

09/26/2012
A new art mentoring program begins next month at Lyon Elementary in Covington, a community partnership between the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce and the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

The chamber’s Community Outreach Project is entitled “Little Rembrandts,” and it will involve two volunteers visiting the art class of Meghan Garcia three days a week for seven weeks, working with the third grade students on a variety of art and art appreciation projects.

The project was unveiled at the annual “Cultural Economy Luncheon” held by the chamber of commerce at Tchefuncta Country Club on September 26. A video was shown, and chamber officials stated how excited they were to initiate the program. Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III and several School System administrators were on hand for the event.

Lyon Elementary Principal Jeanine Barnes said the chamber project will seek to make a difference in the community by encouraging children to discover and develop their artistic talents. “As part of the project, they will be creating ‘Superbowls’ out of clay, which will then be auctioned off at the Chamber of Commerce fund-raiser in November. The work is being done in conjunction with the St. Tammany Parish Hospital’s Healing Arts Initiative.

Ms. Barnes said that Lyon offers a school-wide arts program, with every class in the school having arts instruction once a week. “Ms. Garcia is very active with the St. Tammany Arts Association, and she really has those children involved,” Ms. Barnes explained. “You can look around her classroom and see the depth of the instruction, including art history where she teaches about the great artists and the works they produced.”

The children learn about drawing, painting and sculptures, as well as technology related to art.

Mary Lee, the chamber member who came up with the idea for “Little Rembrandts,” will be one of the volunteers who will be an art mentor at the school. Chairman of the 2012 Cultural Economy Committee, she heard at a chamber meeting of the needs of children in the community and thought that art mentoring would be a good community project. “I thought this would be a great seed to plant for these children,” she said. Her committee even hopes to have representation at this year’s “Three Rivers Art Festival” in Covington.

Her research on the background on Rembrandt encouraged her to name the project after him. Funding for the project will be provided by St. Tammany Parish Hospital and Lee Financial Partners.

The chamber volunteers will benefit from the involvement as much as the children, Ms. Lee predicted. “The children are the stars of this project,” she said. “They are going to shine.”

Ms. Garcia graduated from Loyola University of New Orleans in fine arts, and her career decision to become an art teacher four years ago was wonderful.

“The kids are amazing,” she said. “They are very creative.” One day this week her class was drawing sketches of a real-life 100 year old bonsai tree.

Lyon Elementary has always welcomed community support and volunteers, Principal Barnes stated. “Almost every day we have guests on campus volunteering to help us,” she said. It gives the children an opportunity to work with members of our community, doing something they normally wouldn’t have the chance to do,” she said.

“Little Rembrandts is a great idea, designing the Superbowls, creating them, and then sharing them with the chamber,” she said.

It’s one more partnership with the community being forged by Lyon Elementary. “Any time we can connect with our community, that helps to support our schools. We cannot do it alone,” Ms. Barnes concluded. “We need our community as much as we need involvement from our parents.”



Ribbon Cutting Held for STEM Lab at Fontainebleau High


09/25/2012
The grand opening of the new science, technology, engineering and math lab at Fontainebleau High School was held Tuesday, September 25, complete with a ribbon cutting attended by dozens of students and visiting dignitaries from Chevron and the New Orleans Hornets.

Among those attending were School Board Member Roanne Tipton, Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, Hornets player Jason Smith, Hornets play-by-play announcer Sean Kelley, and Jean-Paul Dardenne and Karen Rawls with Chevron.

Fontainebleau High School won a $10,000 Chevron and New Orleans Hornets Math and Science Resource Center Grant in April to build the special laboratory for student research and presentation in four key areas: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“The new opportunities provided by this classroom will insure our students a powerful and close-up experience with STEM research, helping them make career choices, have fun learning, and work together as teams on a wide variety of projects,” said Superintendent Folse. “We certainly appreciate Chevron and the New Orleans Hornets connecting with our public school community in this way, extending our reach in this important area of our childrens’ futures.”

Kelley said Chevron and the Hornets have partnered on many different projects throughout the New Orleans area, and the academic enhancing programs on the Northshore have been key accomplishments. Bringing the STEM Lab state-of-the-art technology and career-enhancing learning experiences to Fontainebleau will be one of the most positive impacts on the community, he said.

Principal Johnny Vitrano thanked Chevron and the Hornets for their vision and resources provided to the school that will help students conduct high-level research in a number of areas. Ms. Rawls said the lab will enable students to explore math, science, technology and engineering as well as their own career interests. “Chevron is proud to be a part of that journey,” she said.

Other speakers included Teachers Tracy Hoffman and Karen Mathews, giving an overview of the value of the new STEM lab. “It will become a cornerstone in our District,” said Ms. Hoffman. “Through our sponsors our vision to move students forward into the real world of STEM opportunities has been made real,” said Ms. Mathews.

The facility will encourage interest in STEM careers among high school, junior high, and middle school students. STEM education is at the heart of today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy.

The specific purpose of the Fontainebleau High research lab is to increase student achievement in math and science, said Principal Vitrano, as well as to increase interest in other STEM courses and careers by offering more engaging, project-based and inquiry-based learning into the school’s instructional efforts. “We are proud to have this new facility for our students,” he said.

The new resource center enables students to research, via communication and collaboration with the outside world, the effective integration of STEM subject areas. The students can use real world tools to connect learning to specific careers, tools such as various computer software programs, applications and engineering kits.

Community outreach efforts are also a part of the project, sharing the activities with middle and junior high schools that provide students to Fontainebleau High. Using the “STEM-Up™ model,” a comprehensive program of interrelated activities, the school hopes to engage students, parents, teachers, and community-based organizations with hands-on activities, role models, and information about career opportunities in STEM.

Chevron has partnered with the New Orleans Hornets on several community service programs, including a “Mathmobile” and the Mathlete’s program which rewards students for improving or maintaining good grades in math.



Hundreds Attend Annual College & Career Fair

09/25/2012
Hundreds of St. Tammany Parish Public School System 11th and 12th grade students visited the Northshore College and Career Fair on September 24 at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond to gather information and talk first-hand to representatives from 90 universities, vo-tech colleges, and government agencies.

Many students rode buses from Slidell High and Salmen High for the occasion, and many were accompanied by their parents for the important event. A number of graduation coaches and counselors from St. Tammany schools were also in attendance.

“The students came in quite focused,” said Dr. Regina Sanford, Secondary Supervisor. “They knew who they wanted to talk to and what information they wanted to get. It was a very positive experience.”

An information booth manned by the St. Tammany Parish Clerk of Court Malise Prieto gave the students an opportunity to register to vote as well.




Literacy Program Off To Great Start in Salmen Learning Community

09/24/2012
A report updating the progress of a literacy grant awarded to the School System last Spring was given to the School Board at its September meeting, with Supervisor Beth Laine explaining the initial successes of the program, particularly its positive impact on the community.

“We are focusing on developing literacy skills from the very young through high school,” she told the Board, “and all elements of literacy are included in the project.”

The St. Tammany Parish Public School System was one of 17 districts in the state to receive part of a new federal grant entitled the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant (SRCL) awarded to Louisiana by the U.S. Department of Education in April.

The program begins working with children even before they attend school, Ms. Laine stated, and “we continue to work with them so that they leave us ready for college and career. That is the overall goal.”

It focuses on not only reading and writing, but listening and speaking as well. The effort is accomplished in conjunction with several community organizations such as the parish public library, Slidell Memorial Hospital, and volunteers from the Junior Auxiliary.

Many of these community connections were on board even during the writing of the grant proposal, Ms. Laine stated, so the working together began early on. It was a point that Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III stressed, since the School System involvement with like-minded community groups is one of the keys to the program’s success.

The School System is administering the grant with the help of the Center for Development and Learning, a non-profit group experienced in learning techniques and statistical expertise, which helps keep track of results and gather data which will be useful in determining the program’s effectiveness, an important factor if the School System is to continue it with local funding once the grant runs out.

With children regularly tested for progress, administrators will be able to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, both in the students and in how the program content is delivered, and work with families to improve individual literacy skills and the effectiveness of the instruction being given. Family Resource Centers are being set up to help provide families with the materials and instruction to help them improve their children’s literacy skills.

The grant spotlights four goals: first, increase the number of children who enter kindergarten with pre-literacy skills and a readiness to learn; second, increase the number of third grade students who perform at or above grade level; third, increase the number of students graduating on time and college or work-force ready; and, fourth, base literacy instruction on research results to decrease the achievement gap.

Currently the grant involves schools making up the “Salmen Learning Community.” Lower grade programs are at Abney Early Childhood Center, Abney Elementary, the Rainbow Child Care Center, Head Start and Early Head Start. Next year Brock Elementary School will join in the grant program. Higher grade components are being administered at St. Tammany Junior High and Salmen High.

At the high school level, a “Literacy Design Collaborative,” a new team made up of teachers, curriculum specialists, and other professionals, helps keep the work aligned with the Common Cores Standards so that subject area comprehension is maximized and proficiency is demonstrated by all participants.

“We are off to an incredible start with the Salmen High Learning Community,” said Ms. Laine. “We are driven and committed to these children and believe we will reach our goals with the involvement of our amazing teachers, staff, leaders, families and students.”

The grant is funded for two years, and it is hoped it will be funded for the five years. She was confident the effort has gotten off to such a good start that even if funding is reduced later on, they will be able to continue its success. Board members expressed the need for technology to also be involved, since computers are a known incentive for learning. Ms. Laine said that efforts are being made to offer technology to loan out to families who want to work on literacy at home.

Louisiana was one of only six states awarded the federal grant funds. The name of the grant is LIFE Promise, with LIFE standing for Literacy is For Everyone. St. Tammany Parish was to receive $1,833,344 for the first year.



 

Four Graduates Awarded La. Restaurant Association Scholarships

(09-20-2012)
Three St. Tammany Parish Public School System graduates received ProStart scholarships from the Louisiana Restaurant Association's Educational Foundation at a ceremony held in New Orleans last month. A fourth graduate received the General Hospitality Scholarship, which is given to students who are currently enrolled or have been accepted in a hospitality or culinary degree program.

Lakeshore High graduate Sabrina Bodenheimer, Salmen High graduate Kaila Mogg-Stone, and Mandeville High graduate Melissa McGuire all received the LRAEF/NRAEF ProStart scholarships. ProStart is a nationwide, two-year program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow's industry leaders.

From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart's industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills and a foundation for future success in the hospitality industry. Bodenheimer and McGuire are students at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University, and Mogg-Stone will attend the Louisiana Culinary Institute.

Scott Kohls of Fontainebleau High's Class of 2012, the general hospitality scholarship recipient, is also a student at Chef Folse culinary institute.

The LRAEF Board of Directors, through its Scholarship Fund, awarded a total of $40,000 in scholarships to 14 students from throughout the state to further their post-secondary culinary educations. The students were presented with their awards at the 2012 LRAEF Five Star Futures Gala event at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

“The LRAEF Board of Directors is thrilled to reward the hard work of these students with funds from our Scholarship Fund,” said LRAEF Chair John Eastman. “We are all very proud of our recipients and know that their commitment to the food service industry will make it much strong in the coming years.”

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation Scholarship Fund was created in 2009 to provide an opportunity to further educate ProStart® students, culinary/hospitality students, industry employees and educators by giving financial support via scholarship funds with hopes that the recipients select the culinary and/or hospitality fields as a career choice or continue to work in the industry.


St. Tammany Public Schools Get Top ACT Score Average in State

(09-19-2012)
St. Tammany Parish public school students in the Class of 2012 received an average composite score of 21.9 on the ACT, putting the parish at the top of Louisiana results. St. Tammany’s scores for the test were above both the state and national averages.

“Our students excel in many areas, but having the top state ranking in ACT scores helps get their college careers off to a good start and has special meaning for their parents,” said Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III. “Congratulations to students, parents, teachers, School Board members, staff members, and administrators at all of the schools for this outstanding achievement.”

“We are pleased that we are continuing to see growth in our scores,” Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Arabie said. “We are proud to have the top position in the state, but it is especially good to see that when compared to students nationwide, St. Tammany students are above average.”

From 2007 through 2011, St. Tammany Parish Public School System students have shown a gradual increase in the District composite ACT score, from 21.6 in 2007, up to 21.7 in 2007, then 21.8 in 2010.

For twenty-one of the past 22 years, St. Tammany’s public schools have been at the top of the state’s composite ACT scores. In the 2012 results, the state composite score was 20.3 and the national composite score was 21.1, compared to St. Tammany’s 21.9. While District scores include only public school students, state and national scores include public and non-public school students taking the ACT.

 


 

Superintendent Visits K-Kids At Magnolia Trace Elementary

(09-18-2012)
Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III visited Magnolia Trace Elementary School in Mandeville Monday to read a story to the second and third grade K-Kids members. He entertained the group by reading the book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud.

Third grade teacher Laura Cangiamilla, the K-Kids Advisor, thanked Superintendent Folse for his visit. “The students truly enjoyed hearing the story, and we were honored to have you as our first guest speaker of the year,” she said.


ProStart Students To Participate in Chamber of Commerce Luncheon Event

(09-17-2012)
Students from the ProStart culinary arts programs at three west St. Tammany area high schools will take part in the September 26 “Cultural Economy Luncheon” held annually by the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce.

An “enticing presentation of edible delights” will be on display in an award winning fashion, culinary creations by students from Fontainebleau High School, Mandeville High School and Lakeshore High School.

Music by the Fontainebleau High School Trio will be provided, and local artwork featured in the St. Tammany Parish Hospital “Healing Arts Initiative” will be on display.

Also being showcased during the event being held at Tchefuncta Country Club will be the unveiling of the chamber’s newest Community Outreach Project entitled “Little Rembrandts.” A video will be shown about the third grade art class taught by Meghan Garcia at Lyon Elementary which will be mentored by chamber member volunteers over seven weeks during the fall semester.

St. Tammany Parish Hospital is sponsoring the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. For more information about attending, contact the St. Tammany West Chamber.

The luncheon will feature Chef Susan Spicer with a cooking demonstration and book signing. Ms. Spicer is a well-known area chef who has appeared on local and national television. In May of 2010 she was inducted into the James Beard “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.”



09/17/2012

Superintendent Speaks To Retired Employees Association


Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III was the guest speaker for the St. Tammany Retired School Employees Association when it met September 13 at the David Treen Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville. Approximately 100 people attended the group’s first meeting of the School Year.

He gave a review of the past School Year and reported on events coming this School Year, with an emphasis on the variety of community connections being created throughout the parish. Superintendent Folse stated that School System several fund-raising events have helped specific non-profit organizations with their projects as well as supplied each school with an Automatic External Defibrillator.

The St. Tammany West Chamber’s annual business expo held at Lakeshore High was quite a success, he said, with both the School System and business community benefitting from the event.

Marian Arrowsmith, president of the retired employees group, thanked him for the updated information, especially the efforts to help retired employees become more involved in School System activities. The group appreciated use of the Treen center auditorium for their meetings, she said.

School Board President Stephen J. “Jack” Loup, III gave a legislative report to the association.




09/12/2012

Fourteen National Merit Semi-finalists Listed in St. Tammany Schools


Fourteen St. Tammany Parish Public School System students were named Wednesday as National Merit Scholarship program Semi-finalists for the 2012-2013 School Year.

Northshore High School listed nine among their students, with one from Mandeville High School, and four from Fontainebleau High School.

National Merit Semi-Finalists for 2013 from Northshore High School are Alexius G. Abell, Emily C. Campbell, Michael J. Capritto, Juan Carrasquilla, Zachary Collins, Daniella K. Gentile, Aretha Y. Guo, Samuel R. Holladay, and Joshua Xu.

National Merit Semi-Finalists for 2013 from Fontainebleau High School are Caitlyn Moroney, Robert Boese, Justin Magrath, and John Deeble.

Mandeville High School’s National Merit Semi-finalist is Kathryn E. James.

The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®)–a test which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year–and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements.

Each year, in early September, about 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, Semifinalists are designated on a state representational basis.

NMSC provides scholarship application materials to Semifinalists through their high schools. To be considered for a National Merit® Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the information provided to each Semifinalist.

Finalists in the program are announced in February.

The 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program will award some 8300 scholarships worth more than $32 million next spring. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC's goals of honoring the nation's scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2013. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis.

About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor's employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.




09/12/2012

School System Launches United Way Campaign for 2012-2013

More than 100 educators and staff members from throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System met in Mandeville Tuesday to take part in the kick-off program for this year’s United Way fund-raising campaign. A video was shown giving an overview of the many ways United Way funds are used to help children, their parents, and others throughout the area.

William Brady, Assistant Superintendent of Administration, welcomed the group to the David Treen Instructional Technology Center and explained the procedures for getting the information out about this year’s campaign. The goal for this year is $185,083.

Shirleen Carter, Executive Director with the United Way of Southeast Louisiana St. Tammany Regional Office, expressed her appreciation for the School System’s participation, and especially the hard work of the individuals gathered in the room. She told how recent budget cuts had hit the United Way, making it necessary to do more with less staff.

“Last year, with the economy being what it was and everything looking like it was going downhill, I can tell you the St. Tammany Parish Public School System stepped up, heard the call and responded,” she reported. The amount raised last year totaled $168, 075. Assistant Superintendent Brady reported that last year schools and support sites throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System contributed more to the annual United Way campaign than ever before.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, a former member of the United Way Leadership Council, thanked the group for their dedication to United Way, saying that there are so many people who need help, people from all walks of life. “There are a lot of people out there hurting,” Folse stated, “And we don’t realize their situation. You think they are doing fine, but many of them don’t have enough money to feed their children.”

“Everybody thinks St. Tammany is so affluent, but then I see statistics like 46 percent of our kids qualifying for free and reduced lunch and that percentage is increasing,” he said. “Everybody from time to time needs a helping hand, and that is what United Way does.”

“We are committed to do our part as a School System, and I know each one of you can make a successful United Way campaign happen at each of our schools,” he concluded.

Ms. Carter thanked Superintendent Folse for his guidance and leadership with the United Way over the past several years, and she also thanked Assistant Superintendent Brady for his involvement as United Way Coordinator for the School System since the early 1990’s. “He is definitely one of our top people,” she said of Brady. “In fact, he was one of the first people we honored as a Hidden Hero.”

Al Hamauei, Campaign Chairman for the St. Tammany Leadership Council, United Way, told the group they had no idea how important the St. Tammany School System was to a successful fund-raising campaign. “I appreciate all of you,” he said. “You have given more to the United Way than any other group in St. Tammany.” He recalled how United Way helped many south Louisiana families and community service agencies recover from Hurricane Katrina.

Ms. Carter also mentioned the success of the Dolly Parton “Imagination Library,” which provides books for young children to read. “The School System was one of the first groups to step up and contribute to that effort,” she said. “You have always been so generous and had great community connections. There have been so many times when you came together and donated funds to worthwhile community causes, in addition to United Way. “

In June of last year, Assistant Superintendent Brady, and Dr. Jeffery Burgoyne, an Assistant Principal at Slidell High, were especially recognized for their efforts on behalf of the group. Ms. Carter at that time also presented the group’s “Platinum Award” to Superintendent Folse and School Board President Stephen “Jack” Loup, III, for the School System’s donations to the 2010-2011 campaign. Ms. Carter said it is phenomenal what the School Board does in contributing to community service organizations and disaster relief efforts.

 




09/11/2012

College and Career Fair Set at SLU for September 24


St. Tammany Parish Public School System students will be among the thousands of young people attending this Fall’s Northshore College and Career Fair to be held on Monday, September 24, at the Pennington Center on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University.

The annual event is one of the largest college informational fairs in the state and begins at 6:00 p.m. and continues to 8:30 p.m. Participants will be able to explore a multitude of educational opportunities. A large number of college institutions, vocational schools, and other agencies are expected to have tables offering a variety of printed information with representatives on hand to answer questions.

For more information or to pre-register, visit lacollegefairs.com.

The Pennington Center is located at 1350 N. General Pershing Street in Hammond, on the west side of the main Southeastern Campus.

 



09/11/2012

Parish Government Honors Lake Harbor Middle Teacher Amanda Warren

The St. Tammany Parish Council presented Lake Harbor Middle School Fourth Grade Teacher Amanda Warren with a Certificate of Recognition Monday night, citing her many contributions to the School System and congratulating her for being named the 2012 Louisiana State Middle School Teacher of the Year.

Parish Council Chairman Marty Gould noted that Ms. Warren was a lifelong resident of St. Tammany Parish and came from a family of educators. He and Parish President Pat Brister joined Superintendent W. L. "Trey" Folse, III and Susan Patin, Lake Harbor Middle School Principal, at the podium to make the presentation.

Ms. Warren thanked the council for honoring her and said she was a product of the School System herself. “Teaching is what I love to do,” she said.

Superintendent Folse stated that he was proud of Mandy as one of those students who return to the School System as educators and contribute so much to the community. “Each school throughout the state nominates one teacher for the title, so Mandy represents all the middle school teachers across the state,” he said. “She is the best of the best.”

Superintendent Folse went on to say that the School System appreciates the relationship it has with the St. Tammany Parish Council, Parish President Brister and the administration. “It was evidenced in how well we all worked together during Hurricane Isaac last week,” he said.

Ms. Patin said that Mandy was a fantastic teacher and she wished that all the parish council members could visit her in her classroom to see the awesome job she does.

Ms. Warren won the state title in July during the Louisiana Department of Education’s sixth annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration in Baton Rouge. She was one of eight regional finalists picked earlier this year for the recognition .

 


 

School Libraries Get Copies of Book That Tells of Search for the Official State Flag

(09-06-2012)
School libraries throughout St. Tammany are now offering a book by Glen Duncan and Curtis Vann that tells the story of the search for the official Louisiana State Flag, a project that began in 2006 and proved more complex than expected.

The book entitled “A Modern History of the Louisiana Pelican Flag: A Tale of the Surprisingly Difficult Quest for the Official State Flag” was published last year and is being distributed to school libraries across the state this fall.

St. Tammany Parish Public Schools received their books in late August and on Tuesday distributed them to the principals of the schools.

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) helped bring the books to School Systems around the state, and representatives from three St. Tammany area DAR chapters presented the book to Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Arabie.

The mission to find and recognize the actual design of the official state flag was complicated by the use of several different designs throughout the state. Eventually, after looking at all the different designs, officials approved the new official design in November of 2010.

“It was a huge project, and we are proud to have accomplished the task,” Duncan said in an interview.

The entire project was initiated by an eighth grade student from south Louisiana who had noted inconsistencies in the different state flags he had seen. He contacted a state legislator with the suggestion that a law should be passed to standardize the design of the flag.

 


Schools Reopen Today, Officials Monitor Pearl River Cresting

(09-02-2012)
All St. Tammany Parish Public Schools and Offices were scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, September 4, 2012.

School System leaders continue to be in constant contact with St. Tammany Parish officials about the possible cresting of the Pearl River. Any decisions about school closures in the area will be made at the appropriate time.

“The safety of the families and students in the Military Road area is our primary concern at this time. The School System will work with any parent who chooses not to send their child to school during this uncertain time.” said Superintendent W.L. “Trey” Folse, III.

Parents in the Military Road area should continue to monitor the situation on this website. We will also post updates on Channel 13, Facebook, Twitter, our mobile website (mobile.stpsb.org), and on our hotline (1-866-750-7489).

 


Public Schools To Reopen On Tuesday

(08-31-2012)
St. Tammany Parish Public Schools and Offices will reopen on Tuesday, September 4, following the Labor Day Holiday and the closure of schools for four days last week due to impacts from Hurricane Isaac.

School principals have inspected campuses across the parish following the storm. Hurricane Isaac did push water into St. Tammany Junior High School and the auditorium of Covington High School. Other schools are reporting minor damage from the storm.

Contractors have been brought in to handle the drying, cleaning and remediation of St. Tammany Junior High. Maintenance crews are repairing all other minor storm damage. All football games scheduled for this weekend, August 31 through September 2, have been cancelled.


Teachers Receive Grants From Kelly Cook Foundation

(08-24-2012)
Nine grants totaling $29,227 were awarded to St. Tammany Parish Public School System educators August 23 by the Kelly Gene Cook Sr. Charitable Foundation. The grants from the 2012-2013 Deborah Rochelle Teacher Grant Program will fund the implementation of numerous projects using a variety of tools to help engage student learning.

St. Tammany teachers have been benefitting from the grants program for the past 11 years, using them to fund classroom-based programs to enhance learning opportunities and expand technology resources. This year there were 28 applications for grants.

Donna Jones, a third grade teacher at Bonne Ecole Elementary, received $3450 for her project entitled “Understanding the Facts.” Her students will conduct research using three new laptop computers, with the work designed to help them transition to Common Core Curriculum. They will also set up a “wiki” to publish the information they gather.

Nicole Dicharry, a second grade teacher at Lancaster Elementary, received $3257 for her project “Get the Right Idea with iPads!” She will purchase five iPads to improve reading and writing skills for her students.

Nancy Dieck, a fifth grade teacher at Lake Harbor Middle School, received $3160 for her project entitled “Dieck Online Academy.” It will make her daily classroom math lessons available to students at home using netbooks. The videos of her lessons posted on the internet will re-inforce what they learned in school during the day or preview what they will be learning the next day.

Robin Mitchell, a sixth grade ELA and Social Studies teacher, also at Lake Harbor Middle School, received $3422 for a project entitled “Inspired to Write.” Its aim will be to allow students to increase their narrative writing skills by brainstorming with words and pictures. It will help students organize their thoughts and put them into writing, she said.

Diana P. Stubbs, a special education teacher at Lake Harbor Middle School, received $3410 for “Lights, Camera, Action,” a project which will enable students to explore aspects of English Language Arts and technology using iPads and a variety of video applications.

Kathleen Galeas, a fourth grade teacher at Lake Harbor Middle School, received a grant for $3465 to conduct her project “My Money Matters.” It will provide for a year round model to engage students in real-life situations dealing with the use of economics in society.

Amanda Warren, a fourth grade teacher, also at Lake Harbor Middle School, received $3465 for “Techie Travels,” a project through which her students will learn about USA geography with interactive, engaging technology. The year long experience will provide a virtual exploration of each U.S. region from coast to coast.

Suzanne Buras, a fifth grade gifted teacher at Lake Harbor Middle School, was awarded a grant of $3495 for her project entitled “Tooning In to Creative Writing.” Acknowledging that children are often engaged in an imaginary world, taking part in art and dramatic play, constructing settings, and creating characters of their own, the project will use iPads and a variety of applications to enable them to design digital stories that make their ideas come alive. “It will help them develop and express their ideas,”she told the group.

Katherine Agena, a gifted ELA teacher at William Pitcher Junior High, received a grant worth $2100 for “Project Mac,” which will give students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of literature by creating, designing, and producing videos, sounds, and a website. “The process will result in a deeper, richer understanding of literature texts, and it will also give them techology skills that last a lifetime,” she said.

“We truly appreciate the attention the grants program gives to our School System,” said Meredith Mendez, Director of Communications. “We are very proud of our teachers who took the time to create these special grants and implement them in their classrooms.”

The Kelly Gene Cook Sr. Charitable Foundation was created in 1986 and funds a variety of scholarship and grants programs. Deborah Rochelle established the Deborah Rochelle Teacher Grant program in 1991 to focus grant opportunities specifically for classroom teachers. She told the group of grant recipients that she knows using the latest technology in the classroom helps engage the interest of young people today. “Technology is definitely the way to motivate our students,” she said.

 


Additional JPAMS Student Progress Center Information

(08-20-2012)
The School System is aware of the problems that some parents are having logging into the new JPAMS Student Progress Center. We are continuing to work with the individual schools and their parents to make sure the proper information is entered and parents are allowed to register. Parents should contact their child’s school for further assistance.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience.

To link multiple children to one account, follow the procedure below:

You must use the "Link Students" feature.

• Click the Link Students button on the student select screen of the Student Progress Center.

• Enter the first name, last name, SSN, and birthday of the student you want to add to this account (All information must match the information reported to the school). Click the Submit button to continue.

• Once a student with the entered information is found click the Link To Student button to link this student to your account.

• A page saying "Successfully linked parent to student" will be displayed. Click the Close Link Page button to return to the student select screen of the Student Progress Center.

• In order to see the new student that has been linked to this account you must click the Logout link at the bottom of the screen to log out of the Student Progress Center.

• Log back into the Student Progress Center and now you will be able to see all students that have been added to this account.

 


Two Junior High FFA Chapters Among Top Five Finalists in Nation

(08-18-2012)
More than a dozen members of Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapters from throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System attended the School Board meeting Thursday night for their annual report and update on awards won and soon to be won.

Board members were told that Creekside Junior High School and Fifth Ward Junior High School FFA Chapters have been named among the top five finalists in the nation for the National Middle School FFA Chapter Award. In October, several FFA members from those two schools will be attending the national convention in Indianapolis to make presentations in that national competition.

Earlier this year, St. Tammany chapters were recognized as outstanding chapters at the state level in Louisiana: Folsom Junior High, Lee Road Junior High, Pearl River High, Fifth Ward Junior High and Creekside Junior High.

At the Board meeting, Senior Supervisor of Instruction Denise Parker introduced the FFA members in attendance, their parents and teacher sponsors, saying that St. Tammany has long had a tradition of excellence in the school-based agriculture programs of which FFA has been an integral part.

In a variety of FFA competitions in the past year, St. Tammany FFA students have received over 85 livestock show awards in poultry, beef, sheep, and swine. “But these awards came not just showing their animals, but in judging livestock as well,” Ms. Parker stated. “Our students also garnered awards in horticulture, floriculture, and forestry. Some of our students attained top honors in Public Speaking and Parliamentary Procedure as well. National FFA Scholarships, State Literary Rally, and Science Fair Project awards have also been given to our students to recognize their hard work, dedication and achievements.”

Activities for members include Community Service Projects, Industry Based Certification Programs, and Dual Enrollment .

St. Tammany public schools have FFA programs at six junior high schools, Fontainebleau Junior High, Fifth Ward Junior High, Creekside Junior High, Folsom Junior High, Monteleone Junior High, and Lee Road Junior High. Five high schools also have programs as well, Pearl River High, Fontainebleau High, Northshore High, Lakeshore High, and Covington High. “These teachers are instructing about 1000 students in our high schools alone,” Ms. Parker said.

Ag teachers involved with FFA include Annabeth Neason at Creekside Junior High, David Lindsey at Monteleone Junior High, Tommy Peters at Fifth Ward Junior High, Ray Core at Folsom Junior High, Suzy Thomas at Lee Road Junior High, Payton Monteleone at Covington High, Todd Tarifa and Peter Cannizzaro at Northshore High, Doug Fischer and Billy Mayfield at Pearl River High, Amanda Lee at Lakeshore High, and John O’Bryant and Terry Toney at Fontainebleau High

Fontainebleau High School received a $2500 “Food For All” grant from the FFA this year. It will involve planting a vegetable garden that will provide low-income families with fresh vegetables to enhance their diets, Ms. Parker explained.

The Industry Based Certification opportunities are growing in popularity. “Our high school students, in addition to receiving high school credit, can also receive valuable portable credentials, IBC’s, and/or dual enrollment,” Ms. Parker noted. “Last year, our high school students received credits in NCCER Core, Meat Processing, Welding Level One, and Canine Care.” Eleven students received dual enrollment credit, giving them a headstart on college credits.

Community service projects conducted by FFA members range from teaching elementary students about a healthy lifestyle with “Body Walk,” (a larger than life-size overview of good personal healthcare practices) to the “MooDat competition, participation in the Parish Fair mini farm, and tractor safety workshops.

The culminating event of the school year is the FFA Banquet, a time where parents, students, and teachers can gather to honor all their student achievements.

The Board then heard from William Mayfield and Victoria Novitsky, seniors from Pearl River High who have been elected Louisiana State FFA Vice President and State Treasurer respectively. They told how agriculture programs and the FFA have impacted their lives. Mayfield said the FFA has helped him build confidence in public speaking and become more active in community service. “Through the FFA I have learned many skills that lay the groundwork for my future. I know that I can now accomplish anything I set my mind to,” Mayfield stated.

Miss Novitsky said, “This organization teaches leadership through experience, putting skills learned into action. I have performed better as a student and have become a more responsible citizen as a result of my FFA participation over the past five years.”

“While some view the FFA as just another club or a farming thing, I view the FFA as a life-changing experience,” she said. Her blue corduroy jacket is a symbol of unity, she told the Board. “A unity of members across the world by being an advocate for agriculture.”

“With all of our FFA students’ awards, accomplishments, and honors, they do have very bright futures,” said Ms. Parker.

Board President Stephen J. “Jack” Loup, III congratulated the FFA members for all their recognitions and wished them well at the National convention in October.

The National FFA Organization encourages all agricultural education students to explore careers in Agriscience. Founded in 1928, the group’s mission is to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population by viewing agriculture as not just planting and harvesting, and also seeing it as a science, a business and an art.

 


Covington High Kicks Off Centennial Celebration

(08-10-2012)
With dozens of special guests and more than a thousand students looking on, Covington High School officially kicked off its Centennial Celebration Friday morning with a balloon release and the ringing of the bell from the original school building. The event was held in Jack Salter stadium, with former Coach Jack Salter one of the many dignitaries in attendance.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III congratulated the faculty and students on their Centennial Celebration. “We’re excited to share the special events that are coming all this next year,” he said. Covington High’s graduates have made many contributions over the years to, not only the local area, but to the nation and around the world, he said. “Our theme this year is Community Connections, and I cannot think of a high school that better exemplifies that theme,” Folse stated.

Several School Board members were also in attendance, including President Stephen J. “Jack” Loup, III, Michael Dirmann, and Elizabeth Heintz. Also present on the stage were Assistant Superintendents Cheryl Arabie, William “Bill” Brady, and Pete Jabbia. Other special guests included former supervisors Ralph Menetre and Dennis Sharp, and Sammy O’Keefe, Covington City Councilman.

Principal Deborah McCollum and Student Council President Jillian Carlos emceed the event, with the Marching Lions Band providing the music. The dance team and cheerleaders also took part, particularly in the construction and placement of a quarter-mile long paper chain, each link signed by a student at the school and decorated with positive statements. The chain symbolized the school’s unity and pledge to treat each other fairly.

Special guest Evelyn Talley, who graduated with the Class of 1940, told the students to take advantage of all their opportunities, do their best and appreciate the rich legacy of Covington High. “I loved school, and the band was an important part of my life,” she said. “I still have my trumpet.”

Her husband, the late Theodore “Red” Talley, was a School Board member for many years and took part in the planning of the current high school building.

Clara Marion of the Class of 1962 presented a Covington High School Lion print signed by the artist John Akers to Principal McCollum, and Mayor Mike Cooper’s Administrative Assistant Pam Keller delivered a special proclamation that named August 10th as Covington High School Centennial Year Kick-off Day.

At the beginning of the event the school’s original bell was rung ten times by officers of the Senior Class, each sounding representing one decade for the school. At the end of the ceremonies, one hundred balloons were released while the band played and the audience cheered.

A commemorative Bell Tower will be built next year, with the groundbreaking scheduled for April 19. The bell, rescued from the 1974 fire that destroyed the original Jefferson Avenue building, will be placed in the new Centennial Bell Tower which will be located on the front corner of the school’s campus on U.S. 190.

Over the next year, a number of activities will be held in connection with the Centennial. A play written by teacher Gary Mendoza features the history of Covington High. It will be presented in September.

The main Centennial events will be held in October, Ms. McCollum said. The school has put out a call to all alumni who wish to participate in many activities such as an Alumni band. The school’s website will have more information on the many opportunities to participate.

 


 

08/09/2012

Student Progress Center Replaces STI


This year the St. Tammany Parish Public School System will change its online student information and grade reporting service to a new system called the "Student Progress Center". The switchover will be active after school begins. Parents will receive a letter during the second week of school detailing log on procedures and explaining the new system.

The “STI Student online reporting service” was closed down at the end of the last School Year.

The "Student Progress Center" will use JPAMS software, a product of Education Gear (EDGear). It is already used by 80 percent of Louisiana school systems. The student information management program will allow parents to access, over the internet, attendance, conduct, discipline, grades, detailed progress reports, and transcript history for the past three years.

All postings and changes will be reflected and accessible by the web in “real time.” In many cases the parent will know of test, attendance or discipline results before the student does.

The parent connectivity contains phone call, text messaging, and email components. Calls, texts, and emails will be delivered to the student's home. The system relies on the schools having current, updated home and cell phone numbers and email addresses, so parents and caregivers need to make certain the information on file is correct.

The Software Technology, Inc. (STI) grade reporting system was implemented in 2002 as the first internet-based technology to provide an effective and convenient means of communication between home and the school. Parents and guardians could access, via a password-protected log-in system, their childrens’ grades, attendance, class schedules and homework assignments.

 



08/08/2012

Students Return to Classes on First Day of New School Year


Students returned to classes today as the 2012-2013 School Year got underway. Teachers returned Monday, August 6, to take part in professional development and to continue preparing their classrooms for the first day of classes.

Opening day activities went smoothly as students across St. Tammany Parish came back to campuses, meeting their new teachers and in some cases, new principals. “We always look forward to the first day of school,” said Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III. “Administrators, faculty and staff at all of our schools have been hard at work getting ready for a successful first day.”

He and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Arabie visited Chahta-Ima Elementary in Lacombe and Bayou Woods Elementary and Carolyn Park Middle School in Slidell, meeting the teachers and students as they familiarized themselves with the new School Year.

Last year’s enrollment figures reached 37, 508 students, the highest count since Hurricane Katrina. An official count for this year’s session will be taken in early October.

Maintenance crews worked all through the summer to ready for today’s opening, cleaning floors, painting, and doing landscaping work as needed. Food service staffs returned to the cafeterias with new school lunch menus, and teachers were prepared for several new technologies being introduced after attending professional development seminars during the summer.

Seventy five new teachers took part in a new teacher induction program a few weeks ago to help orient them to the policies and procedures of their new School System.

Two weeks ago principals and assistant principals attended the annual administrators conference to prepare for new instructional initiatives and evaluation techniques.

During the summer, several schools received updated roofing and gutter work, as is usually the case during the three months vacation time when students are not on campus.




08/06/2012

Covington’s Coach Salter Inducted Into Hall of Fame


Former Covington High School Football Coach Jack Salter was inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night during the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s annual Awards Banquet at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

The honor acknowledged his 33 year career record of 259 wins, 110 losses, and 8 ties, winning 70 percent of games played. He led the Lions to four state championship games, winning the top state honor in 1976.

The 81-year-old Salter said he was extremely happy about the hall of fame ceremony, and he was looking forward to seeing many of his friends and family members attending the banquet. Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III was one of those on hand to congratulate him.

“Seeing Coach Salter being inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame was truly an honor for our School System,” said Superintendent Folse. “His tireless work and dedication spanning three decades for the athletic programs of St. Tammany Parish Public Schools are legendary, and he has always given much of the credit to his assistants and the kids he coached. Coach Salter and his assistant coaches have made an immeasurable contribution to our School System, as do all our outstanding coaches and athletic directors.”

A native of Covington, Salter was first an assistant football coach at St. Paul’s School before becoming CHS Coach Hubie Gallagher’s assistant in 1962. A year later, Coach Gallagher retired, and Coach Salter became head football coach for the Lions.

The stadium at Covington High was named after him in 2001. Since at that time, public buildings couldn’t be named in honor of individuals until after their death, special state legislation was passed to allow changing the stadium’s name to honor Salter.

 




08/03/2012

Bus Transportation Hot Line Available Through Tuesday


To help parents get information about school bus routes for the 2012-2013 school year, a “Transportation Hot Line” was again offered by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System before the start of school.

The Hot Line opened Wednesday, August 1, and will continue through Tuesday, August 7, until 7:00 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 Superintendent W.L. “Trey” Folse, III.

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, “We implemented the Hot Line and web link several years ago and both have proved to be very helpful. We believe by providing this information, it will make the start of school as smooth as possible for our students who use bus transportation.”





08/03/2012

Students Return To Schools On Wednesday, August 8


The St. Tammany Parish Public School System welcomed students back to schools across the parish on Wednesday, August 8.

Teachers returned Monday, August 6, to take part in professional development and to continue preparing their classrooms for opening day.

Parents wishing to check on opening times, dismissal times, and supply lists for particular schools can click here to visit school Web sites for the information.

 



08/01/2012

Registration For New Students Scheduled July 31 - August 3


Registration for all students entering the St. Tammany Parish public schools for the first time during the 2012-2013 session was held between July 31 through August 3. Registration took place on specific dates listed for each school.

For more information about the documents required for registration, click here.




08/01/2012

Report Presented on 2012 Administrators Conference


Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Arabie presented a report to the August 2 School Board meeting about the 2012 Administrators Conference which was held the week before.

More than 100 principals, assistant principals, and central office staff attended the three-day Administrators’ Conference at the David C. Treen Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville to receive updates on a variety of curriculum, procedural, and technology topics. The annual event helps administrators prepare for the beginning of school, this year on Wednesday, August 8.

“Our theme this year was Community Connections,” Mrs. Arabie told the Board, “This particular conference contained a lot of important information about all the new state mandated initiatives that we are preparing for. The charge for us is to make it all work and help our administrators roll out the new changes to their teachers.”

Presentations were given on new Common Core Standards Curriculum requirements, community involvement, cultural competence, and a new educator evaluation models called “Compass.”

At the conference, Director of Information Technology Louis Boullion announced the installation of a new online student information system, and Assistant Superintendent Pete Jabbia told about the latest human resources regulations.

Special guest speakers included Colette Pichon Battle and Dr. Frances E. Davis, both of whom spoke on awareness of the cultural differences making up student populations.

Several School Board members took part in one of the conference’s first day events, including School Board President Stephen “Jack” Loup, Robin Mullet, Elizabeth Heintz, Roanne Tipton, Ron Bettencourtt, and Charles Harrell.


 

07/31/2012

Bus Transportation Hot Line To Begin August 1


To help parents get information about school bus routes for the 2012-2013 school year, a “Transportation Hot Line” will again be offered by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System before the start of school.

The Hot Line will be open Wednesday, August 1, through Friday, August 3, and next week Monday, August 6, and Tuesday, August 7. The hours will be from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 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 Superintendent W.L. “Trey” Folse, III.

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, “We implemented the Hot Line and web link several years ago and both have proved to be very helpful. We believe by providing this information, it will make the start of school as smooth as possible for our students who use bus transportation.”

 




07/23/2012

School System Wins Top Press Club Media Awards


The New Orleans Press Club awarded eight of its annual media awards to the St. Tammany Parish Public School System Saturday night for outstanding media projects over the past year. Both Channel 13, the School’s System educational television channel, and the Department of Communications won top honors at the 54th annual Press Club Awards Banquet on July 21 in downtown New Orleans.

The School System’s Department of Communications took home two awards when Communications Specialist Angela Daviston won first place in Public Relations Photography for her “School System Showcase” series of pictures, and she won another first place in Public Relations Infographics for her Powerpoint presentation on Proposition 1, 2, and 3 Millage Renewal.

Kevin Mumphrey of Channel 13 won first place in Sports Action Videography for his work on the Elementary Fitness Meet video.

In the category of Feature - TV, Channel 13’s John Harrison won first place for his video program entitled “Ashley Stokes: The Walk.” He also won third place in the General News Videography category for this program on “21st Century Summer Camp.”

In the category of Infographics – TV, Rhett Sharpe of Channel 13 won first place for his work on a video project called “Did You Know?” In the same category, he also won third place for his video on “Energy Management.”

David Williams of Channel 13 won third place in Documentary Photography for his program “Following in the Footsteps of These Girls.” Earlier this year, he won a Telly Award for the same documentary.

In response to the awards, Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse III said, “We appreciate being recognized for our School System media efforts, both for print and television productions. All year the New Orleans Press Club helps us get the word out about our excellent people and programs, but to have the Press Club showcase our media productions in this way is proof that we are communicating our mission in the most effective and professional manner.”


 


07/21/2012

Amanda Warren Named Middle School Teacher of the Year In Louisiana


The 2013 Middle School Teacher of the Year named Friday night by the Louisiana Department of Education is Ms. Amanda Warren, a fourth grade teacher at Lake Harbor Middle School in Mandeville. She was one of eight regional finalists picked earlier this year for the recognition .

Nearly 300 educators were honored during the sixth annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration in Baton Rouge.

"Great teachers and great leaders are the heart and soul of great schools. These distinguished educators and administrators are a fine representation of the high-caliber professionals we are fortunate to have in Louisiana public schools," State Superintendent John White said. "Each of the educators we honored during the celebration of education represent the backbone of our educational system. They are shaping the lives of our children, and we all enjoy thanking them in this very special way."

Superintendent W. L. "Trey" Folse, III, said, "We are extremely proud of Ms. Warren’s selection as one of Louisiana’s most outstanding teachers. We know that her students and parents also congratulate her and appreciate her dedication and classroom expertise. St. Tammany teachers winning regional and state honors such as these help ensure that we are providing the best leadership and educational opportunities for the children of St. Tammany Parish.”

Ms. Warren was born and raised in the Mandeville area. She graduated from Mandeville High School in 1999 and earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from LSU in May 2003. She earned her Master's Degree in Educational Technology Leadership in 2009 from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. A resident of Madisonville, she has been teaching nine years.

"I absolutely love teaching, and I cannot imagine doing anything else!" she said. "I love to be involved at school, and I love to stay busy." Ms. Warren is a member of LHMS's Positive Behavior Support Committee and Technology Committee, co-sponsor of 4th grade student council, co-sponsor of the yearbook, and serves as the grade level chair for the fourth grade.

Earlier this year Mary Jane Smith, Principal of Honey Island Elementary in Slidell, was named one of five regional finalists for the Elementary Principal of the Year honor.

Principals and teachers are selected based on their leadership and teaching skills, respectively, as well as their dedication and respect of students, parents and colleagues; demonstrated school and community leadership; affiliations with educational organizations; ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities; and their commitment to their profession.

Click here to view a photograph of Ms. Warren and Superintendent W. L. "Trey" Folse, III, at the event.




07/19/2012

New Teacher Induction Trains Newly-Hired Teachers


The annual program to familiarize newly-hired teachers with the St. Tammany Parish Public School System was held July 17 through July 19, with a special session planned for July 30 for special education teachers.

Seventy five persons new to the School System met with a variety of School System speakers at the David C. Treen Instructional Technology Center to hear specifics about classroom programs, policies and procedures. Professional Development Coordinator Holly Broom put the event together, calling upon key personnel to deliver presentations on everything from digital classroom advancements to student engagement practices.

A District showcase gave an overall view of the opportunities and operations of the School System, and on Thursday, participants dispersed to individual schools for on-site instruction. Schools involved included Marigny Elementary, Fontainebleau High, Mayfield Elementary, Lee Road Junior High, and Lakeshore High School. Presentations at the schools focused on the grade level needs of each newly-hired educator.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, spoke to the group on Tuesday and Thursday, introducing Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Arabie to the new teachers.

School Board members Charles Harrell, Robin Mullett, Peggy Seeley, and Ray Alfred joined the group for lunch, meeting with the new teachers, and Ms. Elsie Burkhalter, president of the St. Tammany Federation of Teachers and School Employees, also welcomed them to the District.

The July 30 meeting for special education teachers, held the week before the opening of schools, will address topics such as compliance issues, IEP Forms and Procedures, confidentiality, evaluation, benchmarks and objectives.



07/17/2012

Summer Video Institute Trains Broadcasting Students


Five student produced videos premiered Friday during the final program held by Channel 13’s annual Summer Video Institute. Now in its ninth year, the Institute has attracted a number of high school broadcasting students who want to sharpen their skills during the summer by working with the professionals on the School System’s Channel 13 educational television staff at the David C. Treen Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville.

Approximately 25 students from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System worked last week to fine-tune their video production skills from shooting raw footage and standup storytelling in the field to final editing procedures in the studio. The institute includes instruction on how to best employ camera work, lighting, writing, and music and photo overlays.

This year, the six topics include local custom guitars makers, The Mandeville Trailhead, The World War II Museum in New Orleans, the Soul Chamber Audio Studio, and What To Do at the Library.

Links to view the videos are Music from the Soul , National War World II Museum , Manuel & Patterson Guitar Makers , St. Tammany Parish Public Libraries and Mandeville Trailhead .

A sixth video featured highlights of the past week’s activities by all five groups. It was produced by former intern and SVI alumni Kaitlyn Morales.




07/13/2012

Chris Duhon Foundation Awards Scholarships


Five St. Tammany Parish public high school students are the 2012 recipients of scholarships from the Stand Tall Foundation established by Salmen High School graduate and pro basketball star Chris Duhon. Each student will receive a $5,000 scholarship to the four-year college of their choice.

They were introduced to the School Board at its Thursday night meeting by Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, who congratulated them and their parents for winning the scholarships.

Recipients of the scholarships for 2012 are Nicole Finger and Collin Jackson, both from Pearl River High School, Caroline Maxwell of Fontainebleau High School, Jonathan Richardson of Northshore High School, and Abrielle Givens of Salmen High School.

This is the third year the scholarships have been awarded. The students are chosen for their outstanding commitment to community service and for having maintained a 3.0 or higher grade point average.

Superintendent Folse thanked Duhon for his dedication to education, commending him for his skills as a professional basketball player as well as his many community activities.

Collin Jackson plans to major in Biology at Vanderbilt University, Nicole Finger plans to attend U.L.L. majoring in Chemical Engineering, and Caroline Maxwell will attend LSU to major in Kinesiology. Jonathan Richardson will attend LSU-Shreveport to major in Chemistry and minor in Sports Medicine, and Abrielle Givens will be attending McNeese University to major in nursing.

Also on July 12, in a resolution passed by the School Board honoring Duhon, the Board stated that the Chris Duhon Stand Tall Foundation believes that every day is an opportunity to contribute to the quality of a child’s life through recreation, education, and welfare. “It is committed to build up children who are the foundation of our communities. The Foundation believes that an educated child has unlimited possibilities,” the Board resolution stated.

The purpose of the Chris Duhon Stand Tall Foundation Scholarship Award is to supplement the costs associated with full-time enrollment at any four-year college or university for graduating high school seniors in the St. Tammany Parish Public Schools.

“The generosity of Mr. Duhon and the Stand Tall Foundation serves as an inspiration to our community as a whole that the importance of education and hard work can lead to a successful and rewarding future,” the School Board resolution went on to say.

After graduating from Salmen High, Duhon attended Duke University where he earned top baskeball honors, played for the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks, and presently plays for the Orlando Magic.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated Slidell and his alma mater Salmen High in 2005, he brought in large amounts of relief supplies and began working to rebuild the community. The scholarship program joins several other projects Duhon has initiated over the past six years, including a basketball camp, a Feed the Children program, and a fund-raiser golf tournament.

The Stand Tall Foundation was formed in 1998, and Duhon’s Hurricane Relief Fund became a chapter of the foundation to support his efforts in providing aid to Slidell. He then formed the Chris Duhon Stand Tall Foundation in 2007. Among other things, the organization has worked towards refurbishing the public basketball courts and playgrounds in Slidell and New Orleans East.

More information about the foundation is available at www.chrisduhonstandtall.org.



07/13/2012

Channel 13 Wins Another Telly Award


The St. Tammany Parish Public School System’s educational television channel has won another Telly Award, this one for the work of Charles “Tiger” Edwards and David Williams in a video that tells the story of the Girls Soccer Team from Northshore High which won five state championships in a row from 1986 to 1990.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, presented Edwards and Williams with their prestigious awards at the July 12 School Board meeting, saying that the Channel 13 video was one of 11,000 entries from all 50 states and several other countries.

“They competed against the most respected production companies, television stations, and corporate video departments in the world. It is a huge honor for Channel 13 as well as our School System to receive this outstanding recognition,” Superintendent Folse stated.

He congratulated Edwards and Williams and handed them the Telly Awards while the audience applauded. The Telly Awards recognize outstanding local, regional and cable television commercials and programs, acknowledged to be the finest in videos and films.

The winning video was shown at a reception held prior to the Board meeting. Entitled “Following in the Footsteps of These Girls,” the production told the story of the girls soccer team’s continuous victories from the first year girls soccer was sanctioned to hold a state championship. Overall, they achieved a 75 game winning streak through 1990. “They were the first high school girls soccer team in the nation to win five state championships in a row, establishing them as not only the best team in the nation, but also Northshore High as having one of the premiere soccer programs in the nation,” said Parish Athletic Director Larry Favre.

The Telly Award is just one of the many honors and awards Channel 13 has garnered throughout its history.

“Channel 13 does wonderful things for our School System,” Superintendent Folse stated. “I constantly run into people from across the parish who tell me they watch a variety of programs on Channel 13.” The media outlet is an effective and popular outreach of the schools to the community and helps spread the good news of our public school system, Folse stated.

Edwards thanked the Board for the opportunity to produce the award-winning video. “We are honored to tell the story of the hard work and persistence of these coaches and student athletes which had previously gone unnoticed. Their story is a story that has a much more far-reaching effect than they realized at the time,” he said. The recognition being given the team 25 years after their accomplishments made the award-winning video an emotional and personally rewarding project for Edwards.

“Without the platform that is Channel 13, none of us could tell the story of the students, the teachers, the administrators and alumni that make up this school district,” he concluded.

In 2010 Channel 13 won a Telly Award for a video telling the story of Ashlee Stokes, a Northshore High School student critically injured two and a half years ago in a tragic accident in which her car was hit head on by a drunk driver. The video was shown at the 2009 Teen Focus on Safe Driving with considerable emotional impact.

At the October, 2010, Board meeting Director of Broadcasting Dr. Melody Swang and Channel 13 Producer John Harrison were honored by Superintendent Folse for creating the award-winning video “Becoming Ashlee Again,” which has become a tool nationwide for illustrating the consequences of driving and drinking. The video continues to impact students across the country as it raises public awareness of the dangers of driving and drinking. It is being used by many organizations, police agencies, and high schools in their driving safety initiatives.

Dr. Swang thanked the Board for its support of Channel 13 and its continuing effort to capture the historic moments and tell the story of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

Judges for the Telly Award competition come from all over the United States, representing large advertising agencies, television stations, production houses, and large corporate video departments.


 


07/10/2012

School Board Announces 2012-2013 Policy For Free and Reduced Price Meals


The St. Tammany Parish School Board has announced its 2012-2013 policy for free and reduced price meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. All schools and the Central Office have a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

An informational table detailing various family size and annual income criteria will be used for determining eligibility. The table is available for viewing by clicking here.

Application forms will be sent to all homes, along with a letter. Additional copies will be available in the principal’s office at each school. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. The information provided by the household is confidential; it will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility. Information may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials.

All children in households with any household member receiving benefits under Assistance Programs (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)) are eligible for free meals.

For school officials to determine eligibility, each household that is now receiving benefits from Assistance Programs must provide the case number of a household member as well as the signature of an adult household member.
All other households must provide the following information on the application: names of all household members; the amount of income (before deductions for taxes, Social Security, etc.) each household member receives; how often the person receives the income; where it is from, such as wages, retirement, or welfare; the signature of an adult household member certifying that the information provided is correct; and the last four digits of the social security number of the adult household member who signed the application, or a statement that the household member does not possess one.

Children categorized as foster, homeless, runaway, migrant, or enrolled in state-funded Head Start or Even Start programs, if known, are automatically eligible for free meals. School officials will determine eligibility for free meals based on documentation obtained directly from the program office and notify the household of their eligibility for benefits. The household must notify the school if it chooses to decline benefits. The household should complete an application if they are not notified of free meal eligibility by August 20, 2012
If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for meal benefits.


 

07/06/2012

Proposals Submitted for School Board Member District Maps


Three preliminary maps were presented to the School Board Thursday night, each with a different proposal to re-draw Board Member districts in an effort to equalize population counts in each of the 15 districts.

The public is invited to view the proposed School Board member district maps by clicking on this link and give their input either by attending the Board meeting on September 6, or by emailing comments by clicking here.

Every ten years the School Board goes through the re-districting process to accommodate population growth and shifts in population concentration to create districts that meet the “one man, one vote” requirements of state and federal law.

Maps are offered that meet the various requirements, and the Board chooses which one is submitted to federal authorities for approval.

The proposed re-districting maps for Board Members are on display at the Central Office and the Brooks Educational Complex.

The effort does not involve School Attendance Boundaries.

 



07/05/2012

Registration For New Students Scheduled July 31 - August 3


Registration for all students entering the St. Tammany Parish public schools for the first time during the 2012-2013 session will be held between July 31 through August 3. Registration will take place on specific dates listed for each school.

For more information about the times of registration at various schools and the documents required, click here.

07/02/2012 School Board Offices Closed For July 4th no file Edit | Delete
The St. Tammany Public School System Central Office and support facilities will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, 2012, in observance of Independence Day.

School System offices will re-open on Thursday, July 5.



06/27/2012

Summer Video Institute To Train Broadcasting Students


Twenty seven high school students from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System will give up a week of summer to fine-tune their video production skills during the intensive Summer Video Institute (SVI) held by the School System’s Channel 13 educational television staff.

The event takes place at the David C. Treen Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville where Channel 13 is housed, as well as during several field trips across the parish for on-location shooting.

In the largest SVI group to date, participants will learn enhanced video techniques from shooting raw footage and standup commentary in the field to final editing procedures in the studio.

The event is scheduled for the week of July 9 through July 13. The annual summer video program brings together outstanding broadcast journalism students from throughout St. Tammany to work hand-in-hand with the experienced staff members of Channel 13. They are divided into groups of three to four students and create a video documentary from beginning to end.

The institute includes instruction on how to best tell a story employing camera work, lighting, writing, and music and photo overlays.

In years past, the summer video institute has produced mini-documentaries on a number of St. Tammany Parish museums, nature and wildlife centers, and individuals with interesting hobbies.

On the final day of the institute, a video festival showcasing the finished documentaries is held to premiere the student-produced films to family, friends, and Central Office administrators.

Dr. Melody Swang, Director of Broadcasting for the School System, said, “While the students come to us with some valuable experience from their own school broadcasting programs, we offer a week working alongside seasoned professionals in every aspect of the video production process.



06/25/2012

Food Service Programs Win Awards For Lunch Week Activities


Several St. Tammany Parish Public School Food Service cafeteria staffs were recently awarded top recognition in two school lunch week participation programs held during the School Year.

The plaques were presented at the School Nutrition Association of Louisiana (SNAL) Conference in Monroe June 13.

Abita Elementary won first 1st place for its activities during National School Lunch week; Lakeshore High School won first 1st place for its National School Lunch Week program; Magnolia Trace Elementary won first place for its La. School Breakfast Week program; and Folsom Jr. High took first place for its programs observing La. School Lunch Week .

Pearl River High won second place in National School Lunch Week program competition; Little Pearl Elementary won second place in La. School Lunch Week; and St. Tammany Jr. High won second place for its program during National School Breakfast Week and also received second place honors for its La. School Breakfast Week celebration.



06/22/2012

Chamber Expo Draws Large Crowd To Lakeshore High


Hundreds of area residents and business people visited Lakeshore High School Thursday afternoon to attend the annual West St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Expo.

Ninety exhibitors lined the hallways of Lakeshore High for the first ever showcase of St. Tammany Parish businesses held in a public school. Lakeshore High School was itself showcased as many people visited the facility for the first time. The arrangement was a new partnership between the Chamber of Commerce and the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, welcomed the public and exhibitors to the event on behalf of the School System, saying, “We are certainly excited to have you here and be a part of the chamber for this exciting event. We value the chamber as one of our community partners and thank you for giving us the opportunity to host Expo 2012.”

He gave a brief overview of Lakeshore High School and thanked Principal Brennan McCurley for working with the chamber to make the event a success. “We look forward to a continuing partnership with the Chamber for many years to come,” he said.

Chamber President and CEO Lacey Toledano also greeted the visitors to the annual exposition where business people took the opportunity to network, explain their goods and services, and meet the public face to face. “We are thrilled with the way the mall looks with all our exhibitors, and we appreciate the School System opening its doors to help us showcase all these products and services from throughout the community,” she said.

The exhibits ran from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with students from the Talented Music Program providing entertainment. Talented music students taking part included Andrew Bays, Scott Brady, Kelsey Bordelon, Brandi Callais, Claire and Paige Putnam.

The chamber has been hosting annual marketplace shows for area businesses for more than 17 years.

 



06/21/2012

Hundreds Attend Annual Technology Conference

The eighth annual NETT Conference was held at the David C. Treen Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville Wednesday, June 20, with a number of speakers on hand to present overviews of the most popular classroom tools in current educational technology, as well as several vendors exhibiting their latest hardware and software.

The conference is specifically designed for educators of all levels and disciplines to learn new and enhance existing technology skills for their classrooms. It is sponsored by LaCUE (Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators) Region 2 and NETT ( Northshore Excellence in Teaching with Technology).

Approximately 235 people attended the event, with Kindergarten through high school educators coming from across southeast Louisiana, including Lafayette, for the all-day conference. The keynote address was given by Leslie Fisher of Fisher Technologies, who spoke on technological change, what impacts such technology has had on teachers over the past few decades, and glimpses of what new gadgets are gathering the greatest interest for the coming school year.

Other speakers included Kathy Pine and Dina Spears on “Web 2.0 Classroom Tools,” Sandy Swartz on “Going Google,” Wayne Hebert on HMH Skills and Carolyn Swift on whiteboard technology and personalized literacy environments.

Dr. John Fulwiler, Director of the Technology Leadership Program at Southeastern Louisiana University gave the welcoming address, along with Dean Sharon Hornsby of Northshore Community Technical College.

Thirteen vendors took advantage of the gathering of educators by showcasing their hardware and software offerings, everything from Promethean boards and digital learning packages to online library resources and educational consulting services.

Participants attended four separate hands-on breakout sessions in the various computer labs at the Technology Center.

Jenny Bauer with the Livingston Parish Public School System, a member of the NETT committee, said the event was fortunate to have Leslie Fisher, a nationally-known technology guru as guest speaker. “She is very entertaining and very much aware what is going on in educational technology right now,” she said.

Attendees receive CLU hours of continuing education credits at the event, getting a certificate at the end, as well as the opportunity to “network” with their fellow educators from other parishes. “It’s a lot of fun, too, because they get to learn and do together, and keep in touch during the summer,” Ms. Bauer noted.
Inkie Landry with the St. Tammany Parish Public School System said the conference was always well-received by educators wishing to keep up with the latest in technology, and the Treen Instructional Technology Center has been a regional resource for those events for years. Topics over the years have ranged from the impact of Social Media in the schools to cyber safety and cyber bullying.


06/15/2012

Assistant Principals Appointed at Five Schools

The St. Tammany Parish School Board filled assistant principal positions at five different schools with appointments made at its June 14 meeting.

Tarsha Carroll was appointed Assistant Principal at Slidell Junior High School. Currently serving as a fifth grade teacher at Bonne Ecole Elementary, she began her career at Kinser Elementary in Okinawa, Japan. Her assignments have included teacher middle grades math in Georgia and South Carolina schools.

Melissa Eason was named Assistant Principal at Covington Elementary School. She is currently serving as a parishwide assistant principal at Folsom Elementary School. She worked for six years for the Youth Service Bureau as a truancy officer and has taught first and second grades at Bayou Woods Elementary and Abney Elementary School, where she founded the Spartan Stompers boys dance team.

Gina Oatsvall was appointed by the Board as Assistant Principal at Pontchartrain Elementary School. Her first teaching position was in 1995 in Mobile, AL, and she has since taught third and fourth grades at Tchefuncte Middle and Pontchartrain Elementary, where she is currently the school’s Technology Resource Teacher.

Amy Haley was appointed Assistant Principal at Marigny Elementary School. This past year, she served as a parishwide assistant principal at Woodlake, Madisonville, and Bonne Ecole Elementary Schools, after teaching first grade and pre-school at Woodlake Elementary for six years.

Sheri Jones was appointed Assistant Principal at Monteleone Junior High, where she has been serving as a parishwide assistant principal. She was also assigned to Slidell Junior High this past school year. She began teaching science in 1989, and also taught at Pearl River High School from 2009 to 2011. She has also worked as a Director of Administration for Six Flags America and Director of Operations for Six Flags New Orleans.



06/13/2012

East St. Tammany Chamber Recognizes Outstanding Educator, Awards Three Student Scholarships

Theresa Ellen Braud, a chemistry teacher at Slidell High School, was awarded the 2012 “Educator of Distinction” Award by the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, June 13. The annual award honors teachers who have made outstanding contributions in the lives and education of youth as well as to the community.

Ms. Braud was commended for being a caring, dedicated teacher and parent as well as active in her professional associations and community involvements. “She truly believes that all of her students can and will reach their highest potential,” said Steve Kernahan, chairman of the Chamber’s education committee. “She instills in them hope to believe that through education they will be able to succeed.”

She has also taught virtual high school courses and will also be an adjunct teacher at Nunez Community College in Health Science, he said. She was presented with a certificate and will be receiving a variety of gifts from Slidell area businesses. Her principal William Percy was on hand to congratulate her.

In addition to the Educator of Distinction award, chamber officials also presented three outstanding high school students with $1000 scholarships. They went to Amber Fern Soileau of Pearl River High School, Nicole Irene Kernahan of Northshore High School, and Laura Elizabeth Garcia of Salmen High School.

Amber plans to major in Kinesiology at LSU to become a Physical Therapist, Nicole is planning to attend the University of Alabama to study Marine Biology, and Laura plans to attend LSU to major in Biology/Pre-Med for her goal of becoming a neurologist.

The featured speaker for the luncheon event at Young’s Restaurant in Slidell was Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III. He presented an overview of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System, its local, regional, and statewide accomplishments, ongoing educational opportunities, and partnerships with the St. Tammany business community.

He also updated the chamber on the growing student enrollment, recent academic achievements, and wide variety of community involvements. A native of Slidell, Folse told the audience how important it was to share the news about St. Tammany’s award-winning public school system, from its high ACT averages and energy management success to the parish winning two of the three Louisiana State Principal of the Year honors.

Board President Stephen "Jack" Loup III and several other School Board members also attended the event.





06/08/2012

Lakeshore Staff Uses AED To Save Student’s Life

Several Lakeshore High School personnel were commended at the June 7 School Board committee meeting for their heroic actions May 14 in saving the life of a high school junior by using an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).

Student Ryan Coco suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while in third period math class, and through the “quick and decisive” actions of Principal Brennan McCurley, his assistant principal, three teachers, the School’s Athletic Director, and School Resource Officer, his sudden cardiac arrest was successfully dealt with.

The student’s father, Ernie Coco, thanked the group for their expert response to the emergency and told the School Board “based on the medical evidence we have there is no doubt that the AED did save my son’s life. Through their quick actions, he will be able to live a normal life.”

An AED is a medical device that helps restore a normal heartbeat when someone is experiencing “sudden cardiac arrest.” It provides audio instructions to guide the user through the several steps in operating the device to save the person’s life.

Larry Favre, Parish Athletic Director, told the Board that the group followed a “textbook response” to the situation. Members of the group present at the Board meeting were Principal McCurley, Assistant Principal Steve Soileau, Athletic Director Steve Alfonso, Teachers Andrew Knock, Michelle Mecom and Meredith Alvarez, and School Resource Officer Jose Hernandez with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“Through their efforts, this potentially dire circumstance was transformed into a life-saving event,” Favre said. “It was step by step how we want our personnel to respond in these types of emergency situations. The communication among themselves, the family, and the area first responders was flawless.”

They assessed the situation, secured the scene, started CPR and activated the AED, just as they were trained to do, Favre recounted. The incident was handled so well, he said, that most the school was unaware of that the emergency had taken place. “Without the availability of an AED on campus, all of their efforts might have been in vain,” Favre stated. “Their efforts could serve as a training video.”

Nancy Barcia of the Chad Barcia Athlete Awareness Foundation gave each person a certificate recognizing their efforts, and Ann Hebert with the Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund thanked the Board for installing AED’s in all schools over the past three years. Those two groups have donated more than a dozen of the AED units over the past year to help the school board reach its goal to place at least one AED in each school.

The School Board started a campaign in February of 2009 to provide AED units to all schools. They were first placed in high school athletic departments, and as the need became known, several community service groups donated funds to buy AED’s for the junior high, middle school, and elementary schools.

The AED units have been credited with saving two lives on St. Tammany public school campuses in the past three years.

Ms. Barcia said her organization’s goal is to get AED’s in every Louisiana school. She thanked each person involved for their part in saving a heart and a life and distributed certificates of appreciation to the members of the group.

Ms. Hebert noted that the presentation was being made during National CPR and AED Awareness Week, an event that Congress enacted in 2007 at the urging of the American Heart Association. “St. Tammany Parish Public Schools recognized their importance three years ago and met the need by partnering with groups throughout the community,” she said. She congratulated the Lakeshore staff for their courage and skill in handling the event, and she presented them with a plaque to hang at the school.

Committee Chairman Ray Alfred recognized the outstanding job performed by the Lakeshore High group and said the Board was glad to have reached the goal of having AED’s on all school campuses in the parish.

Helping to train School System employees in the proper use of the life-saving units, officials with Fire Protection District No. 4 gave more than 280 School System employees instructions on how to use the automated external defibrillators.

In April of 2009, the Kiwanis Club donated an AED to Covington High School, and in October of last year, the Kiwanis donated an additional three automated external defibrillators for Covington Elementary, Lyon Elementary, and Pitcher Junior High. Earlier this year, at Cypress Cove Elementary in Slidell, the Slidell Evening Lions Club presented a $1500 check to Ms. Hebert for purchasing additional AED’s.

Superintendent of Schools W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, said, “The response to the effort has been excellent, and in just three years, we have reached our goal of placing an Automated External Defibrillator in every school in the parish. Our employees are trained and have already used the AED units twice to save lives on campuses.”

“When we launched this effort in 2009, we knew our parents would turn out in support, as well as our community partners, the businesses and community service groups who have become a major source of donations to this project,” he went on to say. “We thank the Chad Barcia Athlete Awareness Foundation and the Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund for their outstanding contributions, as well as the PTA groups, Lions and Kiwanis clubs, and all our students, staff, and faculty who took part in the Jerseys for Jeremy project.”

“Once again St. Tammany Parish Public Schools are leading the way in the best interests of our children, and the School Board’s adoption of the AED policy and placement of AED units in all of our schools will protect future generations for years to come,” Superintendent Folse concluded.



06/06/2012

Fontainebleau High ProStart Instructor Wins National Award

Angie Drago, the ProStart instructor at Fontainebleau High School, was awarded the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education award in Chicago last month, after being selected from a group of 35 ProStart Educator Excellence Award 2012 winners from across the nation.

She was one of two ProStart educators to receive the $5000 cash prize award from the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation and Golden Corral.

The presentation was held at the ProStart Educator Excellence Awards Luncheon for ProStart educators who excel both in and out of the classroom. A Fontainebleau High ProStart instructor since 2004, Ms. Drago won the 2012 Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s (LRAEF) “ProStart Educator of the Year” Award in February.

Ted Fowler, president and CEO of Golden Corral, said, "We are proud to honor the industry’s unsung heroes like Angie – an educator who represents the front-line in preparing our students for successful careers and helping them realize their true potential."

“We are so proud of Angie’s recognition,” said LRAEF Chair John Eastman. “Her dedication to her students and her commitment to the ProStart program at Fontainebleau is exemplary.”

ProStart is a nationwide two-year high school program that offers occupational training in the restaurant industry to help develop prospective food service leaders. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart’s industry-oriented curriculum provides real-life experience opportunities and builds practical skills for the hospitality industry. Several high schools across St. Tammany Parish use the “ProStart” career/technical curriculum developed by the National Restaurant Association.

A Family and Consumer Science teacher at Fontainebleau High since 2003, Drago implemented and coordinates the school's ProStart program, manages and maintains a commercial kitchen laboratory, oversees purchasing and student catering events, and trains students for three key industry certifications: NRAEF ProStart Certificate of Achievement, NRAEF ServSafe Food Safety Manager Certification, and NRF Professional Customer Service Certification. She is chairman of the school’s Vocational Department and coordinates Career Day.

In her application for the Excellence in Education Award, she said, “The ProStart program has inspired me to develop and facilitate a variety of integrated educational experiences for my ProStart students. Two of the projects I have developed and successfully implemented include community projects and the senior management project.”

“One of our community projects, the Empty Bowls Project, provides the students with the opportunity to work collaboratively with the community to raise money through the marketing, production, and sales of food and art,” she explained. The project was inspired by a nationwide hunger-fighting initiative (emptybowls.net) and involves sales of a lunch: soup, bread, and dessert, accompanied by a clay bowl created by art students.

“Besides practicing a number of foodservice skills, the students are able to hone other essential skills sets: communication, teamwork, work ethic, professionalism, and philanthropy. Our local food pantry is grateful to receive our contribution of $1000, annually,” Ms. Drago said “Through opportunities like these, it is my goal that the students recognize the role of the foodservice industry in giving back to a community.”

She said she recognizes that ProStart teachers play a crucial role in fostering relationships between school and industry, the most effective ProStart program being one that exists both inside and outside of the classroom. “Because our ProStart students have established a presence in the community, we have been invited to participate in a variety of community events, further expanding the scope of student opportunity. For the past four years, we have been invited to represent ourselves as a restaurant at the annual Chef Soiree. Experiences such as this one continue to facilitate the development of foodservice skills and many fundamental employability skills – work ethic, team work, professionalism, and communication,” she said.

Ms. Drago is proud of the students’ response to ProStart training as well. They have told her of the many career and employment benefits the training has provided.

Last February Ms. Drago presented a detailed report on the program to the School Board. In that report, she stated, “ProStart is a comprehensive restaurant management curriculum, involving much more than one would think. Students come into ProStart classes and are sometimes surprised to see how much math is involved, but they enjoy applying their math skills in real-world applications. They see it not only on paper, but they are living it in the kitchen.”

In 2012 James Blanchard, ProStart Coordinator for the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation visited St. Tammany’s ProStart classes and explained that the program gives students the chance to meet some of the top industry professionals. “It’s a great opportunity for the students to work side by side with well-known Chefs,” he said. “The program results have been fantastic. We are getting stronger and expanding into new areas every year,” he said. “We have kids who complete the two-year program and either go on into secondary education courses or straight into the workforce.”

The NRAEF’s ProStart Educator Excellence Awards recognize exceptional ProStart educators with the help of participating state restaurant associations who nominate its Educator of the Year who has demonstrated a strong commitment to his or her students and to the ProStart program. Winning educators were flown into Chicago last month and hosted by the NRAEF to participate in a weekend of celebration, networking and learning.

Lynette McKee, executive director of the NRAEF, said,“ProStart unites the industry and the classroom to create a unique and unparalleled experience for students. The Educator Excellence Award winners embody all that make ProStart educators successful – inspiration, leadership, collaboration – and are very deserving of this honor."

ProStart courses were established by the National Restaurant Association 17 years ago, and the program has been active in Louisiana for the past 14 years.

 




06/05/2012

Fall Registration Schedule Announced

Registration for all students entering the St. Tammany Parish public schools for the first time during the 2012-2013 session will be held between July 31 through August 3. Registration will take place on the specific date listed below at the school the student will attend.

Parents or court-appointed guardians of students changing schools within St. Tammany Parish (other than students going to another school because of grade promotion) and students who are entering the School System from home schooling, as well as 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 to obtain an Assignment Letter before registering at the school the child will attend.

The Child Welfare and Attendance Offices are located in the Covington School Board Annex at 406 East Boston Street in Covington (985-898-3372) or the Slidell School Board Annex at 980 Ninth Street in Slidell (985-646-4917).

As a prerequisite to enrollment in any first grade of a public school, every child must have attended a full-day public or private kindergarten for a full academic year or have satisfactorily passed academic readiness screening administered by the School System. Students who have completed kindergarten at an accredited private school must furnish proof of attendance.

Any child born before October 1, 2006, will be eligible for first grade, and any child born before October 1, 2007, will be eligible for kindergarten.

Pre-Kindergarten Registration

Early Pre-Kindergarten registration took place in May. Families still interested in registering children for Pre-Kindergarten may attend the regular registration at the school site. For details concerning available space and specific qualification criteria, please contact Marcella McKnight at 985-898-3262 or call the Pre-Kindergarten office at 985-863-1434 or 985-863-2948.

To qualify for any regular education Pre-Kindergarten class, a child must meet the following criteria: (1) Has reached four (4) years of age (48 months) before October 1, 2012, (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 the following documents: Food Stamp Card, TANF eligibility, McKinney Vinto eligibility, most current W-2 form or two (2) 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 985-863-1434, 985-863-2948 or 985-898-3262. Families who do not meet income eligibility may be charged $500 tuition per month to attend a Pre-Kindergarten class if space is available.

Registration Dates Schedule

Schools will register students from 9:00 a.m. to noon each day (unless otherwise noted) according to the following schedule:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012: Abita Springs Elementary, Abney Early Childhood Center, Fontainebleau Junior High, Lake Harbor Middle, Lancaster Elementary, Lyon Elementary, Madisonville Junior High, Magnolia Trace Elementary, Mandeville Elementary, Mandeville High, Marigny Elementary, Mayfield Elementary, Monteleone Junior High, Pitcher Junior High, Salmen High (A-L: 1st Registration), Slidell Junior High, Riverside Elementary, and Woodlake Elementary.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: Abita Springs Middle, Alton Elementary, Bayou Woods Elementary, Boyet Junior High, Chahta-Ima Elementary, Covington Elementary, Creekside Junior High, Cypress Cove Elementary, Fifth Ward Junior High, Florida Avenue Elementary, Folsom Elementary, Lakeshore High, Lee Road Junior High, Little Oak Middle, Madisonville Elementary, Mandeville Junior High, Mandeville Middle, Northshore High (1st registration 8am-11am), Pine View Middle, Pontchartrain Elementary, Salmen High (M-Z: 2nd Registration), Slidell High, St. Tammany Junior High, Tchefuncte Middle, and Whispering Forest Elementary.

Thursday, August 2, 2012: Abney Elementary, Bayou Lacombe Middle, Carolyn Park Middle, Clearwood Junior High, Covington High, Folsom Junior High, Fontainebleau High, Honey Island Elementary, Little Pearl Elementary, Northshore High (2nd Registration 8am-11am), Pearl River High, and Sixth Ward Elementary.

Friday, August 3, 2012: Bonne Ecole Elementary and Brock Elementary.

Requirements for Registration

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

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

Social Security Card The Social Security number serves as the student’s 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 the Title 1 four-year-old program and 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, kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades.

(7) MCV4 (Meningococcal Conjugate) – Required for all students eleven (11) years old. These students must also have proof of booster doses of Tdap 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 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. All documents must be the most current and dated within 30 days. Documents that are suspect or inconclusive may be disallowed and additional documentation may be required.

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 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’s 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.

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.

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 985-898-8870 or 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.

All Public Schools in St. Tammany Parish will open on August 8, 2012.



06/04/2012

Summer Camp at Cypress Cove Spotlights Rockets, Robotics

Thirty-three youngsters from the Slidell area experienced hands-on science last week as they explored rockets and robotics at the first Cypress Cove Elementary “Curious Science Investigator (CSI) Rocket Camp.”

The school has been the site of other CSI Science Camps in past summers, but this year they added rockets and robotics. The new program ramps up the hands-on learning activities for an older group of youngsters from nine to 13 years of age. The CSI Science Camps serve a slightly younger crowd, from five to 11 years of age.

The rocket camp became a reality after a training workshop was presented by Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to educators during its “Summer of Innovation” program, a project which promotes STEM education during the summer. STEM is the abbreviation for a group of related subject areas: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A blend of summer camp fun and key STEM concepts, the new rocket camp program had the participants building and launching their own rockets, seeing first-hand demonstrations of rocket propulsion systems, and the skilled antics of the basketball-throwing robot built by the First Robotics Team 1912 from Northshore High School.

Several members of the award-winning high school robotics team were on hand to put their device through its paces and give the campers a chance to take part.

The long list of activities available during the robotics camp was put together by the high school robotics team members themselves, and they have proven invaluable in teaching the students how basic principles of math, science and engineering are applied in designing, building, and operating robots. Each year the robot builders are challenged to create a device which solves one or two specific problems. The goal this year was to scoop up basketballs and toss them 15 or 20 feet, much to the entertainment of the kids who tried to catch them.

A grant from the Stennis Space Center helped fund the activity. On the last day of the camp, students went to Stennis to visit the new Infinity Science Center, a new $30 million science and space educational center which opened April 12.

The Infinity center, just across the state line in Mississippi, is designed to challenge and educate visitors of all ages on the role of science and math in exploration across history. INFINITY also showcases Stennis Space Center’s part in the United States’ space programs, from the Saturn V rocket for the Apollo manned lunar landing program to space shuttles and beyond.

Among the camp instructors was Wendy Holladay, an electrical engineer who tests rockets for NASA at Stennis Space Center, who explained how rocket propulsion is created.

Charlene LoGiudice, the teacher who organized the science camps, said of the Northshore Robotics group, “These kids are extraordinary, and they should be recognized for their great service to the community and the younger students.”

The Northshore High group has won awards for its year-long efforts to involve the community and share the excitement of robotics and all the learning that goes into it. “A big part of their program is to reach out to the younger schools and teach them the importance of the STEM subject areas,” said Ms. Holladay. “They won the Regional Chairman’s awards three times for their volunteerism and efforts to promote interest in FIRST robotics.”

FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” and the organization promotes robotics as a team building competition program. There are a number of FIRST competitions, from regional and state level to national and international levels.

One of the 1912 robotics team members from Northshore, Rachel Holladay, was a Dean's List Award Winner at the International FIRST competition this year. “It’s the highest award given,” said Ms. Holladay. “There are only ten of the awards given out with thousands of students taking part.”

The camp included detailed explanations how the basketball robot worked, its power and computer systems, and ball handling mechanics, all presented by the high school students who had designed it and built it.

The camp participants really began soaking it up. “The parents tell me that when they come home every day, the kids can’t stop talking about it,” Ms. LoGiudice said.

Camp participants will be encouraged to join the First Lego League (FFL), a robotics program for 9 to 16 year olds which is designed to get elementary school children excited about science and technology as well as teach them employment and life skills. FLL can be used in a classroom setting but also involves teams composed of up to ten children with at least one adult coach.

“This is all an effort to get them interested in science while they are in the lower grades and help them stay interested. They don’t have to wait until high school to get involved in a robotics team,” said Ms. Holladay.

At the CSI Science Camp beginning the week of June 4, special presentations will be given by the 1912 robotics team as well as the FBI and the Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab. Ms. LoGiudice said the camps are becoming more popular each year. “We are building quite a waiting list,” she said.

 




05/31/2012

Animal Shelter Benefits From HERO Award Winner

A graduating senior at Mandeville High School, Rachel Noto has won the HERO Award for July, 2012, and was presented with a glass plaque at her school a week after she graduated. The daughter of Eileen Creel and Jay Noto, she graduated first in her class of 343 students and will be attending Louisiana State University in the fall to begin her studies in pre-Med.

The HERO Award stands for “Helping Eagerly and Reaching Out," and is a recognition program conducted by Sophisticated Woman magazine and Charter Communications. The award recognizes young leaders in St. Tammany Parish high schools for their outstanding accomplishments and community service efforts.

Attending the award presentation was Sarah Cottrell, Associate Publisher of Sophisticated Woman magazine, a publication of G&A Publishing, Inc., and Terry Master with Charter Business.

Rachel was nominated for a variety of school and community related activities, but primarily for founding the “Paws for a Cause” organization on the Mandeville High campus. In discussing the project, Rachel said she has always loved animals and knew that there were other high school students who felt the same way. While there are a number of service clubs at the school, none of them reached out to animal causes, she said.

“Paws for a Cause” provides volunteer service to the local animal shelter on weekends and also holds fund-raising events to buy supplies to assist in the work of the Humane Society. The group has about 30 members. “It’s fun to volunteer at the Humane Society, and we send groups for big projects and also just individuals to do whatever we can,” she explained.

“I think the club has become pretty popular and will continue after I leave,” she said. “A lot of people enjoy helping out at the Humane Society. We even made shirts for the club members to wear.” She said the loose-knit nature of the group also helped keep interest up. “There aren’t so many regulations like some other groups, you don’t have to put in a certain amount of hours, you just go help when you have time,” she said.

Sean Esker, the MHS Senior Guidance Counselor, nominated Rachel for the award.



05/29/2012

Dennis Cousin, former Supervisor, Now at Helm of Xavier Athletics

Dennis Cousin retired from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System eight years ago after a 36 year career of first serving as a coach at Chahta-Ima High School, a coach at Slidell High, and then Supervisor of Student Welfare for many years. While with the parish, one of his most memorable moments was when he took the Slidell High baseball team to the baseball quarter finals in 1977.

He is now the Athletic Director at Xavier University in New Orleans where his concerted effort to bring the institution’s athletic programs up to the same level of excellence as its academic reputation is being realized. In the past six years his various teams have gone to 37 conference championships and made 31 trips to the national championships.

A graduate of St. Tammany High School in Slidell (now St. Tammany Junior High), Cousin now manages several sports programs: basketball, tennis, cross country, and volleyball among them, and is overseeing the construction of a $25 million convocation center and arena at Xavier. His philosophy is that sports are a way for young people to learn how to work together as a team, and they can use these experiences to work as a team in life no matter what career path they choose.

“Life is nothing but a learning process,” he said. “And one of the best foundations we can have is learning to deal with challenges as a team, whether on a basketball court or in the classroom or in the workplace.”

“Working in the St. Tammany Parish schools afforded me the opportunity to work with a diverse population,” Cousin went on to say. “I met a lot of different people, parents, students, fellow educators; and I had a chance to learn from a lot of the top administrators.”

He particularly mentioned the mentorship of former Central Office administrator Richard Tanner. He said he learned a lot from Mr. Tanner, Supervisor Ralph Menetre, and the other top administrators. “There was always someone there to help us out, to teach us what had to be done, and give us the basic foundation for a great school system,” he said.

He feels that what he learned in St. Tammany made it possible for him to excel in his job at Xavier University, one of the area’s leading educational institutions. The university offers one of the top-rated Pharmacy Schools in the nation, and it places more minority students in medical schools than any other minority university in the country. He is also very proud of the fact that Xavier has a 95 percent graduation rate for its student athletes, an outstanding statistic.

Cousin has a Master’s Degree in Administrative Supervision from Southern University in Baton Rouge and a background that helps him deal on a daily basis with budgets, personnel, construction projects, and a variety of managerial duties.

He has enjoyed many accomplishments during his career, but he remembers being most satisfied when he saw attendance increase, and the number of dropouts decrease, while he was Supervisor of Student Welfare. That position called upon him to track down truants and find out why they weren’t in school. “It wasn’t so much motivating them to stay in school,” he said, “It was finding out why they didn’t come to school. Ninety percent of the time, there was always some specific reason."

He remembered one student who kept being absent, and Cousin found out he didn’t come to school because he didn’t have any shoes. Getting a new pair of shoes, he not only started coming to school, but he turned out to be a star basketball player on the Slidell High School team. “I just tried to find out what the problem was,” Cousin said.

He is also proud of the sports comeback by Xavier University athletic teams following Hurricane Katrina. Missing two seasons “it took us a while to get the players back on campus and the programs running up to speed, but in the past six years those 37 conference championships and 31 national championships have shown what we can do. To be able to come back after Katrina and accomplish what we have done is phenomenal,” he said.

“We are elevating the athletic program here to the same high standards as the academic program,” he stated. “The coaches we have here are in it for the long haul. They are good at what they do, and they work really hard to keep those standards high.”

Cousin and his wife, a retired speech therapist, live in Slidell. One of his sons is a pharmacist, one is an anesthesiologist working at Oschner Northshore in Slidell, and another son just graduated with a degree in biology. Two of his daughters-in-law are pharmacists also. “It makes for interesting conversation around the dinner table,” he said.

His answer to concerns with today’s youth abusing drugs is to get the parents involved. “Drugs are taking a toll on young people,” he said, “But if we can solve this problem, the key will come from participation with parents. They need to volunteer in the schools, join the PTA, and become active. Don’t just leave it to the teachers. We also need to get the kids involved in activities that will sway them away from drugs,” he said.

He feels that St. Tammany Parish schools have excelled with their high number of quality activities and good communication with the parents, as well as the emphasis on community service activities by the students. “St. Tammany Parish schools are always at the top," he said, "and they have the tools to do what it takes."

He recalled working with Superintendent Folse early in his career, nothing that “Trey Folse’s dad was a tremendous individual.”

Cousin's work at Xavier University continues to give him the opportunity to help thousands of young people each year. “Our goal here is we want all our students to be productive members of society,” Cousin said. It gives him the chance to continue his philosophy of education, expressing concern about the academic side of a student’s life as well as their athletic endeavors on the field.

“We don’t look for the athletes,” he said. “We look for the students who are good at academics, and then train them to be good at athletics.”

Now 66 years old, Cousin may retire (again) a year or so after his current building program at Xavier is finished, he said.



05/23/2012

Winner and Finalist Named for 2012 Superintendent’s Award

The Beta Club at Clearwood Junior High won The Superintendent's Award for Outstanding Character and Citizenship this year, and a Honey Island Elementary class known for its acts of kindness was named Finalist for the honor. The winners were announced at the May 17 School Board meeting in Covington.

The Superintendent's Award was created to honor people and programs for showing outstanding character and citizenship at their individual schools. \

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III commended both groups during his presentation. The Beta Club at Clearwood Jr. High had performed many good deeds and acts of kindness over the past year, he said, reading a list of community service projects in which they had participated.

Among the projects included fund-raising for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, collecting food and clothes for those less fortunate, and helping serve meals at community service agencies. Members created care packages and collected cell phones for troops stationed overseas, held a blood drive for a fellow student with cancer, and created and delivered holiday greeting cards for local nursing homes and retirement communities.

"This is just a part of the long list of great work they have done throughout the year," Superintendent Folse stated.

Several members of The Beta Club were present, along with Club Sponsors Christina Quigg and Kim Lott. The Club's motto is "Let Us Lead by Serving Others," Superintendent Folse told the audience of parents, staff, and School Board members.

A check for $1000 was awarded to the group, donated by Capital One Bank. The funds will be used for future projects by the Beta Club.

Named Finalist for this year’s Superintendent’s Award for Outstanding Character and Citizenship was a second grade class at Honey Island Elementary. When a student who had hurt her back while playing returned to Honey Island Elementary, her fellow classmates came to the rescue and helped her in a wide variety of ways during her recovery. Present to receive the award were several students representing the group, along with Principal Mary Jane Smith and Second Grade Teacher Rebecca Pittman. Hailey Dangerfield, the recipient of the acts of kindness, was also introduced to the Board.

“These students started out by helping just one person, one of their classmates, but they ended up changing the environment of their whole school,” said Superintendent Folse as he announced the selection. “They took turns carrying her books, opened doors, escorted through the hallways, even gave up their recess and P. E. time to keep her company when she wasn’t able to go outside.” As part of the school’s “Fish Philosophy,” a special bulletin board was created for Haley to post “thank you notes” to her fellow students.

Superintendent Folse said the experience taught the children the importance of caring, giving and sharing. He also asked the parents of the students being recognized to stand and be congratulated for teaching their children the character traits and citizenship skills that led to them winning the awards. “We certainly realize that these students learn their good character and citizenship skills at home from their parents and others who are role models as well as those who serve in our schools,” he stated.

The Superintendent’s Award for Outstanding Character and Citizenship was established in 2003 to give the School System an opportunity to spotlight 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. Winners are chosen based on criteria such as respect, responsibility, caring, trustworthiness, fairness, citizenship, and decision-making.



05/23/2012

School Board Offices Closed For Memorial Day May 28

St. Tammany Public School System offices will be closed on Monday, May 28, 2012, in observance of Memorial Day. Support offices will re-open on Tuesday, May 29.



05/22/2012

Books for Summer Reading Delight Bonne Ecole First Graders

One hundred and thirty First Grade students at Bonne Ecole Elementary School in Slidell cheered with delight as the first ever distribution of summer reading books took place Friday afternoon May 18. The event implemented the "12 Books" Summer Reading Program at the school, and it proved to be an immediate success with 1560 books distributed

Principal Dr. April Owens thought the event was a perfect way to end the school year. “Our first grade students are getting books to take home and read for the summer, and by doing so will help develop their reading skills and promote literacy during their vacation time,” she stated.

Each student received 12 free books. They had chosen the books for themselves back in February with the help of volunteer students from the Slidell High School Teaching Academy. The books came in this week and were handed out in a special ceremony attended by the several parent volunteers, Teaching Academy volunteers, and celebrity readers who were part of the event earlier in the year.

Dr. Owens said the progress the children make improving their reading skills will be monitored so they can keep track of the program’s success. The project will be repeated next year, for the same group of kids as they enter second grade, and also for the incoming first grade students.

The "12 Books" Reading Program was an idea brought to the school by parent Jenny Helber who had participated in the event in Florida. She helped emcee the Bonne Ecole distribtution ceremony, thanking the committee, the volunteers, the sponsors and the celebrity readers who made it all possible.

The book themselves are provided by First Book.Org, a non-profit organization out of Washington, D.C., which arranges with children’s book publishers to provide the new books at a discounted rate to the 12 Books program. Several community sponsors donated funds to purchase the books. They included Exxon, Target, the School's PTA, Textron Land and Marine Systems, Slidell Lioness Club, and the Slidell Women's Civic Club.

Kellie Ainsworth, Assistant Principal, said the program has proven itself effective in helping children maintain and even improve their reading skills over the summer.

By selecting the books themselves, the students were really motivated to read the books. During the ceremony they even took a pledge to keep on reading over the summer. “The research we did on the project said it was quite effective with emerging readers, so we decided to go with our first grade,” Ms. Ainsworth explained.

The books offer a variety of reading levels, all appropriate for first graders, and include fiction, non-fiction, and something to appeal to every student, Principal Owens noted. “We gave the list of available books to two of our first grade teachers, and they selected the best books to match our curriculum,” she said.

Ms. Helber said the 12 Books program began as a result of a study made by the University of Tennessee that showed that by pairing up children with self-selected books for summer reading, their reading scores actually improved over those three months instead of slightly declining.

Plus, there’s the anticipation factor. “The kids are really excited about the idea,” she said. “They knew that the books were coming this week, and they couldn’t wait to get them.”

“The books are specially written to help enhance the kids’ reading skills and keep them interested so they return to school in the fall even better readers,” Ms. Helber commented. Giving free books to kids also means a lot to those children who may not get many books of their own, she noted.

The Teaching Academy students from Slidell High School were also just as excited to see the books come in for the youngsters they had met with in February. “Some of the high school kids have come back for our distribution ceremony even though they graduated last week and this is their summer time,” she stated.


05/22/2012

School Board Applauds Contributions By School Nurses

The St. Tammany Parish Public School System celebrated National School Nurse Day on May 9, complete with an official resolution by the School Board supporting the annual event.

Supervisor Cathy Aime appeared before the Board at its May meeting, saying it was her 11th year supervising the School Nurse program, and she is proud of the 27 school nurses who work with the School System. Twenty of them were present for the School Board meeting.

“All of us salute you for the dedication and skills you bring to the role of School Nurse,” said Mrs. Aime.

In her comments, Mrs. Aime said that nurses share a rich legacy that is worth remembering. “In recognition of the nursing profession and the specialty of School Nursing, we should realize that school nurses juggle a wide array of medical and social issues. They don’t just give out ice, band aids, and do record-keeping. They see over 1000 students as they move from school to school, and a typical schedule includes immunizations, health screenings, hearing and vision testing, dealing with accidents, disease such as diabetes and asthma, special needs and preventing the spread of disease.”

They rise to every challenge, Mrs. Aime said, serving as a healer, comforter, mentor, trainer, role model, and educator.

“A first for us this year is an honor presented to our Team Leader for the eight special education nurses, Patricia Talmage, who was named as one of the 50 New Orleans Citybusiness Health Care Heroes for 2012,” Mrs. Aime announced. “She was honored at the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans, and she said she accepted the trophy on behalf of all the nurses in St. Tammany.” Started in 2007, Health Care Heroes honors 50 health care professionals in the New Orleans area in six categories, with honorees selected based on industry and community involvement and achievement that have set the pace for the overall community.

The School Board resolution offered by Board Member Elizabeth Heintz thanked School Nurses for their care and concern for the students of St. Tammany Parish, acknowledging their contributions to the development of students and expressing gratitude for their expertise and professionalism.



05/22/2012

Monteleone Technology Award Goes To Pearl River High Teacher


The Leonard P. Monteleone Technology Award for 2011-2012 was presented to Lee Williams of Pearl River High School by Technology Supervisor Julie Matte during the May 17 meeting of the St. Tammany Parish School Board.

The annual award is given to teachers who are taking classroom technology to new heights, Mrs. Matte explained. Ms. Williams was commended for her project “The Apprentice” in which groups of five students would form a simulated company, assuming the positions of CEO, CFO, Marketing Director, Sales Representative, and Office Manager.

They would develop products and sell them through the school’s “Spirit Shop.” Students used computer technology to create logos and letterheads, survey pie charts, a cost analysis, a balance sheet, websites, business cards and catalogs and sales records. They even made television commercials, Mrs. Matte stated. The $1000 technology award will go towards the purchase of additional video cameras and recording equipment.

The Monteleone Technology Award was established in 2002 in memory of the late Leonard P. Monteleone, superintendent of the School System between 1995 and 2003.



05/22/2012

Two Win $5000 Scholarships From Capital One Bank


Two St. Tammany Parish Public School 2012 graduates were each awarded a $5000 scholarship from Capital One Bank during the May 17 School Board Meeting in Covington.

The Capital One “Investing For Good” Scholarships went to Katherine J. Ketelsen of Covington High School and Lewis N. Jones of Salmen High School.

Miss Ketelsen graduated in the top five percent of her senior class and has been active in numerous campus programs. Setting her sights on a career in teaching, she said in her scholarship essay that teaching to her will not be “just a job.” Children are the keys to a better tomorrow, she said, “And I want to be on the front line making sure they do their best to make the best choices not only for themselves, but also everyone they interact with as they grow and blossom.”

“I want to teach them to chase their dreams, never give up, and never take the easy way out,” she said in her essay. She will major in elementary education at Louisiana State University.

Jones was commended for his participation in 19 school-based clubs as well as 35 community service agencies in the Slidell area over the course of his four years at Salmen High. He was noted for his positive outlook, giving personality, and the smile on his face at all times. Jones plans to study geophysics at the University of New Orleans.

Dave Blasini and Steve Hemperley, both with Capital One Bank, were introduced by Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III. Hemperly told the School Board that it was an honor for Capital One to take part in the scholarship awards. “There’s no better way for us to show our dedication and devotion to academic excellence St. Tammany Parish than give these scholarships to very deserving students,” he said. “Having access to higher education will help open doors for these young people so they can reach their full potential. We look forward to seeing them accomplish even greater things in the future.”

Superintendent Folse thanked Capital One for its generous support through scholarship presentations as well as other public school system awards. “Capital One continues to provide opportunities for children and youth to access and excel in education and enrichment activities which help them prepare for successful futures,” Superintendent Folse said. “Their investment helps advance teacher effectiveness, increases family engagement, and supports students’ academic and basic needs.”



05/18/2012

Class Project Works Towards Greener Community


Students in a drafting class at Fontainebleau High School recently experienced a new way of working together while designing a greener community.

In April students participated in a culminating drafting activity called the “Avalon Project,” an idea explained by Clifford Hinkle, the drafting teacher, which encouraged the students to use all of their drafting skills to solve elementary engineering problems.

“I began thinking of a long range project that would capture the imagination of my students, offer a multitude of design options, be modern and relevant, increase the student’s technical skills and teach them how to work collaboratively. The process would demand continuous improvement, and each group would develop common goals and objectives,” Hinkle stated.

The project began with the students reading a paper on renewable energy. After a series of class discussions, the students decided to focus their work on “living green.”

In an effort to identify the community’s architectural needs, the students developed a Planning and Zoning Map, basing their designs on real engineering data. Extensive research was conducted in the areas of energy use, power generation, energy conservation, existing green communities, energy companies and community development contractors.

In addition, experts from Chevron, Cleco, and LaGrange Consulting spoke with the students about “green communities” and what the contribute to saving energy.

The students demonstrated their advanced drafting skills using AutoCAD, Goggle SketchUP, SolidWorks, and Autodesk Home Styler.

At the end of the school year, the students presented their projects to a group of community leaders, explaining their ideas on how to live “greener.” They received feedback from the community leaders which enabled them to improve the project and their own personal skills.

In assessing the experience, Aaron Alford, a junior, stated, “I liked the project because it gave me a chance to dive into a field of my interest. The research part was really important because of the many details that are required to make the project work. It was a relevant and fulfilling experience. It is exciting to know that you made something real, completely understood how it worked, and you made it happen.”




05/16/2012

Changes Coming In School Cafeteria Menus


Several changes will be made to School Food Service menus next fall as a result of a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) effort to improve the nutritional quality of meals for students. The changes are designed to help combat the problem of childhood obesity by offering different menu items as well as specifying the quantity of each item offered. The changes will continue to meet the nutritional needs of school children, but also aim to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Since all school cafeterias must meet the minimum standards set by the USDA to receive federal reimbursement, the new changes will go into effect in August.

The St. Tammany Parish Public School System has won numerous national awards over the past several years for its School Food Service, and continues to offer reasonably-priced, healthy, well-balanced meals that meet one-third of a student’s dietary needs. The specific changes for 2012-2013 will include the requirement that students receive one-half cup fruit and/or vegetable on their tray to qualify as a full meal. School cafeterias will offer a greater variety as well as increase the serving sizes of fruits and vegetables.

In addition, School Food Services will be limited as to how much meat or meat alternate (cheese, beans, yogurt, etc.) and grains (breads, rice, pasta) they may offer. Previously, they had only minimums to meet, but could offer more. Next year they have to stay within a certain range.

The new regulations will require schools to offer a minimum of one-half cup dried peas or beans every week. As in the past, they will continue to offer whole grain products including rolls, pasta and brown rice.

Every school will continue to offer five menu components (meat, bread, fruit, vegetable and milk) daily. Students are allowed to select three, four or all five components, the goal being to avoid unnecessary food waste. However, every student will be required to take one-half cup fruit and/or vegetable.

“We all know that proper nutrition helps students perform their best, both physically and academically,” said Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III. A letter will be sent home to parents asking for their help in making these changes successful by encouraging their children to try new foods at home and school.

Questions or concerns about the new food service initiative may be directed to Pat Farris, Supervisor of School Food Services. She may be reached by email (pat.farris@stpsb.org) or by telephone (985-898-3376).

 


 


05/14/2012

School Session Ends May 22


The 2011-2012 School Year will end on Tuesday, May 22, with students reporting to school for only half a day in the morning.

Teachers will attend Teacher’s Day at their individual schools on May 23 and, if necessary, the Teachers Professional Make Up Day on May 24 for in-service workshops.

The 2012-2013 School Year begins on Wednesday, August 8, 2012.



05/14/2012

Two St. Tammany Students Win Awards in Statewide Environmental Art Contest


Matthew Bruno, a first grade student from Bonne Ecole Elementary School in Slidell, recently won first place in his category, Group 1 (five to seven years of age) in the visual arts division of the 2012 Environmental Awareness Art and Language Arts Contest.

His entry was chosen from more than 790 entries from across the state. The tenth annual contest was sponsored by the Alcoa Foundation, the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission, and the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries. He will be honored at a reception at the Governor's Mansion on June 20 along with Principal Dr. April Owens and TAP Art teacher Robyn Kennedy.

Third place in the five to seven year old group went to Amber Seal of Marigny Elementary in Mandeville.

The contest theme was “Louisiana Waters: Protect, Conserve, Enjoy!” The theme deals with water sustainability initiatives and educates students on how they can incorporate the protection, conservation, and enjoyment of water in their daily lives.

First place winners in each age category won $200, and third place winners will be awarded $75.

The contest sought original works of art up to 11 inches by 14 inches, and winning entries will be published in the 2013 Environmental Awareness calendar that will be distributed statewide. All winners, whether in the visual arts or English language arts divisions, will be honored at the reception to be held at the Governor’s Mansion in June.

The tenth annual Environmental Awareness Art and Language Arts Contest was conducted by The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission (LEEC) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.


 



05/10/2012

Folsom Elementary School Spotlights Summer Olympics


Hundreds of parents, volunteers and children filled the Fendlason Community Center at Magnolia Park in Folsom Thursday afternoon as Folsom Elementary School celebrated the coming of the Summer Olympics with a colorful, musical, and respectful salute to the Nations of the World.

The event began with a parade from the school to the park, with 15 or more children each representing a nation, dressed in national costume, and carrying a sign. They made their way to the community center where parents awaited with their cameras.

Cassidy Barron served as mistress of ceremonies for the impressive event, introducing each country as they paraded into the gymnasium accompanied by specially-selected music.

The nations represented were Greece, Australia, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Romania, the Russian Federation, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom. The program included a presentation of the Olympics flag, the arrival of the Olympic torch, and the lighting of the stadium Olympic torch, complete with special effects.

Torch runners, two from each grade level, were Ethan Andersen, Katie Goings, Micaiah Lee, Leah Whittington, Joshua Pitre, Abigail Truett, Jacob Graves, Felicia Baas, Brennan Ball, Deborah Divinity, Emily Stafford and Giovani Calderon-Zarate.

Special guests included several members and former members of the Armed Forces from the community: Carroll Falterman, Cyril Cleland, Peter Garrett, Marguerite Morin, and Bianca Scott.

The program was organized to help the children learn about the upcoming Summer Olympics and included special dance presentations, and salute to the flags of the United States and all nations. The whole school has been studying the Olympics, with each class concentrating on a particular country.

The program included the presentation of the flags of the Armed Forces of the United States, with the “Stars and Stripes” front and center. Dances included the Mexican Hat Dance, the Chicken Dance, and the Limbo Dance, plus country line dancing and a representation of a baseball game to celebrate America.

The Olympic Flag was brought in by Scott Roth, Brant Willie, Victoria Lowe, Donny Bush, Trinity Lodrigues, and Jacob Landry, while Avery Mendheim explained the meaning of the Five Olympic Rings and Lakira Clark told about the Olympic Motto. Eli Nettle explained the purpose of the Olympic Flame, with Cohen Early reciting the Olympic Oath. Principal Lesa Bodnar talked about the Olympic Creed, and closed the program by saying “Let the Games Begin!”

 




05/09/2012

Mayfield Elementary Celebrates Career Day Success


More than 50 business and professional people from throughout Slidell and New Orleans visited Mayfield Elementary students on May 4 to take part in "Career Day," a chance to talk about their job responsibilities and occupational opportunities with classrooms throughout the school.

This was the first Career Day held at Mayfield Elementary, and parents, faculty and staff celebrated its success. “It was a wonderful feeling to know that our faculty, parents, and community came together to make it a memorable day for our students,” said Lisa Catron, a teacher who helped organize the event.

Katie Singleton, Career Day chairman, noted that visitors spent 30 minutes in each classroom, telling of their job locations and duties, and then rotated to other classrooms.

Floyd Fogg, who played Professional Baseball for ten years, entertained the students with stories of his own career, as well as tips on how to be a better player. He showed the kids a baseball bat that he used for several years, with his name engraved on the end. It was longer and heavier than any bat they had seen before, he said.

“Kids just can’t get enough outdoor exercise these days,” Mr. Fogg commented. He encouraged them to work towards developing their athletic skills, since it could lead to a college scholarship. “It makes me feel good when one of the students calls me and tells me they got a scholarship because of some sports skills I helped them develop when they were younger,” he stated.

Among the Career Day presenters were sales representative Michael Wheeler, Landscape business owner Erik Martin, Federal On-Scene Coordinator Jason Screens (who supervised Oil Spill Clean-Ups), Executive Chef Patrick Heim, CEO of Southern Surgical Hospital Dianne Sehmi, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Dept. Deputies James Calecas Jr. and others, Fire District No. 1 Fire Dept. Officer Michael Thiel and others, and Lighting Technician for Hornet Games Mark Hebert. The martial arts demonstration by Lawrence Patrick in the auditorium was quite popular with the young students.

Also participating in Career Day were Counselor Jaran Haynes, College professor David Riep (who is an Art Historian and does African Art Research), Hurricane Hunter Jim LaChute, Realtor Kasey Fiorella, Entrepreneurship Speaker Chris Spense, Respiratory Therapist Alicia Torres, Refrigerator (HVHC) Manager Eric Groh, and Radiologic Tech (X-ray technician) Bridget Lea-Thompson.

Others taking part were Claims Director for Progressive Insurance Cherif Ndiaye, Military Navy Special Warfare speaker Angel Rodriguez, U.S. Navy Chief (Logistics) Miguel Reyes, Mathematician David Sitton, Material Handler Stephanie Bergeron (who orders parts for cars and military vehicles), and Marine Biologist for the Aquarium Of The Americas Richard Toth.

Also visiting on Career Day were United States Army Soldier Errol Williams, Owner of A-1 Window Washers Charlie Laurie, Pro Fisherman Lee Hillman, Engineer Carlos Manning, Insurance Agent Larry Hayes, Retired Swamp Tour Captain Claude Sanders, U.S. Marine Counterintelligence Specialist Robert Smith, Carpet Cleaning Business Owner Larry Roberson, Restaurant Owner Olu Ariwajoye, and Bus Driver Tonia Perrie.

The students really enjoyed hearing from Chief Meteorologist for WWL-TV Carl Arredondo, Restaurant Manager Steffan Vorenkamp, Registered Nurses Jessica Vorenkamp and Suzette Roberts, Police Officer Wade Bowser, Detective Leonard Marlborough, and 911 Dispatcher Athena Walker

 



05/04/2012

School System Hosts Reception for Volunteers


More than two hundred volunteers gathered Friday morning to attend the annual St. Tammany Parish Public School System’s Volunteer Reception, a chance for school administrators to thank the many parents and other community volunteers who help their schools in different ways throughout the year.

Supervisor Roxanne Lagarde emceed the event which took place at the David Treen Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville. Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III spoke with the group, telling them how much their service to the school community meant to teachers, principals, and other school staff. Also present were Assistant Superintendents Cheryl Arabie and William Brady, and School Board members Peggy Seeley, Charles Harrell, and John Lamarque.

Superintendent Folse said, “All of us in this School System realize how important volunteers are, especially at this time of year. Starting tomorrow at 2 p.m. we will start our graduation ceremonies, and I know we are all excited about that, especially with Lakeshore High School’s first graduation ceremony being tomorrow night.”

“Graduation Week is the best week of the year for everyone in the School System,” he told the group. “That’s the week we get to congratulate each of our graduating seniors and commend them for their accomplishment. It’s an opportunity to recognize them and encourage them to go out and represent our School System in the best way they can,” he said. “I hope you can attend one of the upcoming graduations, because it’s so impressive to see our students and what talents and abilities they have to accomplish even more in the future.”

“It’s why we do what we do,” he explained. “To give each of our young people the best chance they can have to succeed in their lives.”

He also thanked the volunteers for going out and spreading the news about the School System all year long, about the programs and the recent millage renewal election.

Ms. Lagarde said it was a wonderful turnout for the end-of-the-year event. “Our volunteer reception is a really special event,” she said, “because our volunteers are really what helps make our excellent school system what it is.”

Many school administrators, principals and assistant principals, also attended, visiting with the volunteers for their school, and enjoying refreshments provided by the School Food Service Department and served by Culinary Arts Students from Covington High School. For the entertainment program, two Talented Music students, Cameron Welsh and Annie Gambino, from Covington High sang, with Teacher Mel Rogers accompanying them on piano.



05/03/2012

High School Graduations Held


Class of 2012 seniors from public high schools all across St. Tammany Parish have graduated.

Fontainebleau High School’s graduation took place on Saturday, May 12, 2012, at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, and Pearl River High School conducted its graduation program on Friday, May 11, 2012, at the Northshore Harbor Center south of Slidell.

Salmen High School’s Graduation Ceremonies were held on Monday, May 7, 2012. Lakeshore High School conducted its graduation ceremonies on Saturday, May 5, 2012, in the Southeastern Louisiana University Arena. Northshore High School graduated its Class of 2012 also on Saturday, May 5, 2012, in the University Arena, Southeastern Louisiana University.

Mandeville High School held its graduation program on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, at Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond. Covington High School conducted its graduation program on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, in the University Arena at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. Slidell High School held its graduation ceremonies on Thursday, May 10, 2012.




05/02/2012

Ribbon Cut For Renovations To Pitcher Junior High


Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held May 2 for William Pitcher Junior High in Covington following the completion of extensive renovations at the historic site.

Principal Roslyn Hanson emceed the ceremony, welcoming the many special guests and introducing the several students who took part in the event. A presentation of the history of the campus was read by Courtni Riviere and Katie Monette, and Tyson Banks read a biography of the school’s namesake, William Pitcher, who served as Superintendent of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System for 30 years.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, Assistant Superintendents Cheryl Arabie, Pete Jabbia and William Brady were in attendance, as were School Board members Charles Harrell and Michael Dirmann. Mayor Mike Cooper and Chief of Police Richard Palmisano of Covington were also on hand.

Two paintings were unveiled for the occasion, one showing the school's exterior and the other showing one of the large oak trees in front of the facility. The artworks were done by student Michelle Green, and Talented Art Teachers Paulo Dufour, and Courtni Dominique.

Superintendent Folse said the newly-renovated school was beautiful, and it proves Pitcher Jr High is a community school that is valued by the City of Covington in many ways. He said the school and citizens are definitely “Pitcher Proud.”

Mayor Cooper said Pitcher Junior High was an important part of the Covington Community and had been for many years. “I think the school is a great first-class asset for our community,” he said. “It’s a beautiful campus and a lot of the credit goes to the School Board.”

He noted that Jefferson Avenue, where Pitcher Jr. High is located, has become the center of many of the city’s activities, now with City Hall, the School Board Central Office, the Justice Center, and the Fire Department all situated on that one thoroughfare.

Renovations included a new entrance, gymnasium updates, an elevator, new library, and extensive landscaping. Classroom wings were extensively modernized.



05/01/2012

Folsom Elementary Student Places First In Two State Fitness Events


Ivy Mendheim of Folsom Elementary won first place in two events at the April 28 Louisiana Schools Elementary Fitness Meet, the second year St. Tammany Parish has taken part in the program.

She won first place in the state for Pull Ups and first place in the state for Sit and Reach.

St. Tammany sent six students to compete in last Saturday’s state competition at the LSU Field House in Baton Rouge: Miss Mendheim, Beau Neelis of Tchefuncte Middle School, Jordan Vidato of Abney Elementary, Sierra Ballard of Lake Harbor Middle School, and Alternates Andrew Hodgeman of Pine View Middle School and Maya Leach of Folsom Elementary. Ann Brown of Folsom Elementary served as Coach for Team St. Tammany.

At the March 17 District Elementary Fitness Meet held at Lakeshore High, Folsom Elementary was the overall winning school, and Miss Mendheim won overall first place in the girls division. Beau Neelis won first place in the boys division.

The “Governor’s Games Elementary Fitness Championship” was presented by the Louisiana Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.



05/01/2012

Two Parish Educators Named Finalists In State Programs


Amanda Warren, a teacher at Lake Harbor Middle School, has been named one of eight regional finalists in the Middle School/Junior High Division for this year’s “Louisiana State Teacher of the Year Program,” and Principal Mary Jane Smith of Honey Island Elementary School in Slidell has been named one of five Elementary Division regional finalists in the state’s “Principal of the Year” recognition program.

The finalists will be honored during the Sixth Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration in July, when Louisiana's Elementary, Middle and High School Teachers and Principals of the Year are named, along with Louisiana's 2013 Teacher of the Year.

State Superintendent of Education John White said, "We want to congratulate these individuals, and we look forward to recognizing their success and celebrating the work of all our educators during the Symposium in July."

Principals and teachers are selected based on their leadership and teaching skills, respectively, as well as their dedication and respect of students, parents and colleagues; demonstrated school and community leadership; affiliations with educational organizations; ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities; and their commitment to their profession.




04/25/2012

State Superintendent Discusses Future of Education With Teachers, Administrators


Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White visited St. Tammany Parish Tuesday, April 24, to speak with area Superintendents of Schools in a morning meeting and administrators and teachers from all public schools in the parish in the afternoon.

In the afternoon session, Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System introduced the State Superintendent of Education to the more than 300 in attendance at a “town hall” meeting in Fontainebleau High School Auditorium. For more than two hours Superintendent White outlined problems in the past, the current state of affairs in Louisiana education, and challenges of the future. He cited numerous statistics about Louisiana educational issues, with many in the audience pointing out that St. Tammany Parish public education was already performing better than other areas and already taking part in several of the suggested program initiatives.

In a question and answer session following his presentation, he clarified some of his key points and answered concerns about the overall effect of recent legislative reforms on public education.

The St. Tammany visit was part of Superintendent White’s statewide outreach initiative called “Louisiana Believes,” which encourages educators to work with him on the formulation of a comprehensive plan to make certain the legislative reforms are implemented to achieve one central objective: ensuring all students, at every grade level, are on track to attain a college degree or succeed in a professional career.

A total of 22 events are scheduled with educators in 16 cities across the state, including 11 Teacher “Town Halls.”



04/24/2012

Fontainebleau High Wins $10,000 Math/Science Grant


Fontainebleau High School was notified April 19 that it had won a $10,000 Chevron and New Orleans Hornets Math and Science Resource Center Grant.

The school will use the money to build a special laboratory for student research and presentation in four key areas: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and through it encourage interest in STEM careers among high school, junior high, and middle school students.

The Chevron/Hornets grant recognizes projects that hold promise in helping improve math and science education in the education community, since STEM education is at the heart of today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy.

The specific purpose of the Fontainebleau High grant is to increase student achievement in math and science as well as to increase interest in other STEM courses and careers by offering more engaging, constructivist project-based and inquiry-based learning into the school’s instructional efforts. Much of the effort will involve incorporating robotics engineering in a number of curriculum areas, due to the high interest among students and the subject being applicable across the curriculum.

Casey Walderman, Community Investment Development Executive for the New Orleans Hornets, said, “We received several very impressive grant applications and applaud each school for their hard work and dedication. All of the applications demonstrated a clear commitment to math and science education.”

The title of the Fontainebleau High grant is “Fontainebleau High School Learning Community: The New “Fun-tier” STEM Initiative. The state-of-the art STEM resource lab will provide teachers with a proven template for integrating real-world situations and career cluster projects into their curriculum.

The new resource center will enable students to research, via communication and collaboration with the outside world, the effective integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). “We envision the STEM Center to be a fun, colorful, interactive, engaging teaching and learning facility, equipped with state of‐ the‐art technology for both the laboratory and presentation areas,” according to the grant application, said Melissa Strata-burger at Fontainebleau High. “It will provide for innovative instruction and research that supports student inquiry allow high‐level student research to become a cornerstone of our school district.”

As a result of the grant, students will be able to use real world tools to connect learning to specific careers, tools such as various computer software programs, applications and engineering kits.

Efforts will also be made to design a comprehensive Learning Community Outreach Plan to share the activities with middle and junior high schools that provide students to Fontainebleau High. Using the “STEM-Up™ model,” a comprehensive program of interrelated activities, the school hopes to engage students, parents, teachers, and community-based organizations with hands-on activities, role models, and information about career opportunities in STEM.

The project may also include “Fun-tier” Summer Camps, a “RoboDawgs” robotics Summer Camp, and STEM Star Lessons. Students from FHS will conduct mini-STEM Lego and Robotic Lessons at schools which are members of their learning community to help encourage interest in younger students in those curriculum areas.

Students will use the same industry-leading 3D design software used by companies like Intel, Lockheed Martin and Pixar. They will explore aerodynamics, astronautics and space life sciences and can also apply biological and engineering concepts related to biomechanics – robotics. As part of the process, they design, test and actually construct circuits and devices such as smart phones and tablets and work collaboratively on a culminating capstone project.

Data will be collected all throughout the project to assure that planned goals students are being reached. Each quarter data will be analyzed to determine if the overall STEM plan needs to be revised.

In a detailed description of the STEM Laboratory, the grant stated that the classroom will be configured as interactive state-of-the-art, dynamic, and innovative space where all students enrolled in math and science courses can engage in high level research, and produce innovative and creative design in the fields of applied mathematics and science. “We envision a space like no other on a high school campus in St. Tammany Parish,” said Principal Johnny Vitrano.

The room will be designed to create a colorful and high-tech atmosphere to invite student interaction with pulleys, prisms, magnets, calipers, micrometers, Robotics design kits, Venier Lab Quest II devices, digital cameras, calculators, industrial gauges, force and motion tables, and assorted engineering kits. Additionally, students will use state-of-the-art computers and software such as Logger pro and Solid works, as well as STEM related websites. When making a presentation of each project, students will have access to a large flat screen TV, Elmo, projector, Promethean Board, and IPADs.

The classroom will be configured into several work stations for different phases of each project. The flat screen TV will serve as a presentation device and will be connected to the Internet to show videos and web sites as well as video examples of STEM lessons and student products. Lining the walls will be display posters reflecting themes of Creativity, Innovation, Engineering, and Applied Science and Math.

Chevron has partnered with the New Orleans Hornets on several community service programs, including a “Mathmobile” and the Mathlete’s program which rewards students for improving or maintaining good grades in math.




04/24/2012

Louisiana Cultural Arts Being Celebrated in Schools


All this week, a number of schools throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System are celebrating the variety of cultural arts enjoyed throughout Louisiana including music, visual arts, and dance.

Many schools are enriching their curriculums with special programs spotlighting fish and wildlife native to Louisiana, Cajun music and culture, seafood culinary delights, and even snowballs, a local summer treat.

At Marigny Elementary last week, students engaged in a variety of educational and fun activities, everything from taking part in “Sportsman Paradise” fishing, biking and camping to digging for crawfish, making clothespin alligators, and dancing to Zydeco music. A special appearance by Delta Dolphin and Salty the Pelican were especially appreciated. Click here for photos.

Sheriff’s Deputy Howard McCrea visited Marigny Elementary with baby alligators and the students had the opportunity to hold them, if they wanted to.

Bridget Martinez, chairman of the Marigny event, said it brought together 50 parent volunteers with several outside agencies to help the children become more aware of local cultural arts opportunities. “The community response was great,” she said, naming participants such as the Northlake Nature Center, the Mandeville branch of the parish library, the Corps of Engineers, La. Wildlife and Fisheries, and others.

“The kids were definitely engaged with the many interactive and age-appropriate activities we had available,” Ms. Martinez stated. “Every student was able to participate.”

Lee Road Junior High School held Louisiana Cultural Arts Day Friday, April 27, with a large number of activities, art exhibits and outdoor demonstrations. Click here for photographs from Lee Road.




04/23/2012

Spring Registration Begins For Kindergarten, First Grade


Spring registration for the 2012-2013 School Year began Monday, April 23, 2012, for students entering kindergarten and first grade for the first time in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

Registration for the 2012-2013 pre-kindergarten classes will be held at a later date. The announcement of specific registration dates and times for each school are listed later in this article.

Any child born before October 1, 2006, will be eligible for the first grade, and any child born before October 1, 2007, will be eligible for kindergarten.

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 kindergarten and first grade students entering the St. Tammany Parish public schools for the first time will be held at the school the student will attend. Students who attended and completed a public school kindergarten during the 2011-2012 school year will not be required to register again for the first grade.

Each school will have a specific registration date and time as indicated in the following list. Hours of registration will be 9:00 a.m. until noon at the following locations.

Registration Schedule

Monday, April 23, 2012:
Chahta-Ima Elementary
Cypress Cove Elementary
Fifth Ward Junior High
Folsom Elementary
Lee Road Junior High
Lyon Elementary
Marigny Elementary
Whispering Forest Elementary
Woodlake Elementary

Tuesday, April 24, 2012:
Bonne Ecole Elementary
Brock Elementary
Florida Avenue Elementary
Little Pearl Elementary
Madisonville Elementary
Mayfield Elementary

Wednesday, April 25, 2012:
Abita Springs Elementary
Abney Early Childhood
Abney Elementary
Alton Elementary
Bayou Woods Elementary
Covington Elementary
Mandeville Elementary
Pontchartrain Elementary
Riverside Elementary
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 the Title 1 four-year-old program and 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 o 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. All documents must be the most current available and dated within the past 30 days. Documents that are suspect or inconclusive may be disallowed and additional documentation may be required.

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 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’s 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.




04/23/2012

Students of the Year Recognized At Annual Reception


The three Students of the Year representing the St. Tammany Parish Public School System for the 2011-2012 School Year were honored at the annual Recognition Reception held April 19 at the Robert C. Brooks Jr. Educational Complex in Slidell.

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.

Jack Thomas Bidleman, a fifth grade student from Tchefuncte Middle School, was named Student of the Year in the Elementary Division for St. Tammany Parish public schools. The eighth grade district winner is Shalin Bhatt, a student at Mandeville Junior High School, and Arden Wells of Fontainebleau High School won the Student of the Year district honors for the 12th grade level.

During the School Board meeting, Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, presented each Student of the Year with an engraved plaque for their selection. “These students are excellent examples and representatives of the 37,000 students in our School District,” he said.

Videos by Channel 13 were shown for each recipient, outlining their academic successes, extracurricular activities, and community service projects. At the annual reception honoring them prior to the School Board meeting, Meredith Mendez, Director of Communications, introduced each Student of the Year, sharing with the audience some of their individual accomplishments.

Jack Bidleman is the son of Randy and Susan Bidleman of Mandeville. An active volunteer for a variety of school and community service projects, he works with the recycling program, the anti-bullying campaign, and school-related art projects. Also active with sports, including baseball and soccer, Bidleman enjoys “geo-caching” and studying nature and animals as a member of the Bird and Nature Club. He has also won several awards for academic excellence, character development, and leadership qualities.

Shalin Bhatt is involved in a number of school activities from sports and band to social studies and science fairs. He has numerous Boy Scout honors. In 2011, he was named an Honorary Mayor-President of Baton Rouge, and he has also been active with the 4-H Club, and Friends of Rachel Club.
His academic efforts range from honor society membership to being named in the Duke University Talent Identification Program. His community service work includes membership with the Builder’s Club, SADD, and participation in student government activities. Shalin also works with the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra. His career goal is to become a neurosurgeon, hoping to help find cures for the incurable diseases around the world. He is the son of Dr. and Mrs. Suresh Bhatt.

The daughter of Ken and Robin Wells, Arden Wells was also named one of 18 regional finalists in this year’s Louisiana Student of the Year awards program.

Miss Wells participates in and has held offices with many clubs and organizations at the school and takes part in a variety of community service projects as well. She is involved in the National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society, the Photography Club, Bulldog Buddies, and a student vegetarian group. A National Merit Finalist with a PSAT score of 223, she has achieved a grade point average of 4.6, placing her in the top one percent of her class. Arden’s long list of volunteer experiences includes work at the Samaritan Center, tutoring freshmen, serving as a school guide for the Special Olympics event at Fontainebleau High, and organizing local fund raising efforts for World Vision and the St. Tammany Humane Society.

Student of the year candidates are selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities. District-level winners advance to the regional competitions, where selection committees review portfolios of accomplishments submitted by each student, along with student writing samples and interviews, to assess the communication and critical-thinking skills of each candidate.



04/21/2012

Millage Renewals Approved by Voters


All three tax millage propositions were approved for renewal by St. Tammany voters Saturday, April 21.

Propositions 1, 2, and 3 involved existing property tax millages that will continue to provide key support to public schools in St. Tammany Parish, local funding that directly impacts every student.

After the precinct results were posted, Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, said, "I would like to thank all of the people who turned out at the polls today to vote for Propositions 1,2 and 3. Our parents and the community as a whole have always given a great deal of support to the St. Tammany Parish Public School System. I am pleased to see our partnership continue as we work to make the education of ‘every child, every day’ a priority."

Propositions 1 and 2, first passed in 1963, were renewals of millages that have been paid by taxpayers for 49 years. Proposition 3, originally passed by voters in 1983, was the renewal of a millage that has been paid for 29 years. The three revenue sources represent 20 percent of the School System’s operating budget.



04/20/2012

Millage Renewal Vote Set for Saturday


Three revenue sources for the St. Tammany Parish Public School System will be up for renewal on the Saturday, April 21, election ballot.

Propositions 1, 2, and 3 involve existing property tax millages that provide local support to public schools in St. Tammany Parish, funding that directly impacts every student. They are not new taxes, but renewals that have been approved by voters every ten years over the past four decades.

Propositions 1 and 2, first passed in 1963, are renewals of millages that have been paid by taxpayers for 49 years. Proposition 3, originally passed by voters in 1983, is the renewal of a millage that has been paid for 29 years. These millages are placed on the ballot to be renewed by voters every 10 years.

The three revenue sources represent 20 percent of the operating budget, providing funds for everything from instructional materials, curriculum and instructional programs, to repairs to schools, music, art and P.E. programs and salaries and benefits.

“The millages from these propositions provide the local funding that allows us to provide the services and programs required to maintain the high quality of our School System and to remain a leader in education,” said Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III.

For more information, please visit http://stpsb.org/vote/index.html


 


04/19/2012

Regional Finalist Named in State Student of The Year Program


Arden Wells, a student at Fontainebleau High School, was named one of six regional finalists for the high school level in this year’s Louisiana Student of the Year awards program.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III said, “Arden is an exceptional student who has a heart for public service, and she is an excellent representative of our 37,000 plus students in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.”

Student of the year candidates are selected based on criteria that measure academic achievement, leadership skills, character, and service to their schools and communities. District-level winners advance to the regional competitions, where selection committees review portfolios of accomplishments submitted by each student, along with student writing samples and interviews, to assess the communication and critical-thinking skills of each candidate.

"We want to congratulate these exemplary students, as well as their families, teachers, principals, and districts," State Superintendent of Education John White said. "Through their academic success, community service, leadership, and character, these students are the best evidence of the promise of our next generation and reinforce the critical work that is taking place in our schools and classrooms each day."

Talented Music Teacher Lee Coker said of Miss Wells, his student, “Besides being a talented pianist, she is gifted academically and she is active in her school as well as in her community. Arden always has a creative, innovative, free-spirited and positive attitude. She stands alone in her high school in terms of her uniqueness.”

Miss Wells participates in and has held offices with many clubs and organizations at the school and takes part in a variety of community service projects as well. She is involved in the National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society, the Photography Club, Bulldog Buddies, and a student vegetarian group that holds vegetarian picnics every Thursday in the school courtyard.

A National Merit Finalist with a PSAT score of 223, she has achieved a grade point average of 4.6, placing her in the top one percent of her class. She has taken a number of gifted courses from English and Biology to Chemistry and History.

Arden’s long list of volunteer experiences includes work at the Samaritan Center, tutoring freshmen, serving as a school guide for the Special Olympics event at Fontainebleau High, and organizing local fund raising efforts for World Vision and the St. Tammany Humane Society. Miss Wells has also helped Habitat for Humanity in its house building projects, sorted cans for the Covington Food Bank, and cooked and served dinners for the Salvation Army.




04/19/2012

Two Schools Win Let’s Grow Healthy Recognition


Abita Springs Elementary won first place and Pearl River High School won second place during statewide competition in last year’s “Let’s Grow Healthy” School Lunch promotion held throughout Louisiana as part of a National School Lunch Week project.

Pat Farris, Supervisor of Food Services for St. Tammany Parish Public Schools, told the School Board last week that the two schools will be recognized for their accomplishment at a School Nutrition Association state conference in Monroe this summer.

“School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy” was a special promotion that took place in August and October, with the aim of helping students understand where food comes from while highlighting the overall benefits that school lunches provide in helping them grow strong and healthy. The program provides the opportunity to try something new and promote locally sourced foods, with activities ranging from a “harvest-of-the-month” menu to a school garden to a meet-the-farmer educational presentation.

The effort aimed at getting students excited about healthy school lunch choices. “Our schools participated by decorating their cafeterias and conducting promotional events involving students, staff, and faculty,” said Ms. Farris.

The campaign also coincided with National Farm to School Month, spotlighting locally sourced foods served in America’s schools.

Just recently, school cafeterias throughout the parish took part in “Louisiana School Lunch Week” with another round of fun events, student activities, and decorations all promoting healthy eating choices, especially local cuisine favorites.

In that event held last month, district winners for the best School Lunch Week program were Lakeshore High, first place among high schools; and in the junior high division, Folsom Junior High won first place, St. Tammany Junior High won second place, and Clearwood Junior High won third place. Little Pearl Elementary won first place in the elementary division, with Lancaster Elementary winning second place.



04/16/2012

Pre-Kindergarten Registration Events Scheduled


Four public events will be held in late May to help parents sign up their children for Pre-kindergarten classes beginning next August.

The series of events is entitled “Gearing Up for Pre K,” and they will present a chance to have fun and entertainment for the kids while parents gather important information such as immunization requirements, community resources, and family support services. For the kids there will be storytelling and art projects. Each event will involve enrollment at several specific schools.

Qualifications for the Pre-K program include age (students must be four years old before October 1, 2012), place of residence (parents must reside within the attendance boundaries of the school site), and the students must qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch programs.

The events will be held as follows:

For Alton Elementary, Cypress Cove Elementary, Little Pearl Elementary, Sixth Ward Elementary, and Whispering Forest Elementary Schools, the event will take place on Thursday, May 24, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Little Pearl Elementary, 63829 Hwy. 11, in Pearl River.

For Abney Early Childhood Center, Bayou Woods Elementary, Bonne Ecole Elementary, Brock Elementary, Florida Avenue Elementary, and Mayfield Elementary Schools, the event will be held on Friday, May 25, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Bayou Woods Elementary, 35614 Liberty Drive west of Slidell.

For Chahta-Ima Elementary, Mandeville Elementary, Marigny Elementary, Pontchartrain Elementary, and Woodlake Elementary Schools, the event will take place on Tuesday, May 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Treen Instructional Technology Center, 2024 Livingston Street, in Mandeville.

For Abita Springs Elementary, Covington Elementary, Fifth Ward Junior High, Folsom Elementary, Lee Road Junior High, Lyon Elementary, and Madisonville Elementary, the event will be held on Wednesday, May 30, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the National Guard Armory at 1320 N. Columbia Street in Covington.

Parents should check the schools listed for each registration event location for their child's school.

Parents should bring the following documents to the event they attend: (1) a State Certified Birth Certificate, (2) a Health Record of Immunization, (3) Proof of residency – three current documents, either a utility bill, mortgage/lease, insurance, or income tax return, (4) Social Security Card, (5) Custody Papers – if applicable, and (6) Income Verification – Food Stamp eligibility letter, most current W-2 form or two most recent pay stubs.

Parents unable to attend the above events may register their children for Pre-Kindergarten classes at the school during the summer registration period in July. Specific dates will be posted on the School System website as they become available.

 



04/13/2012

School System Wins Literacy Grant Funds


The St. Tammany Parish Public School System is one of 17 districts in the state to receive part of a new federal grant entitled the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant awarded to Louisiana by the U.S. Department of Education.

Louisiana was one of only six states awarded the federal grant funds coming in September, and St. Tammany is among the first cohort of 16 local public school districts and one charter school that the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) will award subgrants. A second round of grantees will be selected in 2013.

Supervisor Elizabeth Laine reported to the School Board April 26 that the name of the grant is LIFE Promise, with LIFE standing for Literacy is For Everyone. "This is the grant that will put Louisiana on the map, according to a state department of education initiative leader," said Ms. Laine. St. Tammany Parish will receive $1,833,344 for the first year.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Arabie said that, with the grant funding, “We will be able to develop a professional development program to assist teachers in using literacy strategies in all content areas. In addition, we are going to be able to provide literacy coaches at five schools to assist teachers and help direct the program.” Those five schools which will be part of the program will be Salmen High, St. Tammany Junior High, Abney Elementary, and Abney Early Childhood Center, with Brock Elementary being a part of the professional development effort the first year, and one of the grant recipients the following year.

The state is set to receive more than $148 million over the next five years from the federal grant.

The goal of the grant is to provide high quality literacy experiences for children all the way from birth to high school, Ms. Laine told the School Board.

Louisiana's federal grant proposal placed special emphasis on providing focused support to disadvantaged students. Thus, applications were heavily weighted based on the population of disadvantaged students who would be served by district and charter school proposals.

"Nearly 40,000 students, including many of our most at-risk students, will benefit from this funding during the first year alone,” said State Superintendent of Education John White. “And the fact that sustainability was factored into the selection process means many more children across Louisiana will benefit in years to come. I want to congratulate these districts and schools for demonstrating their commitment and capacity to improve the literacy skills of their students through a comprehensive approach, by involving educators, families, and the community at large."

Ms. Laine said that a large number of School System administrators and supervisors worked many hours on the grant application. "We are really excited," she said. "The effort will help ensure that St. Tammany students leave the System prepared to be successful in life."

The principals of the schools which will benefit from the grant the first year attended the School Board meeting and were recognized for their participation in the initiative. "It was truly a team effort," Ms. Laine said.




04/12/2012

Magna Awards Honor School System For Student Nutrition Program


The American School Board Journal awarded the St. Tammany Parish Public School System an Honorable Mention in its 2012 Magna Awards program this week, commending the district for the creation of a student wellness project and enhanced school cafeteria nutrition initiative.

The School System, competing in the over 20,000 enrollment category, won for its efforts to improve food quality, give students greater opportunities for physical activity, and provide them with continuing education instruction on healthy lifestyles.

The results of the local program include a greater student involvement in food menu decisions, classroom activities teaching nutrition, and greater participation in school sports activities, the American School Board Journal (ASBJ) stated.

The 18th annual Magna Awards recognizes school districts across the country for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools.

The 2012 winners will be spotlighted in a special supplement to the May issue of ASBJ, and will be formally recognized on Saturday, April 21, at the “Best Practices for School Leaders” Luncheon, which is part of the National School Board Association’s 72nd Annual Conference to be held in Boston. In addition to the ASBJ supplement, the district's winning entry will be posted on the Magna Awards website and added to the program's searchable best practices database. Both can be found at www.asbj.com/magna.

“The Magna Awards exemplifies strong school board leadership, creativity, and commitment to student achievement in public education,” said Anne L. Bryant, ASBJ’s Publisher and Executive Director of NSBA. “This year’s Magna Awards recipients truly showcase the best practices and innovative school programs that are advancing student success.”

In 2005 Cypress Cove Elementary in Slidell was given the very first USDA Gold Award in the nation for participating in the HealthierUS Schools Challenge program. Within a year, every elementary school in the parish was recognized for having achieved the USDA Gold Award level.

Last October, cafeteria managers and principals from 25 St. Tammany public schools earning the “Gold Award of Distinction” designation in the USDA “HealthierUS Schools Challenge” program visited the White House to be recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama. Nationwide, only 155 school food service programs had received that honor, giving St. Tammany Parish Public School cafeterias more Gold Awards of Distinction than any other school district in the nation.

Cypress Cove’s successful efforts were also featured in a half-hour educational television program produced by the National Food Service Management Institute (USDA) for its “Cooks for Kids” series. The “best practices” video showcased the ways in which students at Cypress Cove Elementary School benefitted from the emphasis on healthy cooking, and the television program was nominated for and won a Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications.

Two years ago, in April of 2010, The St. Tammany Parish Public School System received one of three grand prize Magna Awards presented by the American School Board Journal for the district's successful energy management and conservation program. The School System was honored at the National School Boards Association conference in Chicago following a presentation entitled “A Win-Win Formula: Curriculum Funding and Energy Management.”

That award spotlighted the district’s highly-effective energy saving effort that has resulted in cost avoidance of several million dollars over the past several years.

The American School Board Journal initiated the Magna Awards in 1995 to recognize school boards for taking bold and innovative steps to improve their educational programs. The organization serves more than 40,000 school board members and top-level administrators from districts across the nation. The K-12 education magazine has published continuously since 1891.

The Magna Awards have been sponsored by Sodexo School Services since 1995. The company noted that research indicates that diet and nutrition as well as classroom and school conditions have a measureable impact on student performance. It has initiated a variety of programs around nutrition, achievement, environment, community and activities.



04/10/2012

School System Seeks Photos of Early Superintendents

The St. Tammany Parish Public School System is trying to find photographs of four men who served as Superintendents in the early 1900’s. Photos are being sought of H. A. Verrett, W. G. Evans, A. B. Peters, and H. B. Messick.

Verrett served as Superintendent between 1904 and 1905, Evans served between 1905 and 1909, Peters held the post for five months in 1909, and Messick was Superintendent between 1909 and 1911.

Anyone who has photographs or portraits of those individuals is asked to email public.comment@stpsb.org or call the Communications Department at 898-3297. A computer scan will be made of the image with no damage to the original photograph.




04/05/2012

Parish Students Take Honors at State Science Fair

More than 400 middle and high school students from throughout the state competed in the Louisiana State Science and Engineering Fair on March 26-27 at LSU. Among the top winners in the Junior Division were several St. Tammany Parish Public School System students.

Abigail K. Jenkins and Brandi Mowen of Fifth Ward Junior High won first place in animal sciences with their exhibit entitled “Egg-stra! Egg-stra!,” and St. Tammany Junior High student William Kelly won first place in Engineering: Electrical and Mechanical with his exhibit “Which Acoustic Material Absorbs the Most Sound?”

Boyet Junior High student Michael Stokes won first place in Physics and Astronomy with his display on “Trebuchet Physics: Optimizing Sling Length and Release Angle.”

Another Boyet Junior High student, Nicolas Foster, won third place in Microbiology, and Austin Smiley of St. Tammany Junior High School won Third Place in Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Abigail Jenkins of Fifth Ward Junior High also won one of the three Gamma Sigma Delta awards for Agriculture. She and Miss Mowen had earlier won first place in animal science at the Region VIII Science Fair held at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond March 8 and 9. Other regional science fair winners in animal science were Cody Armand of Little Oak Middle School, second place, and Noah Roheim of Boyet Junior High, third place.

William Kelly was the overall winner at the Regional Science Fair at SLU.
In behavioral and social science at the Regional Science Fair, Austin Smiley placed first, and Cameron Ellis of Mandeville Junior High received an honorable mention. In Earth and planetary science, Paola Colmenares of Little Oak Middle School placed second in regional competition, and Bernel Davis of St. Tammany Junior High placed third. In Chemistry at the regional fair, Emma Knight of Mandeville Junior High placed second, and Regan Sellers of Fontainebleau Junior High placed third.

William Kelly also placed first in engineering at the regional science and engineering fair, with Claire Crosby placing third and Daniel Rockwell receiving an honorable mention. Crosby and Rockwell are both from Mandeville Junior High.

Regional fair winners also included Kristen Boese, Fontainebleau Junior High, first place in environmental sciences; Mason Hornsby, Fontainebleau Junior High, third place in environmental sciences; Shalin Bhatt, Mandeville Junior High, first place in Medicine and Health Sciences; Presely Seal, Fifth Ward Junior High, third place in Medicine and Health Sciences; Nicholas Foster, second place in microbiology; Madison Keith, Mandeville Junior High, third place in Microbiology; and Adam Ohlmeyer, Fontainebleau Junior High, honorable mention in Microbiology.

Michael Stokes and Alex Barron, both of Boyet Junior High, won second and third place respectively, in Physics and Astronomy at the Regional Science Fair, and Hannah LeBlanc of Mandeville Junior High won an honorable mention in the same category. In Plant Science in regional competition, Julia Racine of Fontainebleau Junior High won second place, and Nick Mejia of Mandeville Junior High won an honorable mention.


04/04/2012

Student Artists Recognized By Habitat


Habitat for Humanity, St. Tammany West, spotlighted 18 third grade students from St. Tammany Parish Public Schools at its fourth annual “Building Through Art” Gallery Night on March 30.

The event brings together student artists and Habitat’s Community Partners to be recognized at a special exhibit which took place at St. Tammany Homestead in Covington. Students from Abita Springs Elementary, Covington Elementary, Lyon Elementary, Magnolia Trace Elementary, Mandeville Elementary, and Woodlake Elementary School participated in the event.

Building through Art is an educational art program which introduces third-grade students to the work of Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West in their community. Students learn about Habitat for Humanity’s home-building program and how important volunteers are to its mission. Habitat asserts that every person deserves, at least, a simple and decent place in which to live and grow—a home.

The students explore this concept and are asked to draw a picture and write two sentences about “What Home Means to Me.” Twenty winning pieces are chosen to be framed, displayed and sold at Gallery Night. Building through Art is designed to introduce the idea of community engagement at an early age to cultivate philanthropy in the community.

The Building Through Art project includes Habitat representatives visiting third-grade classrooms located in St. Tammany West schools and discussing such topics as the meaning of volunteerism and the importance of the volunteer to the community.

Half of the proceeds from the sale of student work will benefit the Building Houses Program, and the other half will be donated back to the school to be spent on student art projects.

Student winners in the program were Abby Sonner, Caroline Forest, Trent McKinney, Emily Vandierendonck and Sean Cripple, all from Mandeville Elementary School; Madison Reed, Isabel Moeller, Madison Pittman, Carter Neil, and Kayla De Oliveira, all from Magnolia Trace Elementary; Kate Hankins, Emma Lavelle, Emma Kate Cacioppo, Skye Howard, Connor Camp, all from Woodlake Elementary School; Kylie Fontenot, Allee White, and Rowan Magee, all from Lyon Elementary School.

 



04/02/2012

Ribbon Cutting Held for Henry L. Mayfield Elementary


With more than a dozen Mayfield family members on hand and a ceremony enhanced by numerous student performances, School System officials and other dignitaries cut the ribbon for the new Henry L. Mayfield Elementary School on Friday, March 30.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III welcomed the more than 100 guests, saying he had been looking forward to the ribbon cutting for the new school for quite a while. He commended former Assistant Superintendent, the late Henry L. Mayfield, as a dedicated academic leader for the School System, serving in many capacities over his career. “He helped build the School System into what it is today,” Superintendent Folse stated. “For his efforts, we are very grateful.”

Adele Mayfield Davenport and Henry L. Mayfield, Jr., spoke about their father’s passion for education and his work in bringing parents, children, and educators together, with his ground-breaking work recognized throughout the state. His son said that the magnificent new school was a great accomplishment honoring his father, adding that the meeting room they were in that morning was much larger than the entire one-room school that their father had started out in many years ago.

Superintendent Folse praised the work done by Mayfield Principal Arlana LeBlanc since the beginning of the school year, noting that she had conducted Mayfield classes at two other schools until her own campus became available. “She worked non-stop over the Mardi Gras holidays to get the new school ready for her students,” he said, adding that he was looking forward to working with her and her staff for years to come.

Ms. LeBlanc said it was truly an honor to serve as principal at the school honoring the tradition of Mr. Mayfield. She thanked her wonderful PTA members for always being there to help, and gave special recognition to the two principals who shared their campuses with her and her Assistant Principal Mary Lou Boudet for serving as her administrative partner. Superintendent Folse introduced the two principals from Carolyn Park Middle School, Tony Esposito, and Bayou Woods Elementary School, Mrs. Linda Bankston, and thanked them for hosting the Mayfield students on their campuses this year while the new building was being finished.

Student Alex Allen read Henry Mayfield’s biography, offering an overview of his career, which included beginning as a teacher at Madisonville in 1927, serving as a teacher and principal at Waldheim, and then principal of Slidell Grammar School, the largest school in the parish at that time. He became the first instructional supervisor with the Central Office in 1935, continued his own professional education, and was named Assistant Superintendent in 1964. He retired from the School System in 1968, but served as Executive Director for the St. Tammany Council on Aging for three years after that.

School Board members present for the ceremony included Stephen J. “Jack” Loup, John Lamarque, Mary K. Bellisario, Robin Mullett, Peggy Seeley, Robert “Bob” Womack, Ray A. Alfred, and Willie B. Jeter.

A large number of former administrators and supervisors were also on hand for the occasion, including Ronnie Pogue, Hank Ferrer, Simmie Fairley, Ralph Menetre, and Marian Arrowsmith, as well as Dr. James Stafford, also a former BESE Board member.

Malike Batiste led the Pledge of Allegiance, the Mayfield Elementary Band performed three numbers, and several students read portions of essays they had written, each excerpt standing for a letter in Mr. Mayfield’s name. Students throughout the school had written essays for the special occasion, and they were all presented to family members in a souvenir scrapbook.

At the end of the ceremony, seven students said good-bye to those present, each in their own language, including French, Arabic, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese.

The entire ribbon cutting ceremony was repeated later in the afternoon for the benefit of the 588 students in the school who had not been a part of the earlier presentation.

Several years ago, a committee of Mayfield’s friends and professional acquaintances was formed to encourage the naming of a school in honor of him. That committee was made up of Hank Ferrer, Troy Jackson, Ralph Menetre, Dr. Clea Parker, Ronnie Pogue, and Dr. Stafford.

The school features 41 classrooms, a covered bus drop-off site, special education classrooms and music rooms, a spacious cafeteria and gymnasium, and outdoor play areas, as well as a turning lane to help facilitate traffic into and out of the facility. The campus is located midway between Slidell and Lacombe, three miles west of the Northshore Mall, and consists of a new 87,000 square foot facility located on 71 acres adjacent to Tammany Trace.

 



03/30/2012

Superintendent Folse Receives Award from St. Tammany Deputy Sheriff’s Association


Superintendent W.L. “Trey” Folse, III received a special award from the St. Tammany Deputy Sheriff’s Association recently at the group’s inaugural bi-annual awards banquet. The award is dedicated to Superintendent Folse’s generous commitment, dedication and support.

Superintendent Folse said, “It is an honor to receive this award from the association. As a School System, we have a close partnership with the Sheriff’s Office which allows us to maintain a safe and effective learning environment on our 55 school campuses.”

“There may be no other leader in the parish whom I have a closer, more cooperative working relationship with than Trey Folse. Superintendent Folse and I share a determination to keep our students, teachers and parents safe. Their security is the cornerstone of an effective education, and our partnership has provided that under Trey’s leadership,” said Sheriff Jack Strain.

The award ceremony was held at the Harbor Center in Slidell and Major Joe Jarrel made the presentation to Superintendent Folse. Jarrel said, “We were happy to recognize Trey for the tremendous support he has given us over the years. Because of the close cooperation between the school system and the Sheriff’s office, we are able to provide a safe, productive learning environment for St. Tammany’s students.”

The awards banquet also honored 40 deputies for a variety of categories including Deputy of the Year, Life Saving, Medals of Merit and Awards of Excellence.




03/28/2012

Spring Break Begins Monday, April 2; Classes Resume April 10

Schools are closed for the Spring/Easter break through Monday, April 9. Classes resume on Tuesday, April 10.

The Central Office and support offices for the St. Tammany Parish Public School System will be closed for the Easter Holiday Weekend on Friday, April 6, and on Monday, April 9. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, April 10.

 



03/26/2012

Ribbon Cutting Held for Alton Elementary


Dozens of former students, teachers, administrators, as well as numerous area community leaders, took part in a special ribbon-cutting ceremony for Alton Elementary School Monday morning.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III welcomed those attending the special occasion, with the student choir providing music and two students reading their essays saying how great their new school was with the extensive renovations. Principal Schanette Hebert was on hand to greet guests and coordinate tours of the new facility given by student guides.

“We are certainly happy to be here today,” Superintendent Folse stated. “Alton started out as a school for a small community, and today it is still a community school, surrounded by a supportive neighborhood. This school is an important fixture to Slidell and an important landmark to many people around here. Generations have attended Alton.”

He outlined the history of the school, its growth over the years, and how the new renovations have brought many smiles to the students and staff.

School Board members taking part in the event were Peggy Seeley, Ray A. Alfred, Robin Mullett, and Beth Heintz. Guests included Gwendolyn Wade, who served as principal for the school for 18 years.

The hallways were lined with copies of the essays in which the students told how wonderful the new facilities were, especially the library and the cafeteria. After the ribbon was cut, visitors were given tours of the new hallways and classrooms.

The students moved into the new facility on February 27. The school’s 219 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade have attended class in modular buildings over the past two years while the entire school campus was renovated from top to bottom and additions were made to the administration areas, library and cafeteria. A bus canopy was also added to the front of the school.

The renovations and additions, funded by a QSCB (Qualified School Construction Bond) loan as part of the American recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, bring the school, originally built in 1957, up to current code requirements and provide the students and faculty and staff of Alton Elementary a modern and productive learning environment.




03/21/2012

Monitoring Weather Situation
The St. Tammany Parish Public School System is continuing to monitor the current weather situation. All schools remain on their normal schedule and at this time bus and dismissal schedules remain the same.



03/20/2012

Superintendent Addresses Education Issues With Greek Organizations


Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III spoke to an Education Summit Saturday in Slidell, with the audience made up of nine sororities and fraternities from throughout St. Tammany Parish. The event was sponsored by Northshore Greeks.

Superintendent Folse gave an overview of the School System, reviewing its revenues and expenditures, its many successes, and its future challenges.The upcoming April 21 renewals of three tax propositions were also outlined.

Approximately 100 people were in the audience, representing Greek community service organizations active throughout St. Tammany. A 45 minute question and answer session followed the Superintendent’s presentation.

The Education Summit aims to provide information about the state of education in St. Tammany Parish and is one of several events throughout the year held by the Northshore Greeks to keep its member groups informed. The event took place at the Living the Word International Ministries in Slidell.

 



03/19/2012

Folsom Elementary Leads Elementary Fitness Meet


Eighty-eight fourth and fifth grade student athletes from throughout St. Tammany Parish Public Schools took part in the second annual Elementary Fitness Meet held at Lakeshore High School on Saturday, March 17.

They paticipated in numerous track events, from the 50 yard dash, curl-ups, pull-ups, and shuttle runs to standing long jumps, V-sits, and a 600 yard run.

The overall school winner was Folsom Elementary with 2090 points. First place in boys went to Tchefuncte Middle School, and first place in girls went to Folsom Elementary.

In individual results, Boys Division, Reed “Beau” Neelis of Tchefuncte Middle School earned 567 points, Raynell Mercadel of Brock Elementary earned 552 points, and Jordan Vidato from Abney Elementary earned 543 points.

In the Girls Division, Ivy Mendheim of Folsom Elementary placed first with 605 points, Sierra Ballard from Lake Habor Middle School earned 604 points for second place, and Mia Angelo of Lancaster Elementary earned 603 points for third place.

The top six individual winners will be going on to the State Elementary Fitness Meet in Baton Rouge on April 28, 2012.

To begin the event, Assistant Superintendent William Brady welcomed the students and their parents to the meet, and the Fontainebleau High School ROTC Color Guard led the parade of athletes as each school’s representatives passed by the grandstand. Two Fifth Ward Junior High students, Alissa Long and Alexis Smith, sang the National Anthem.

Kay Hursey, coordinator of Physical Education and Health for the School System, said that preparations for the event started as far back as August as teachers tested students interested in various aspects of the competition. The kids practiced the different events and were re-tested in January. Then two boys and two girls were selected from each participating school to attend the meet.

The top three boys and top three girls in the scoring in each event received a medal, and the boys and girls in winning first, second, and third places each received a trophy. The overall school winner received a trophy as well.

Mr. Brady congratulated all the student participants for being involved, and he thanked the many volunteers who came together to make it possible. “This is becoming one of the major events of our School System, and we want it to continue to grow,” he said.

The organizers of the event included Supervisor Margaret Sharpe, Parish Athletic Director Larry Favre, Lakeshore High Track Coach Andy Thiel, and Kay Hursey with her group of 25 P.E. and Health teachers from around the parish who volunteered to help during the day.

Last year’s event was the first one held in St. Tammany Parish, so once the word got out about how much fun it was, the children were “really excited,” about taking part in this year’s competition, Ms. Hursey said. “They knew more of what it was about, they had something to go by,” she explained. They worked really hard to get the chance to participate, many of them practicing during the summer months in order to be prepared for it.

 



03/16/2012

Calendar For 2012-2013 School Year Announced


The St. Tammany Parish School Board announced the Calendar for the 2012-2013 School Year Thursday night, after a vote by employees between two proposed calendars.

The school calendar for the next school year is available at this link in PDF format. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the file.

On the new calendar, school opens on Wednesday, August 8, and the first semester ends before the Winter/Christmas break. The last day of school is on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

Election Day on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, is a holiday since many schools are used as polling places.

 



03/15/2012

Fontainebleau High School Hosts Special Olympics Event


Hundreds of special needs students from 15 junior high and high schools throughout the parish converged on Fontainebleau High School March 15 for the 16th annual Special Olympics Area Track and Field Meet.

Cheerleaders lined both sides of the entrance driveway as school buses brought in the track meet participants. Rows of Fontainebleau High students dressed in bright green T-shirts welcomed each special needs student as they got off the bus and headed for the stadium gates.

The meet began with a parade of athletes grouped according to each school marching by the home-side stadium bleachers, followed by the passing of a torch from one school representative to the next.

During the opening ceremony, Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, welcomed the many visitors and parents attending, and he wished all the student athletes the best in their efforts in each contest. “Everyone here today is a winner,” he told the assembled group. “Our School System’s motto is Every Child, Every Day,” he stated. “And today is a great example of what that means.”

Also present were School Board members Roanne Tipton and Charles Harrell and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Arabie.

Channel 13 Commentator Charles “Tiger” Edwards served as emcee for the event, keeping things going and announcing the winners as each track and field contest took place.

Superintendent Folse said he was impressed with the organization and preparations for the event. “To me the beauty of the day is seeing everyone working together,” he said. “Each one of these kids, whether special needs or regular ed, has different talents and abilities, and today the special needs kids get to showcase their talents and abilities.”

“As soon as they get off the bus and see everybody cheering for them, that puts a big smile on their face,” Folse went on to say. “It makes it all worthwhile. Today is a perfect example of every child getting an opportunity to show what they can do.”

He especially mentioned the massive volunteer effort that brings it all together. “That’s the beauty of St. Tammany Parish, this is where it comes together, community businesses, parents, service organizations, administrators, teachers…everybody out here is doing their part to make sure this is a special day for every kid that’s involved.”

Sharon Hosch, Supervisor of Special Education, said the event was a good way for students to learn how to work together, to do their best, and understand and realize they are all winners. “It gives special needs students the opportunity to collaborate and work together as a team with their peers,” she explained. “The teachers, the para-educators, the Adaptive P.E. teachers who have prepared for this day go above and beyond to make this event a powerful experience for the students. I’m really proud of what they do.”

In the fall a middle school level Special Olympics track and field meet was held at Lakeshore High School to give the kids in the middle grades their own separate event. “The kids loved it, there wasn’t as much waiting as when they were all here together,” she said.

The schools also hold a Special Olympics Bowling meet twice a year for students wanting to take part in that sport activity. Some special needs students will, with the help of their Adaptive P.E. teachers, also take part in the state Special Olympics events, Hosch commented.

She commended Fontainebleau High staff and students for turning out in force for the project, everything from painting signs spotlighting each school to the welcoming cheerleaders and members of the Bulldog Buddies helping conduct the individual contests.

“Everyone gets involved, and all the administrators are very supportive,” she noted, especially mentioning the many parents who attend the event each year to support their children and their schools.

The large number of helpers included band members, the ROTC Color Guard, and other Fontainebleau High students who turned out to help conduct variety of track and field events, from 50 and 100 meter walk/runs, 25 meter wheel chair races, shot put, softball throw, and the standing long jump.

Seventeen Adaptive Physical Education teachers from throughout the parish were on the field to help keep the activities running, with local FHS involvement coordinated by Monique Hebert and Ricky Zimmer.

Hosted by the St. Tammany Parish Adapted Physical Education Department, the event at Fontainebleau High School is now in its fifth year. Before that it was held at Slidell High.

Many of the student helpers came from FHS’s Bulldog Buddies Club, a group that partners volunteer students with special needs students throughout the year and several special projects.

Renae Wallace, Coordinator of Adaptive Physical Education with the School System, is director of the Special Olympics track meet, and she said it was an awesome, awesome event. Fontainebleau Principal Johnny Vitrano and many FHS students were on hand for the opening ceremonies to fill the viewing stands and give encouragement to the participants as they paraded onto the field. Superintendent Folse and Ms. Wallace both thanked Principal Vitrano and his student body for helping make the event an outstanding success.

 



03/14/2012

Substitute Employee Appreciation Day Today


Today, March 14, is “Substitute Appreciation Day,” which spotlights the contributions made by substitute personnel throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

Schools will be holding a variety of activities to thank their substitute employees for their efforts toward maintaining continuity of instruction and a safe, positive environment in the School System.

The School Board proclaimed March 14 as “Substitute Appreciation Day” last week when it passed a resolution following a presentation by Mrs. Dorable Dangerfield, Supervisor of Human Resources. She told the Board how schools are planning special activities in observance of the day. In the resolution offered by Board Member Mary K. Bellisario, it noted that the substitute program is comprised of professionals dedicated to the education, well-being and safety of all students. They include teachers and paraprofessionals to custodians, clerical workers, lunchroom technicians, cafeteria monitors, bus operators, and bus aides.

“Substitutes play an important role in our schools, providing classroom instruction, school and office support, and help with transportation, all of which is vital when classroom teachers and support personnel are away from school sites,” the resolution stated.

Each school has also been asked to submit a nominee for “Substitute of the Year” to recognize outstanding substitutes for their service and positive impact on our schools.

 




03/14/2012

Covington High Senior Earns Praise in Dramatic Readings


Maria Hefte, a senior at Covington High School, continues to make her mark in dramatic poetry readings. Fine Arts Supervisor Margaret Sharpe introduced her at the March 8 School Board meeting in Covington, saying that the extremely talented young lady has taken the lead roles in numerous theatrical productions at her school and as well as participated in several national poetry competitions.

Last month, Ms. Hefte won top state level honors at Tulane University for the National Shakespeare Competition. She will be traveling to Lincoln Center in New York City on April 23 to take part in the national finals of that program. She will be competing against 60 other state winners from across the nation for a chance to win the Grand Prize of a week-long study at the British Academy of Dramatic Arts.

“This is the second time in four years that a Covington High student has reached the national competition level,” Ms. Sharpe stated.

Ms. Hefte also recently placed first in the St. Tammany Parish level of the Poetry Out Loud recitation competition. Next week, she will be competing at the state level along with the parish second place winner Nicholas Houston of Northshore High School and third place winner Mona Nasrawi of Covington High. “Maria won the state Poetry Out Loud competition two years ago and will now be vying again for a chance to attend the National Competition in Washington, D.C., in May, where a Grand Prize of $20,000 goes to the national winner.

Ms. Hefte then performed the poem “Possible Answers to Prayer” for the School Board members. Earlier in the evening, at a Talented Arts Program program, she gave a dramatic presentation of lines spoken by Mercutio in the Shakespeare play “Romeo and Juliet.”

 



03/09/2012

Salmen High Championship Hopes Dashed, 56 to 39


The Salmen High School girls basketball team played for the Class AAAA State Championship in Ruston against St. Thomas More of Lafayette Friday afternoon. The final score was St. Thomas More 56, Salmen High 39.



03/09/2012

Turn Clocks Forward One Hour Sunday


Teachers, parents, and students are reminded that Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 11. Clocks should be adjusted forward one hour, with the official change happening at 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

The beginning of Daylight Savings Time results 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.

Daylight Savings Time will end this year on Sunday, November 4.

 



03/09/2012

National Merit Finalists Recognized by School Board


Nine high school students from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System were honored by the School Board Thursday night for having been selected as Finalists in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III introduced each one and congratulated them and their parents on the achievement.

They are Slidell High student Sean Smith, Pearl River High student Hannah Clayton, Mandeville High students Nushrah Malik and Matthew Ducote, Fontainebleau High students Kayleigh Voss, Arden Wells and Thomas Beckstrom, and Northshore High students Jenna Losh and Gaia Burrage.

Superintendent Folse told the Board one and a half million students take the initial National Merit tests each year, with only 50,000 moving on to the “commended student” level. Only one third of those are named as “semi-finalists,” and only 8,400 of those reach the “Finalist” designation and receive scholarship awards.

The superintendent detailed each student's academic accomplishments and future college plans. The National Merit Scholarship program began in 1955 to recognize students across the nation who excel in academics, offering them scholarship awards from a wide variety of corporate sponsors.




03/09/2012

Check for $30,000 Presented to Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund


At Thursday night’s School Board meeting, a check for $30,000 was presented by Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, to representatives of the Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund. The donation came from the proceeds from a February 29 fund-raising event held throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

Thousands of students and employees took part in the project, each paying a dollar to wear the jersey of their favorite team or player. The money will be used to finish placing Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) in every school in the parish.

An AED is a medical device that helps restore a normal heartbeat when someone is experiencing “sudden cardiac arrest.” The School Board started a campaign in February of 2009 to provide AED units to all schools, first in high school Athletic Departments and now at every grade level.

Jeremy Hebert was a 12-year-old student at Pine View Middle School who died last year after struggling for years with heart disease. Since the School Board began the AED project in February of 2009, AED’s have been installed at all high schools and many junior high and middle schools, thanks to donations from community service groups and the Chad Barcia Athlete Awareness Foundation.



03/07/2012

Summer Video Institute To Train Broadcasting Students


More than a dozen high school students from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System will give up a week of summer to fine-tune their video production skills during the intensive Summer Video Institute held by the School System’s Channel 13 educational television staff. They will learn enhanced video techniques from shooting raw footage and standup commentary in the field to final editing procedures in the studio.

The event is scheduled for the week of July 9 through July 13, and applications will be available soon on the Channel 13 website. The webpage address is www.stpsb.org/video.

The annual summer video program brings together outstanding broadcast journalism students from throughout St. Tammany to work hand-in-hand with the experienced staff members of Channel 13. They are divided into groups of three to four students and create a video documentary from beginning to end. The institute includes instruction on how to best tell a story employing camera work, lighting, writing, and music and photo overlays.

A video festival showcasing the finished documentaries is held on the final day of the institute to premiere the student-produced films to family, friends, and Central Office administrators.

Dr. Melody Swang, Director of Broadcasting for the School System, said, “While the students come to us with some valuable experience from their own school broadcasting programs, we offer a week working alongside seasoned professionals in every aspect of the video production process.

Many of the students who have taken the Summer Video Institute program over the past eight years have gone on to major in broadcast journalism in college and have landed jobs in the television and film industry.



03/05/2012

Fontainebleau Jazz Ensemble Earns Top State Award for Third Year


The Fontainebleau High School Jazz Ensemble One won First Place and was recently named Louisiana State Champion for their superior performance at the 2012 Louisiana Association of Jazz Educators State Jazz Festival that was held Saturday, March 3, at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.

This is the third consecutive time the Fontainebleau Jazz Ensemble has won the award. Ralph Lee Hicks, Jr. is Director of Bands at Fontainebleau High School, and his group has entertained at School Board receptions several times as well as in concerts throughout the community.

Individual musicians recognized for being the most outstanding Soloists were Blake Johnson - Outstanding Trumpet Soloist; Matt Sutton - Outstanding Trombone Soloist; Bryan Cass - Outstanding Piano Soloist; Reid Nuss - Outstanding Guitar Soloist; Taylor Mroski - Outstanding Bass Soloist; and Eric Brown - Outstanding Drums Soloist.

The Fontainebleau High trombone section was also named Outstanding Trombone Section.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, said, “Winning titles such as this and being invited to participate in regional and national music events presents the Jazz Ensemble with excellent opportunities to showcase their school and represent the School System on a much larger stage. We are proud of these young musicians and know their efforts will continue to reward them in the future.”

Band Director Hicks stated, “We are always proud to represent Fontainebleau High School and St. Tammany Parish Public Schools at this state event. It is an honor to bring home state championship honors; there are so many great high school band programs in Louisiana. This is the third consecutive trip for us to come back with this recognition at the LAJE State Festival.”

He added that winning, however, is not the group’s ultimate goal. “Performing well, having fun while performing, and engaging an audience are the most exciting parts of what we do. At Fontainebleau High School, year after year, we are blessed with incredible young men and women who strive to be the best they can be academically, musically, and in athletics,” he explained. “Our individual musicians receive much-deserved special recognition for their talents and showmanship on a regular basis. This year our Jazz Ensemble One is filled with some incredible young musicians.”

The ensemble has won awards and has been invited to play at numerous state , regional, and national music competitions over the past several years. Honored not only by the Louisiana Association of Jazz Educators, the group has also traveled to take part in The Midwest Clinic, an international Band and Orchestra Conference held in Chicago in December of 2012. It placed fourth in the Swing Central National Jazz Band Workshop and Competition in Savannah, Georgia, in 2008.

Hicks went on to say that it’s a great honor to make a contribution to the legacy of jazz in the New Orleans area by teaching these young musicians the only art form created in America. “I have the pleasure of working with a group of students who truly enjoy performing jazz music. It's the best job in the world. Everyday my job revolves around the thing I love most, music. Who wouldn't enjoy that?"

The Fontainebleau High School Jazz Ensemble One performs regularly at local cultural events, school concerts, and jazz festivals, and plays and studies with professional jazz artists. In November of 2010, Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere gave special recognition to the group with a proclamation congratulating them on their many community activities and invitations to top music competitions.

 



03/05/2012

HERO Award for March Goes To Salmen Student


The first HERO Award presented by Sophisticated Woman Magazine and Charter Communications was given last year to a Salmen High student, and the award returns to Salmen this March as student Lewis Jones is honored for his many voluntary contributions to the community.

The HERO Award stands for “Helping Eagerly and Reaching Out" and it recognizes young leaders in St. Tammany Parish high schools for their outstanding accomplishments and community service efforts.

Jones was nominated by Speech, Language and Hearing Specialist Denise Venturella for his humanitarian activities, involvement in community service clubs, and leadership capabilities.

A senior who will graduate in May, Jones plans to attend UNO and study geochemistry. He recently won Elks Lodge scholarships at both the local and state level, one of only two students to win at the state level. Both were Salmen High students.

In her nomination letter, Ms. Venturella said that Jones is an exceptional student who has earned a 4.4 GPA throughout the last 3.5 years. “Lewis has been involved in numerous clubs and has held many offices,” she said. “Through his leadership, the clubs have achieved much and helped our community greatly.”

One of the clubs, Mu Alpha Theta, requires its members to tutor other students, but Jones went even beyond the required tutoring because he believes people should help others. “I help friends, cousins--anyone who asks me for help, I help them," he explains. “I definitely enjoy helping others, it makes me feel good.”

He has won many awards for academic excellence especially in the areas of math and science. These awards include the Rotary Youth Leadership Award which includes a four-day leadership conference.

He feels that, as a geochemist, he will be able to help the world by working on preventing pollution rather than cleaning it up after it has already negatively affected the environment. Finding a new more efficient form of energy is also one of his dreams. Regardless, he plans to continue helping people as much as he can no matter where his career takes him.

He has accomplished much in spite of having suffered hearing loss at the age of three, which requires him to wear a hearing aide in his left ear. The hearing impairment has not prevented him from earning the 4.4 GPA, however, Ms. Venturella said.

She recalled that when he first arrived at Salmen, he met with her as a freshman in his first week of school and asked several questions about how to maximize his education. “This speaks volumes about Lewis' character, tenacity, drive and his superior potential in college,” she wrote in her nomination.

 



03/01/2012

Jerseys for Jeremy to Provide More AEDs


Thousands of students and employees throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System took part in a fund-raising event Wednesday to help the Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund provide more Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) devices to schools.

An AED is a medical device that helps restore a normal heartbeat when someone is experiencing “sudden cardiac arrest.” The School Board started a campaign in February of 2009 to provide AED units to all schools, first in high school Athletic Departments and now at every grade level.

“Jerseys for Jeremy” Day gave students and employees the opportunity to donate a dollar to the Fund so they could wear their favorite jerseys to school for the day. Jerseys from almost every sport and team turned out for the occasion, with special programs held drawing attentionto the need for the AED’s and how they save lives.

At Cypress Cove Elementary in Slidell, the Slidell Evening Lions Club presented a $1500 check to Ann Hebert with the Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund. She is the mother of Jeremy Hebert, the 12-year-old student at Pine View Middle School who died after a long struggle with heart disease.

On hand for the presentation was School System Parish Athletic Director Larry Favre who has coordinated the acquisition and placement of the units.

Last month the Chad Barcia Athlete Awareness Foundation donated 11 AED’s to the School System for installation at a number of elementary, middle and junior high schools. At the February School Board meeting, Ms. Hebert told the Board, “I want to thank you for the recognition you have given to us and our efforts. Each year in the United States, we lose 350,000 people to sudden cardiac arrest, and thousands of those are children. People don’t think of children when they hear those numbers. A high school student collapses with sudden cardiac arrest every three days.”

“It’s wonderful that the School System is making the placement of AED’s in the schools a top priority,” she said. “Our children, their parents, anyone who walks through the doors of your schools will benefit in case something goes wrong. I hope that you never have to take them out of their cases, but they have already saved lives here in St. Tammany.”

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, spearheaded the effort that led to the School Board's adoption of the AED policy in February of 2009, and he thanked the organizations for their donations and outstanding efforts to provide the schools with these life-saving devices. “Thank you for your contribution to our School System and what this will mean to each and every one of our 37,000 students for years to come,” he said.

Over the past two years, community service organizations have donated AED’s to several schools. Helping to train School System employees in the proper use of the life-saving units, officials with Fire Protection District No. 4 gave more than 280 School System employees instructions on how to use the automated external defibrillators.

To view photos of students and faculty with their jerseys, click here.




02/28/2012

Board Actions Save Taxpayers $3.2 Million in Interest Payments


The St. Tammany Parish School Board took action on two money-saving measures in the past month related to the 2002 Series General Obligation bonds.

First, the board passed a resolution to redeem a portion of the remaining balance of these bonds in the amount of $8,345,000. Surplus sinking fund cash reserves will be used for this redemption.

Second, the board will refinance the remaining portion of the Series 2002 bonds at a much lower interest rate. Both transactions are scheduled to take place April 2.

Interest rates for the refinancing were announced at a special board meeting on Tuesday. The low bid of 1.33 percent submitted by Jonesboro State Bank was accepted. The remaining $9.3 million of 2002 Series bonds will be refunded at this interest rate. Those bonds were due to mature from 2013 to 2016 at interest rates up to 4.6 percent. Tuesday’s action and the previous bond redemption decision will result in a net savings to taxpayers of $3.2 million in interest payments.

Interest rate quotes were received from six banks, and they were all under two percent, said Grant Schlueter, Bonding Attorney. Mr. Schlueter also stated that the redemption and refinancing of the 2002 Series bonds will also save a significant amount of money in fees and service charges.

 



02/28/2012

Spring Registration Dates Set for Kindergarten, First Grade


Spring registration for the 2012-2013 School Year will begin on Monday, April 23, 2012, for students entering kindergarten and first grade for the first time in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

Registration for the 2012-2013 pre-kindergarten classes will be held at a later date. The announcement of specific registration dates and times for each school are listed later in this article.

Any child born before October 1, 2006, will be eligible for the first grade, and any child born before October 1, 2007, will be eligible for kindergarten.

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 kindergarten and first grade students entering the St. Tammany Parish public schools for the first time will be held at the school the student will attend. Students who attended and completed a public school kindergarten during the 2011-2012 school year will not be required to register again for the first grade.

Each school will have a specific registration date and time as indicated in the following list. Hours of registration will be 9:00 a.m. until noon at the following locations.

Registration Schedule

Monday, April 23, 2012:
Chahta-Ima Elementary
Cypress Cove Elementary
Fifth Ward Junior High
Folsom Elementary
Lee Road Junior High
Lyon Elementary
Marigny Elementary
Whispering Forest Elementary
Woodlake Elementary

Tuesday, April 24, 2012:
Bonne Ecole Elementary
Brock Elementary
Florida Avenue Elementary
Little Pearl Elementary
Madisonville Elementary
Mayfield Elementary

Wednesday, April 25, 2012:
Abita Springs Elementary
Abney Early Childhood
Abney Elementary
Alton Elementary
Bayou Woods Elementary
Covington Elementary
Mandeville Elementary
Pontchartrain Elementary
Riverside Elementary
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 the Title 1 four-year-old program and 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 o 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. All documents must be the most current available and dated within the past 30 days. Documents that are suspect or inconclusive may be disallowed and additional documentation may be required.

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 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’s 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.




02/27/2012

New Mayfield Elementary and Renovated Alton Elementary Welcome Students


Monday, February 27, marked the first day back at school after the Mardi Gras Holiday for students across St. Tammany Parish, highlighted by the opening of Henry L. Mayfield Elementary School and students of Alton Elementary School returning to their newly renovated campus.

Eager students, faculty and staff arrived at the brand new Mayfield Elementary in Slidell and made their way down the colorful hallways for their first morning meeting together in the gym, the beginning to their first day on the campus.

“The first day in a new school is always exciting,” said Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III during his visit to the school. “The administration, faculty and staff have worked hard to help students with the transition to the new school. We’re pleased with all this school has to offer, and we think it is something the Mayfield Elementary community can be proud of.”

Mayfield Elementary, named for Henry L. Mayfield, began the school year operating from the campuses of Bayou Woods Elementary and Carolyn Park Middle School in anticipation of the new facility opening mid- school year. The school contains 588 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

Faculty and staff, custodians and School System officials spent the Mardi Gras Holiday moving into the new school building and campus on Hwy. 190 between Lacombe and Slidell. A meet and greet was held February 25 for parents and students to tour the new campus.

“As we look forward to this new beginning, it is essential that we all work together as a team to ensure a smooth transition for our children so that they continue to be successful in the classroom,” Principal LeBlanc stated. “We are eager to work together to create a safe, warm learning environment for our students, and a place where parents always feel welcome.”

February 27 was also the first day students of Alton Elementary, in Slidell, to hold classes in their newly renovated facilities. The school’s 219 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade have attended class in modular buildings since August of 2012 while the entire school campus was renovated from top to bottom and additions were made to the administration areas, library and cafeteria. A bus canopy was also added to the front of the school.

The renovations and additions, funded by a QSCB (Qualified School Construction Bond) loan as part of the American recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, bring the school orginially built in 1957 up to current code requirements and provide the students and faculty and staff of Alton Elementary a modern and productive learning environment.

 



02/23/2012

ProStart Program Gives Students Career Boost


High school students across St. Tammany Parish are gaining valuable knowledge and experience for careers in the restaurant and hospitality industries through a program called “ProStart,” a career/technical curriculum developed by the National Restaurant Association and taught in several high schools in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

Angie Drago, a Family and Consumer Science teacher at Fontainebleau High, presented a detailed report on the program at the School Board meeting February 16, complete with the serving of King Cake prepared by her students in the program. ProStart is a nationwide one or two-year program that connects the classroom to the restaurant industry and has proven to be an effective career development opportunity for young people with a hospitality industry career in their sights.

Ms. Drago recently won the 2012 Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s “ProStart Educator of the Year” Award. Fontainebleau High’s ProStart instructor since 2004, she was bestowed the honor during a special, surprise ceremony at the school, February 3, 2012.

At the Board meeting, she introduced two of her students, Graham Roth and Jonathan Guidroz, and answered Board members questions about the highly-successful training program. She thanked the Board for its support of ProStart in the schools, noting how its curriculum touched upon a number of areas, including marketing, cost control, accounting, nutrition, lodging, tourism, retail, sustainability, and customer service.

“It is a comprehensive restaurant management curriculum, involving much more than one would think,” she stated. Students coming into her ProStart class are sometimes surprised to see how much math is involved, she said, but they enjoy applying their math skills in real-world applications. “They see it not only on paper, but they are living it in the kitchen,” she said. Key skills taught in the course include safety and sanitation practices, knife skills, menu development, costing and restaurant management.

Through hands-on events such as community service and program fundraising projects, the participants learn much about managing projects in real-time, everything from product development to production and sales. She has taken her 30 students on field trips to area restaurants, brought in guest speakers from famous chefs to Restaurant Association experts, and the group mans a booth in the annual Chef Soiree event in Covington. “We continue to develop partnerships with our area restaurants,” Ms. Drago explained.

In addition, the ProStart program offers a wide range of opportunities for those students who wish to further their skills, from paid internships and scholarships to competitions and Industry Certifications that look good on job applications. Many ProStart students take advantage of the Dual enrollment/Articulated credit offerings in their schools, as well as engage in community service projects such as the Three Rivers Art Festival. There are many networking opportunities also with area restaurant owners, such as the recent showcasing of student talent at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

The program works closely with the Northshore Technical Community College and its culinary arts program, Ms. Drago stated.

Ms. Drago noted that the state of Louisiana has 17,000 food and beverage establishments, making it the largest retail segment, and a source of many job opportunities for young people, even those who are not planning on a career in the field.

Area high school ProStart students are looking forward to the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) holding its 11th Annual Louisiana ProStart Student Competition, Tuesday and Wednesday, February 28 and 29, at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. A total of $675,000 in scholarship opportunities will be awarded to students whose teams place in the top three in both the culinary and management competitions. School Board members were told of the extensive preparations ProStart students are making to take part in the competition.

The LRAEF competition showcases the culinary and academic talents of high school junior and senior ProStart students from 23 schools across Louisiana, spotlighting two primary components, the Culinary Competition and the Management Competition. During the Culinary Competition on Tuesday morning, teams will demonstrate their creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course, gourmet meal. More than 40 judges from the foodservice industry, the Department of Health and Hospitals and post-secondary educational institutions will observe and rate their performance during the competition.

Taking part in the Management Competition will be ProStart students from Fontainebleau High, Lakeshore High, Salmen High and Slidell High, as well as seven other schools across the state. Taking part in the Culinary Competition will be Fontainebleau High, Lakeshore High, Mandeville High, Salmen High, Slidell High, as well as 18 other schools from throughout the state.

The winning teams will go on to represent Louisiana at the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore, MD, April 27 through April 29.

 



02/22/2012

New National Board Certified Teachers Announced


Several teachers with the St. Tammany Parish Public School System were introduced to the School Board at its February meeting as being the latest educators to earn National Board Certification in their respective areas of specialty.

Honorees were Elizabeth Cleveland, Alicia Motichek Himber, Tiffany Jourdan, Danette Moore, and Nicole Roberts.

Human Resources Supervisor Brandon Clanton introduced the group first at a special reception held for them prior to the Board meeting. “Achieving National Board Certification is a testament to their personal and professional dedication and drive for self-improvement,” he said.

Ms. Cleveland, now in her seventh year of teaching, currently serves as an art teacher at Mandeville Elementary and Lee Road Junior High. She has also taught at Florida Avenue Elementary and Abney Elementary. Her area of National Board Certification is Early and Middle Childhood Art.

Ms. Himber has seven years of teaching experience also, having served at Fontainebleau High, Pearl River High, and Lakeshore High. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Environmental Studies and a Masters in Teaching, serves on her school’s Design Team, and found time to choreograph two high school musical productions. Her area of National Board Certification is Science For Adolescence and Young Adulthood.

Ms. Jourdan graduated from Covington High in 1999, earned a degree in Elementary Education at Southeastern Louisiana University, and for seven years taught fourth grade at Madisonville Junior High. She now teaches fourth grade at Lancaster Elementary, and has a National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist.

Ms. Moore has been teaching five years, first in Baton Rouge, then at Honey Island Elementary in Slidell. She is now teaching gifted English, speech and broadcasting at Pearl River High School. A published poet and writer for various literary and professional journals, she has won the John Hazard Wildman Prize in playwriting. Her area of National Board Certification is in Adolescent/Young Adult English Language Arts.

Ms. Roberts graduated from Mandeville High School in 1994, earned her degree in Elementary Education, with a Masters Degree in Education, as well as an educational specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Gifted Education Certification. She taught for 12 years in Baton Rouge before coming to St. Tammany. She currently teaches a third and fourth grade combination gifted class at Lancaster Elementary. Her area of National Board Certification is Middle Childhood Generalist.

The purpose of the National Board Certification process is to establish high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do and to reward excellence in teaching.

The national certification process is voluntary and involves a rigorous performance-based assessment that takes from one to three years to complete. As part of the process, teachers build a portfolio that includes student work samples, assignments, videotapes, and a thorough analysis of their classroom teaching.

 



02/22/2012

Mayfield Elementary Campus To Welcome Students Home


Students of Henry L. Mayfield Elementary School will be moving onto their new campus on Monday, February 27, the first day after the Mardi Gras break.

To make the transition to the new campus as seamless as possible, Mayfield students since August have been following their own Mayfield School bell and bus schedule within Bayou Woods Elementary and Carolyn Park Middle partner schools. These schedules will remain the same as they move to the new campus.

The new building and campus on U. S. 190 between Lacombe and Slidell was approved by the School Board earlier this month, and School System officials have been busy ensuring all the furniture, computers, and educational materials are ready for the influx of 588 students.

“Our current start time of 8:55 a.m. and dismissal time of 3:55 p.m. will remain the same,” said Principal LeBlanc. “Our contact numbers will remain the same (985.643.5693 and 985.643.5719), and on the first day of classes in the new school, all faculty and staff members will be on duty to assist students to either breakfast in the cafeteria or to the gym for our first morning meeting, which will be held after the bell rings.

For students riding the bus, the schedules and pick-up and drop-off locations will remain the same. Car line times will remain the same; however, parents will need to go to the new school which is located at 31820 Highway 190. Cars will enter from Highway 190 and take the second road to the right, following signs to point drivers in the proper direction. There will also be traffic officers on site to help parents with the new changes.

“As we look forward to this new beginning, it is essential that we all work together as a team to ensure a smooth transition for our children so that they continue to be successful in the classroom,” Principal LeBlanc stated. “Being in a new building will bring challenges, but the administration, faculty and staff are ready to hit the ground running. We are eager to work together to create a safe, warm learning environment for our students, and parents always feel welcome.”

The campus lies north of Tammany Trace about three miles west of the Northshore Mall, and a new turning lane will facilitate traffic into and out of the facility. The school includes 41 classrooms, a covered bus drop-off site, special education classrooms and music rooms. The 87,000-square-foot facility is located on a 71 acre site and is scheduled to serve Pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade. This year only Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade will be located there, however.

The $18.9 million school started construction in August of 2009, with ground breaking ceremonies attended by members of the Mayfield family on September 28, 2009. A ribbon cutting will be held before the end of the School Year.

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.

Mr. Mayfield also taught at Tulane University for more than ten years. He was known as a “behind the scenes” leader whose expertise, dedication, and broad range of work helped make the St. Tammany System a leading school system.

 



02/21/2012

Public Schools Closed for Mardi Gras Holidays


St. Tammany Parish Public Schools are closed through Friday, February 24, for the 2012 Mardi Gras Holidays. Classes resume on Monday, February 27.

St. Tammany Parish School Board support offices were closed Monday and Tuesday, February 20 and 21, and reopened on Wednesday, February 22.

 



02/21/2012

FFA Week Observed This Week


Bryan Haley, a senior at Covington High School, spoke to the St. Tammany Parish School Board at its recent meeting about Future Farmers of America (FFA) Week, being observed this year February 18 through February 24. Haley is Parliamentarian for the Louisiana FFA organization, and he was accompanied by other state FFA officers.

The week is traditionally held the week of Washington’s birthday, and this year fell on the same dates as the Mardi Gras Holidays, he said. It began in 1947 and its purpose is to help bring awareness to the activities of the FFA Chapters in the community, from fund-raising projects to livestock show participation.

He thanked the School Board for its support of the several schools in St. Tammany Parish who have FFA Chapters and Agriscience curriculums. They include Covington High School, Pearl River High School, Northshore High School, Lakeshore High School, Fontainebleau High School, Fontainebleau Junior High School, Lee Road Junior High School, Fifth Ward Junior High School, Folsom Junior High and Monteleone Junior High School.

The National FFA Organization encourages all agricultural education students to explore careers in Agriscience. Founded in 1928, the group’s mission is to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population by viewing agriculture as not just planting and harvesting, and also seeing it as a science, a business and an art.

 



02/15/2012

Soccer Playoffs Wrap Up


Soccer playoffs for St. Tammany Parish Public High Schools came to an end Friday night as the Lakeshore High School girls soccer team lost 6 to 2 in the Division II state semi-finals against Vandebilt Catholic.

The Mandeville High School girls soccer semi-final playoff game against Mount Carmel took place at Mandeville Thursday night, with a final score of Mt. Carmel 2 and Mandeville High 1. In Monday night's third round soccer playoffs, Mandeville High's girls soccer team defeated Lafayette High with a final score of Mandeville 2 and Lafayette 1.



02/15/2012

Bonne Ecole Elementary Holds Book Fair with Celebrity Readers


Getting reading for a summer of reading adventure, first grade students at Bonne Ecole Elementary School in Slidell are taking part in the “Twelve Books Book Fair,” with special visits by a host of celebrity readers from the community.

Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith read to the students in two classes February 8th, State Senator A. G. Crowe visited the school on February 9th as that day’s “Celebrity Reader,” and Supervisor Scottie Kuhlman, one time principal of Bonne Ecole Elementary, was the February 13th special visitor. Slidell Police Captain Kevin O’Neill is the Celebrity Reader for Wednesday, February 15th.

The Twelve Books Book Fair gives first grade students the opportunity to select 12 books they would like to read during the coming summer months. This is being done to improve reading skills and lessen academic losses during the two month break. Each Celebrity Reader selects one of the books available to the first grade students to get them off to a good start.

Parent volunteers and members of the Slidell High School Teaching Academy, led by Ms. Donna Manette, help the students choose their books during the book fair. The entire program is being coordinated by parent volunteer Jenny Helber. She wrote a grant and solicited donations from the Slidell community to be able to purchase the books. Among the groups contributing to the project were Target, Exxon, Bonne Ecole’s PTA Chapter, the Slidell Women’s Civic Club, and Slidell Lionesses.

 



02/14/2012

MathCounts Team from Boyet Jr. High Wins Denson Cup


Mathematics students from Boyet Junior High and Little Oak Middle schools in Slidell won several awards at the MathCounts competition held recently at the University of New Orleans. The Boyet team won the Denson Cup, awarded each year to the first-place team at the New Orleans chapter competition, as well as an opportunity to take part in the state competition in Pineville on March 23.

Ben Rowley and Mason Calico of Boyet and Anna Yue of Little Oak placed in the top ten individuals, qualifying them to compete in the countdown round, a lightning elimination round conducted live before the assembled students parents, and sponsors. Rowley took the third-place trophy in the countdown round.

MathCounts is a national middle school mathematics competition, in which students work individually and on four-member teams to solve challenging written problems including geometry, number theory, combinatorics, and algebra, all leading to a national competition in May. The New Orleans competition at UNO brought together students from 18 metro-area private and public schools.

Boyet was represented by team members Mason Calico, Ben Rowley, Katherine Simmers, and Jack Wei, and alternates Ryan Blanchard, Preston Fong, Elizabeth Hebert, and Yohane Ngodock. Little Oak was represented by team members Matthew Bratton, Derek Guo, Nathan Ngo, and Anna Yue, and alternates Cort Blackwell and A.J. Mahnke.

The teams were selected in a school-level competition from a group of junior high and sixth grade students who have devoted two hours a week before and after school since September to improve their math skills.

The Boyet and Little Oak MathCounts students had earlier participated in the American Mathematics Contest (AMC) 8 in November. The AMC 8 is designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem solving skills, with a written examination so students can apply concepts taught at the junior high level to problems that cover a wide range of applications.

The AMC 8 is offered nationally for students up to 8th grade, and Boyet’s Ben Rowley and Little Oak’s Anna Yue won the Honor Roll distinction for placing in the top five percent of competitors nationally. Yue also placed on the Achievement Roll for high-achieving students up to 6th grade.

Boyet Junior High gifted math teacher Patricia Coy coaches the Boyet team, and Sherryle Mathis of Boyet coaches the Little Oak students. They were assisted this year by volunteers David Fabre and Rodney Busby, and by Northshore High School students Aretha Guo and former Louisiana national team member Joshua Xu.

MathCounts in Louisiana is sponsored by the Louisiana Society of Engineers, with national sponsors including the National Society of Professional Engineers, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the DOD National Defense Education Program, and major corporations.

The four Boyet students are now preparing for the state competition, which will be more challenging.

All sixth to eighth grade students are being encouraged to become involved in MathCounts clubs and/or team programs that promote math skills. According to many parents, students experience notable improvement with the hour or two a week they spend at MathCounts meetings. The clubs are successful due to their low stress environment, fun approach to honing math skills, and the efforts to keep math interesting and challenging.

 



02/13/2012

Group Donates 11 Defibrillators To School System


The Chad Barcia Athlete Awareness Foundation donated 11 Automatic External Defibrillators (AED’s) to the St. Tammany Parish Public School System Thursday night, February 9.

An AED is a medical device that helps restore a normal heartbeat when someone is experiencing “sudden cardiac arrest.” The schools to receive the AED’s and their custom storage cabinets will be Abita Springs Elementary, Clearwood Jr. High, Fifth Ward Jr. High, Folsom Elementary, Folsom Jr. High, Lee Road Jr. High, Madisonville Jr. High, St. Tammany Jr. High, Slidell Jr. High, Lancaster Elementary, and Sixth Ward Elementary.

A. J. and Nancy Barcia with the Chad Barcia Athlete Awareness Foundation were introduced to the School Board by Parish Athletic Director Larry Favre. Chad Barcia was an outstanding young athlete at DeLaSalle High in New Orleans who suffered a fatal heart attack while playing rugby in 2005. His parents established the Chad Barcia Athlete Awareness Foundation with the goal of helping other families avoid such tragedies, Favre said, explaining that the group’s mission is to place AED’s in schools so they are better prepared for cardiac incidents. The foundation also encourages more thorough health screening of young high school athletes and the availability of enhanced safety equipment.

Favre recalled that as a coach several years ago, he participated in the more detailed heart screenings of his players at Fontainebleau High School as a result of the Barcia’s efforts.

Last year, a student at Pine View Middle School, Jeremy Hebert, died after a long struggle with heart disease. His parents, Marius and Ann Hebert, were also present for the School Board meeting, and they have created a fund to help place AED’s in more schools. Sharing the same goals as the Chad Barcia Foundation, the Heberts established the Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund, as a living memorial to their son. The Heberts have the goal of acquiring AED’s for all remaining schools and support facilities, Favre said.

A special event, Jerseys for Jeremy, will take place in St. Tammany public schools on Wednesday, February 29, to help raise funds for that goal.

Ann Hebert expressed appreciation to the Barcias for their donation of 11 AED’s, which she valued at close to $17,000. “They stepped up and helped us through this difficult time and gave us the vision to create the Jeremy Hebert Defibrillator Fund,” she said. She also thanked Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, and Favre for their continued efforts in the AED project.

Mrs. Barcia said the tragic loss of her son made her and her husband do what they could to prevent other families from going through what they went through. Over the years, their foundation has donated 61 defibrillators throughout the state, she explained, with a golf tournament being the main source of fund-raising efforts.

Last year, they reached out to the Heberts when hearing of their loss, and the latest donation became a reality. “I want to thank the School Board for the recognition you have given to us and our efforts,” she said. “Each year in the United States, we lose 350,000 people to sudden cardiac arrest, and thousands of those are children. People don’t think of children when they hear those numbers. A high school student collapses with sudden cardiac arrest every three days.”

“It’s wonderful that the School System is making the placement of AED’s in the schools a top priority,” she went on to say. “Our children, their parents, anyone who walks through the doors of your schools will benefit in case something goes wrong. I hope that you never have to take them out of their cases, but they have already saved lives here in St. Tammny. Statistics show that with an AED on site, the chances of surviving go from five percent to from 50 to 70 percent. I commend you for doing what you are doing.”

Superintendent Folse thanked the Barcias and Heberts for their donations and outstanding efforts to provide the schools with these life-saving devices. “Thank you for your contribution to our School System and what this will mean to each and every one of our 37,000 students for years to come,” he said.

The School Board approved a policy at its February, 2009, meeting that began distribution of cardiac defibrillator devices throughout the School System, beginning at the high school level particularly in the area of sports activities. The matter had been studied by a special committee for several months. The committee recommended to the Board the purchase and placement of the Automated External Defibrillators, giving personnel on site a proven life-saving tool. Prior to the vote to adopt the policy, 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.
In April of 2009, the Kiwanis Club donated an AED to Covington High School, and in October of last year, the Kiwanis donated an additional three automated external defibrillators for Covington Elementary, Lyon Elementary, and Pitcher Junior High.

In September of 2009, officials with Fire Protection District No. 4 assisted in training more than 280 School System employees how to use the automated external defibrillators.

 



02/08/2012

Saints Player Lance Moore Holds Pep Rally At Madisonville Jr. High


As a reward for taking first place in the “Black and Gold” Milk Contest last October, Madisonville Junior High students enjoyed a special Saints Football Pep Rally February 8 with Wide Receiver Lance Moore and Gumbo, the team’s Mascot.

Approximately 700 students were involved, with the school’s Cheerleading Squad and Dance Team also taking part in the 45 minute event. Students took pictures, got autographs, and cheered.

Moore spoke with the students about the importance of eating healthy and getting enough exercise, and he answered questions about his football career and personal choices that led to his success.

The event included drawings for autographed items, with names drawn from boxes containing the names of all the students.

Principal Dwayne J. Kern welcomed Moore and officials with the Milk Drinking contest to the campus adorned with posters, banners, and even a specially made reserved parking sign for Moore’s vehicle. The school’s Eagle Mascot good-naturedly sparred with Gumbo, the Saints mascot, and they were favorites in the picture-taking.

Madisonville Junior High School won First Place in the Milk Contest with a 170 percent increase in milk consumption. The achievement earned the school a $5000 Cash Prize, a Vitamix XL Smoothie Blender, and the Pep Rally. The October “Black and Gold” milk contest was sponsored by Brown’s Dairy and the Southeast Area United Dairy Industry Association. Schools from throughout southeast Louisiana took part in the event.

 



02/06/2012

Hornets and Chevron Provide Incentives For Math Students


High school students making good grades in math now have something extra to look forward to, getting prizes and special recognition by the New Orleans Hornets basketball team and Chevron. The “Mathletes” Program spotlights those students who improve their math grades by at least one letter grade from one quarter to the next or by maintaining an “A” in both quarters.

Those attaining that goal for the first semester were given Hornets caps this past week. Hornets Honeybees visited eight St. Tammany high school campuses to help in the cap distribution, and Hugo, the Hornets mascot, was on hand for the cap distributions at Mandeville High, Salmen High, and Northshore High.

Later this semester, the Hornets/Chevron Mathletes Program will distribute Hornets T-Shirts to students continuing to excel academically in the Math curriculum. The program will culminate with the opportunity for all Mathletes to be recognized at a Hornets game and receive additional prizes.

The Mathletes Grand Prize Field Trip will include a ticket to a Hornets game complete with lunch, recognition and on-court participation during the game, and a Hornets backpack.

In addition to the Hornets incentive program for math grade improvements, Chevron is also offering the Mathletes Scholarship Program to area Mu Alpha Theta and Robotics Clubs. They are eligible to enter the scholarship contest in which club members will have to write a grant proposal indicating why their club should be awarded the scholarship funds and how it will benefit their club. The proposal will need to include an executive summary, statement of need, budget, organizational information, conclusion, and evaluation/outcomes section.

Winning clubs will be awarded the following scholarship prizes: 1st place, $2,000; 2nd place, $1,250; and 3rd place, $750.

The top three submissions will have the opportunity to present their grant proposal in front of a panel of judges and will be recognized at center court during half-time at a Hornets game.

 



02/06/2012

Ribbon Cut For New Lancaster Elementary Playground


A new playground area was dedicated at Lancaster Elementary School in Madisonville Friday, with several special guests on hand for the occasion. The playground project was a joint effort among several groups, and many parents, students, School System officials, and community representatives took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony, including Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, and Assistant Superintendents Cheryl Arabie and William Brady.

Principal Susannah Welch said the new playground provides a truly functional and attractive play area for students, one which challenges them both mentally and physically by offering different kinds of equipment for exercising specific muscle groups.

“We knew up front the School Board’s and community’s expectations and standards would be very high,” she said. “The playground had to meet the needs of all of our students at Lancaster, including our special ed population.”The new facility features wheelchair accessible sensory experiences as well as the standard climbing structures, merry-go-round, and rocking rides.

Principal Welch thanked Superintendent Folse for his encouragement and support of the planning and building of the unique playground, and she credited Eve Warner for the design of the project. “Our students absolutely love this out-of-this-world playground,” she said, “and they will benefit from it for years to come.”

Assistant Principal Andrea Himel explained the original idea behind the project, thanking the families and organizations which funded and guided the effort. They included Mrs. Leanne Cantrell, Gary and Shannon LaBorde, and Skip and Debbie Rinaldi. The Angels on Earth Foundation, represented by Kristy and Troy Bourgeois, helped raise funds for the playground and spotlighted the sensory needs of special education students. Cards 4 Kids, a group represented by Angie and Michael Delahoussaye, also helped with the funding.

Four students read their personal essays of what the new playground meant to them, expressing their excitement and enthusiasm for the new addition to their school.

 



02/03/2012

Tchefuncte Middle School Sports New Playground


A schoolwide collaborative effort among students, parents, and school administrators is bringing new life and versatility to the playground behind Tchefuncte Middle School in Mandeville.

The ribbon was cut for the newly-designed play areas January 31, with a number of dignitaries on hand for the occasion. The play area is sporting several new pieces of equipment, a covered pavilion, and specially marked off areas for specific sports.

The school’s PTA Chapter played a significant role in bringing it together, and PTA President Mrs. Michaelle Scelfo emceed the ribbon cutting event. She thanked the many parents, students, and community partners who made the new playground possible.

Principal Laura Norsworthy explained the four-year cooperative effort that went into re-furbishing, repainting, and re-structuring the playground, with students providing a lot of input, including new procedures that insure each student gets a fair opportunity to enjoy the different parts of the facility.

The students became involved in organizing the play equipment and produced a “playground manual” featuring rules to keep activities fair and engaging. The playground also now has better drainage and more grass to keep down dust, Ms. Norsworthy commented.

Last year, the efforts to purchase a new covered pavilion led to the discovery of a grant opportunity that would allow for the acquisition of a new climbing play structure as well. The grant deadline took place in the middle of the Thanksgiving holidays, so everyone had to work together very quickly to apply for the grant and successfully expand the playground options.

“We have a lot more to offer now, and the new playground is a tribute to everyone here who took part over the past four years,” Principal Norsworthy said. Several PTA fund-raising efforts, especially a Walk-A-Thon, played a key role in funding the new playground additions.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Arabie, Mayor Don Villere of Mandeville, and Elementary Supervisor Roxanne Lagarde were among those present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Mandeville High School Color Guard presented the Colors and, the program included a cheer by the TMS Pep Squad.

During the playground’s “premiere”, sisters Lauren and Lindsey Benson sang the Star Spangled Banner, and Student Government Association President Savanah Needham cut the ribbon.

Assistant Principal Tom Heier said the playground was re-designed so the students could have a variety of choices during recess. The available resources now include two football fields, a soccer field, basketball courts, three tetherball courts, a kickball area, baseball area, and the new climbing set. The work included painting fences and picnic tables. The re-design of the play areas was aided by people from other schools coming in to help mark the playing field line boundaries for soccer and football, Heier said.

“We’ve already gotten a ton of great feedback from the kids,” he stated. “Our student government talked it over and came up with different rules and procedures for each area, so the kids really have ownership of the new program,” he said. “The fourth grade has lunch first, so they are the ones who set up the equipment after lunch, the sixth grade inventories the equipment twice a week, and the fifth grade takes in all the equipment after recess.”

The new rules call for the lunchroom table that is the quietest to be dismissed for recess first, so those students have first choices on where and what to play.

 



02/02/2012

Parish Hosts Schlechty Center Regional Seminar


A two-day Schlechty Center Regional Seminar was hosted by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System January 26 and 27 at the David C. Treen Technology Center in Mandeville. The conference focused on “Designing for Engagement,” and attendees came from Louisiana and Texas.

Approximately 120 people attended from St. Tammany Parish, Rapides Parish, the Bridge City Independent School District and the Lewisville Independent School District, both in Texas. The seminar offered opportunities for teachers and administrators to collaborate and explore new learning and insights as presented in Phillip Schlechty’s latest book, Engaging Students.

Participants learned about the engagement-centered classroom experience, the characteristics of teachers as leaders, and the concept of engagement and how it relates to profound learning.

A panel discussion among several St. Tammany teacher-leaders focused on how to use engagement practices. The panel discussion was comprised of Suzanne Pichon of Bonne Ecole Elementary, Carrie Randolph of Fontainebleau High, Amy Willis of Slidell Junior High, Dana Hladky of Marigny Elementary, and Quay Brisco of Slidell High.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, presented the opening remarks at the event, the first Schlechty seminar to be hosted by the St. Tammany Public School System. “This is a big milestone for our parish and something we are really proud of,” he said. He noted the value of teamwork in these efforts, as well as handling challenging situations as they arise with expertise and planning.

Based in Louisville, KY, the Schlechty Center is a private, nonprofit organization committed to partnering with school leaders across the country to transform their classrooms, schools, and school districts from places focused on compliance to those focused on engagement. Schlechty Center speakers at the recent St. Tammany event included Senior Associates Bob Nolte, Vickie Phelps, and Larry Holt.

The parish became involved the Schlechty Center network several years ago by undertaking the group’s Standards Bearer program focusing on goals that help ensure all students are well-educated. Since then, several programs have been presented to St. Tammany teachers and administrators by the organization.



01/30/2012

Lakeshore High Student Receives HERO Award


Michael Pashkevick, a junior at Lakeshore High School, has been named the HERO Award winner for February, 2012. A recognition program conducted by Sophisticated Woman magazine and Charter Communications, the HERO Award stands for “Helping Eagerly and Reaching Out."

The award recognizes young leaders in St. Tammany Parish high schools for their outstanding accomplishments and community service efforts.

Pashkevick is serving as President of LHS Student Council for the 2011-2012 school year, and he is excited about the many community service projects the Student Council is involved in, particularly the creation and placement of spirit-boosting banners around the school. They are producing one banner a week.

He is also Secretary of National Honor Society and was a member of the Cross Country team during his freshman and sophomore years, earning the district runner-up title in his sophomore year. He also participated in track that year.

Regarding his future plans, he has a passion for both math and biology and would love to combine these interests. “I hope to become a biomedical engineer,” he says. "That’s an up and coming field, something that would be great to get involved with." Towards that end, he is looking at attending college either in Minnesota or the Northeast.

His accomplishments include being the Co-Planner of Freshman Orientation, working with the Samaritan Center in Mandeville, as well as serving as Lakeshore High Representative to District PTSA Conference. He has also volunteered at the St. Tammany Parish Humane Society, at the “Have a heart thru art” Mardi Paws Parade, and the First Elementary Fitness Track Meet. While a sophomore, he worked as a referee at Pelican Park.

He has spoken to third grade students at Chahta-Ima Elementary School on principles of Leadership, and he has worked with the St. Tammany Parish Middle School Special Olympics.

His motto is to "make a difference" and to help others make a difference. In his first year at Lakeshore, he saw that students had many opportunities to help themselves and others. “All they needed was a leader to show them the way,” he said. “Students really respond to a need. We really want to help out when we can.”

Learning how to delegate tasks and responsibilities has been very helpful to him as Student Council President. It’s a very difficult skill to develop, but it’s a great skill to have, he explained.

Lakeshore High being a new school meant the incoming sophomore and freshmen didn’t have seniors and juniors to look up to for guidance. They were putting together their own school traditions and working out projects and programs, establishing clubs and organizations, without upperclassman input. “The seniors have really come full circle now,” Pashkevick said, “they’re doing really well in setting examples for the incoming freshmen.”

 



01/27/2012

Lancaster Book Sheds Light On Early Parish Schools and Community


A new book rich with the history of St. Tammany Parish as seen through the eyes of the first Superintendent of Schools has been published, and the work sheds light on the day to day life, community activities, and early educational efforts by prominent families of the area.

The book, "Now and Always: A Louisiana Love Story," consists of letters written by Joseph Bradford Lancaster and his wife Amanda Doerr Lancaster between 1901 and 1916. It was compiled by one of the family’s descendants, Christian Garcia, who supplemented their letters with photographs depicting the era. The Lancasters served the community in many ways, and as a result they were key eyewitnesses to the area’s history.

Lancaster was superintendent of schools, a legislator, and a judge who kept in close contact with his wife through their correspondence while he traveled throughout Louisiana.

A copy of the book was presented to Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, this week by Judge Peter Garcia, the grandson of J. B. Lancaster. The book tells about the family’s roots in the Madisonville area and the many contributions Lancaster made to the Florida Parishes throughout his career.

The new publication will be special to local educators, not only because it tells the story of the School System’s first Superintendent, but also because of the new elementary school west of Madisonville recently named Lancaster Elementary in his honor.

Superintendent Folse stated, “I know the children attending Lancaster Elementary will be excited about the new book because it helps them learn more about the person their school is named after. The school has gotten off to a great start, and this book, like the school, will be a lasting tribute to the Lancaster family and what they have meant to our School System.”

“It will also help us get back to our own roots and discover more about each community’s legacy,” he went on to say. Superintendent Folse stated that the book will provide more details about the beginnings of the School System. “It tells the story of the people who worked hard to bring a forward-looking educational system to the area. We are all standing on the shoulders of those who went before us,” Superintendent Folse said. “We work hard today to make sure we meet the high expectations they set many years ago.”

Judge Garcia said that the collection of letters not only tells of the close relationship of his grandparents, but they also tell much about the history of the parish and the people who made it what it is today. Many times in the letters written by Lancaster other people are named who are remembered for their own contributions to the community and educational matters.

Lancaster was a leader throughout St. Tammany Parish, and through his efforts much progress was made on several fronts in the area. Judge Garcia points out that “it was the strength that he received from his family that gave him the ability to go out and do the kinds of things he did in the community.”

The letters detail such events as the coming of electric lights to the towns, what else was happening in other parts of the country, and key formative events that brought St. Tammany into the 20th century. “This kind of detailed narrative really lets us know why St. Tammany is unique,” Judge Garcia noted. The book can be purchased online through lulu.com.

Christian Garcia, a native of Covington and currently a resident of Greenville, NC, writes and edits non-fiction, specializing in books of biography, history and spirituality. He is the author of "U.S. Economics: 1700-1860," and "U.S. Economics: 1861-1941," and he has also written readers for elementary school publishers and edited numerous elementary and middle school textbooks in all subject areas.

A large number of Lancaster family members were present for the groundbreaking for the new school three years ago, and many of them returned for the ribbon cutting when the new facility was opened last year.




01/24/2012

School System Breaks Record In United Way Contributions


Last fall schools and support sites throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System contributed more to the annual United Way campaign than ever before, Assistant Superintendent of Administration Bill Brady reported at the January 12 School Board meeting.

A total of $168,500 was raised by student and staff donations in last semester’s campaign, he said, the highest total ever in the history of School System participation with the United Way. “With all the extra demands and funding shortages among United Way service agencies, the United Way of St. Tammany Parish certainly appreciates the hard work and generosity of our students and School System employees,” he said.

Brady then presented plaques to those schools and sites that made outstanding contributions during the fund drive. “Perhaps the hardest recognition to receive is for 100 percent participation at a school or site, where everyone at the location makes a donation to the drive,” Brady explained.

Those earning the 100 percent participation title were Alton Elementary, Bayou Lacombe Middle School, Covington Annex, Energy Management, Fontainebleau Junior High, Honey Island Elementary School, Lyon Elementary School, Mandeville Elementary, Marigny Elementary, Slidell Annex, Student Health Services, Treen Technology Center, and Woodlake Elementary.

Woodlake Elementary School also won recognition as the school with the most student dollars raised, which came to $3,325. Covington High School was identified as the school with the most employee dollars raised, $4,250, and the St. Tammany Parish School Board Central Office was honored as the site with the most employee dollars raised, $9,473.

Awards were also presented to several other outstanding schools and sites, with that recognition based on goals set, per capital contributions, and percent of participation. Those included the Transportation Department, Covington High, Fontainebleau Junior High, Mayfield Elementary and Lancaster Elementary. Brady gave special mention to the last two, saying that Lancaster Elementary was a brand new school that has taken a lead in contributing to the United Way in its first year, and Mayfield Elementary did an outstanding job without even being in its own building yet.

Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III, thanked all those who contributed to this year’s United Way campaign. “To raise this kind of money and beat our all-time record this year with everything going on in the Parish economy says much about our employees, faculty and staff, and students,” said Superintendent Folse. He also recognized Brady’s efforts in conducting the System-wide fund-raising drive. “This is a project near and dear to his heart,” he said.

 



01/20/2012

School Board Congratulates Fontainebleau High Girls Volleyball Team


The state champion Girls Volleyball team from Fontainebleau High School was congratulated by the St. Tammany Parish School Board at its January 12 meeting in Covington, with Parish Athletic Director Larry Favre giving a summary of their accomplishments over the past year.

The team won the Louisiana Division One state championship on November 12 with a season record of 44 – 1. It included the fourth consecutive District championship for Coach Danny Tullis, who is now in his sixth year at the school. Favre held up the large championship trophy, noting that the team was the only public high school to play in the final championship tournament.

Coach Tullis has been awarded the District Coach of the Year and the Louisiana Volleyball Coaches Association, Division I, Coach of the Year honor. Coach Tullis thanked the Superintendent and School Board, as well as Principal Johnny Vitrano for their support during the season.

“This season was incredibly special,” he told the Board. “I have an incredible staff, and my assistant coaches are the best in the state.” He also credited the team members for putting in countless hours in practice. “They’ve done so much in order for this to happen,” he said. “It’s been awesome.” Tullis has been coaching volleyball since he was in the 11th grade, he said.

He also thanked the parents of the team members for their dedication to the sport.

He named all the members of the team: Haley Bonneval, Morgan Todd, Sarah Ulm, Natalie Cousin, Morgan Marlbrough, Megan Meyer, Jessica Paxton, Maddy Shannon, Mallory Springer, Lauren Sutton, Ava Zimmerman, Nora Bloemer, Sadie Hocke, Madison Heath, Cassidy Stiebing, Megan Zulli, and Brooke Todd. Special recognition was given to the senior members of the team for their many contributions. Coach Tullis said that Miss Bonneval was one of the most impressive volleyball players to come along for some time. She has been named the Gatorade Player of the Year, which is an incredible honor, the coach stated.

Also introduced were members of the coaching staff, Assistant Coaches Amy Este, Lauren Rhodus, and Jimmy Guttierrez.

 



01/18/2012

Livestock Show Youth Fund Thanks School Board For Its Support


Several young participants in the upcoming St. Tammany Parish Junior Livestock Show appeared before the School Board January 12, with Shelia Dawsey, president of the show’s Youth Fund thanking the Board for its support of the annual event.

On January 26, young people from across the parish will be putting 457 animals on display at the fairgrounds in Covington. Ms. Dawsey said that the School System contributes much to the success of the livestock show and its exhibitors.

“Each exhibitor is touched in some way by your actions,” she said. To help Board members understand the significance of School System involvement, she said there will be 147 exhibitors from numerous schools showing 326 market animals and 131 breeding animals this year.

She explained that each exhibitor purchases his own animal and cares for it daily, feeding, grooming, exercising and training the animal in preparation for the show in late January.

“These young people make a very big commitment to their projects, learning responsibility, business skills, and leadership, among other things,” Ms. Dawsey said. She invited Board members to visit the show to see the results of the efforts of those participating this year.

 



01/17/2012

School System Raises Funds for Caps for Kids Program


This year, the St. Tammany Parish Public School System held a special day where students can wear their favorite caps in return for a donation to the “Caps for Kids” program.

At its January meeting, the School Board was told by Administrative Supervisor Amiee Woessner that in the Caps for Kids fund-raising event held last fall, students, staff, and faculty donated enough funds to help get 267 caps out to young patients across the country. The caps provide them with a source of support and encouragement during their battle against life-threatening illnesses.

Kathleen McCulla, Executive Director of Caps for Kids, and Curtis Akey, Program Coordinator, were both on hand to thank the Board for its support of the program. A highlight of the report was the presentation of a cap to Amelia Bennett, a student at Madisonville Junior High, by her Principal Dwayne Kern. The cap was signed by Amelia’s favorite celebrity, Pauley Perrette, an actress on the television show NCIS.

Caps for Kids is a non-profit organization based in New Orleans that provides celebrity-autographed caps for kids with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer. Ms. Woessner said a cap signed by the celebrity of the child’s choice helps the kids feel their celebrity is right there with them as they face the challenges ahead of them. She presented a series of photographs showing students on campuses across the parish having fun wearing their caps during the project.

Ms. McCulla thanked the School Board for its participation and support of the Caps for Kids program, and she will be working to expand the program to more school systems across the nation. “We already have a supply of hats ready to send out, thanks to your donations,” she said. “St. Tammany Parish is an example of how a School District can do this program successfully.”

She introduced her Program Coordinator Curtis Akey, a graduate of Fontainebleau High School, and School Nurse Pat Talmage was thanked for her help with the school-based project.

 



01/13/2012

School Board Receives Financial Reporting Awards


For the 23rd year in a row, the St. Tammany Parish School Board has been awarded the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award and a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

The ASBO recognition is given to School Systems meeting or exceeding the organization’s stringent standards, particularly in the preparation and publication of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the Fiscal Year ending in 2010. The GFOA award went to Terri Fortenberry, CPA, Director of Business Affairs for the School System, for excellence in the preparation of the CAFR Document.

The honors come following an extensive review by experts from the two organizations.

The ASBO Certificate was presented at the January School Board meeting by Bryan Huval with the CPA firm of LaPorte, Sehrt, Romig and Hand, and the GFOA Certificate was presented by Alex Levy, CPA, Senior Advisor with the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office Advisory Services.

Director of Business Affairs Terri Fortenberry and her staff were commended for their annual Financial Report and work in financial reporting for the School System. “We appreciate the continued recognition of these two outstanding professional organizations,” said Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III. “Our efforts to prepare a high-quality financial report each year helps not only in budgeting and monitoring System operations, but receiving these awards for the past 23 years clearly highlights our financial reporting expertise.”

ASBOIntl established the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Program in 1972 to enable school business officials to achieve a high standard of financial reporting and recognize excellence in school system comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFR). The award is the highest recognition given to school district financial operations by the ASBO and is conferred to School Systems that have met or exceeded the standards of the certificate program.

The GFOA certificate recognition program is more than 50 years old, and organizations which are singled out for recognition have to meet very stringent criteria. Since 1945, the program has become widely known as the premier indicator of excellence in governmental accounting.

The purpose of the annual financial statements is to report on and provide an overview of the financial position and operations of the school system (including its component units). The CAFR enables school business officials to educate the school board and the public about the status of a school system's finances as well as strengthens presentations for bond issuance statements. It also provides professional recognition for the integrity and technical competence of the business staff.

 



01/09/2012

Students Perform at Inauguration Ceremonies


Several students from the St. Tammany Parish Public School System’s Talented Arts Program took the stage during Inauguration Ceremonies for the Parish President Monday. Newly-elected Parish President Patricia Brister took her Oath of Office during the event that was emceed by Congressman Steve Scalise at the Justice Center in Covington.

Dejeune Richardson, a sixth grade student from Folsom Junior High, recited the poem “The Power of I. ” She is a student of Ms. Christina DeRosier. Lakeshore High students Paige and Claire Putnam sang the “National Anthem.” Their talented art teacher is Dr. Dana Guidroz.

A combined Brass Ensemble from Northshore High and Covington High performed before and during the inauguration. The Northshore High students of Fred Wild include Kyle Bramley, Andrew Campbell, Kris Clavin, Dooyeol Kim, Joshua Pender, and Jarett Tillman. The Covington High students of Mel Rogers taking part were Ashley Johansen and Hali Triche.

Representative Scalise said that after hearing the performances of the young people at the ceremony, he knew the future of St. Tammany Parish was in good hands.

 



01/09/2012

Public Schools To Close January 16 for Martin Luther King Holiday


Schools in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System will close Monday, January 16, 2012, in observance of the Martin Luther King Birthday Holiday. Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 17.

The St. Tammany Parish Public School System’s Central Office and all support offices will also be closed on Monday.



 


01/06/2012

New Website Features Photos of School Activities


A new website is now online focusing on the wide variety of learning and community service activities now taking place in public schools across St. Tammany.

Photographs of classroom projects and special events from throughout the St. Tammany Parish Public School System are being displayed on individual photo webpages for each school. A directory listing is available by clicking here. Many of the photographs are available for saving in high resolution for printing by clicking on the webpage photo and downloading the resulting high quality photo that appears.

Activities pictured range from science lab experiments, classroom projects, and campus-wide programs to community service activities, sports action, and PTA, student, and faculty recognitions.

The school news photo webpages also offer a number of links to other School System webpages, providing parents with convenient access to information about a number of school programs and procedures.

To visit the introductory page to the new photography website, click here.

 


01/04/2012

Schools Hold Anti-Bullying Rallies, Poster Contests
Rallies, poster contests, and student-led activities are several ways that public schools in St. Tammany Parish are responding to concerns over bullying. Some time ago, the School System adopted anti-bullying policies and discipline procedures, but many student groups are now helping to head off bullying problems before they begin.

Abita Springs Middle School kicked off a major Anti-Bully campaign in the Fall, with a program in November featuring several special guests and even a new song written just for the occasion. The celebration featured students and staff wearing blue shirts which they received for pledging to be “Bully-Free.”

The Abita Middle students even arranged themselves into a large “peace” sign and firefighters with the Mandeville Fire Department took an aerial photo of everyone standing together as one in peace. Students and teachers pledged to "Take a Stand" against bullying, and to "Lend a Hand" to those in need.

During the school’s Anti-Bullying educational campaign, students learned that bullies not only hurt others, but bystanders who do nothing to prevent bullying may also be at fault. The program includes classroom lessons, discussions and videos.

At the end of the educational program, a number of student-led campus events were planned to increase student awareness of bullying. At the rally, each grade level performed an anti-bullying skit for their peers, with an overall classroom competition.

An Anti-Bullying Pep Rally was held at the Abita Trailhead with Parish President Kevin Davis speaking to students about his personal experiences with being bullied as a child and also as an adult, and the importance of taking a stand to stop bullying.

The Abita Springs Middle School Band performed and the student body sang "Stand Up and B1," a song written especially for the occasion by Band Director Justice Buras. B1 is a school-wide movement promoting responsible, respectful students who stand up for their peers and stomp out bullying. The song touched many in attendance, as it displayed student concern about bullying and its consequences.

Many schools are offering different educational activities to increase awareness of bullying.

At Folsom Elementary, a special presentation was given to the 4th and 5th grade students by Louisiana State Trooper Nick Manale featuring information about bullying and cyberbullying. Mandeville Junior High's Positive Behavior and Supports Intervention Committee recently held an anti bully poster contest, and the students at Covington Elementary School joined the movement by pledging to make the school a safe and caring place for all students. “We will treat each other with respect, and we will not allow bullying in any form at our school,” says the anti-bullying pledge.

Anti-bullying efforts include refusing to be bullied, refusing others to be bullied, and refusing to watch, laugh, or join in when someone else is being bullied. Students are encouraged to make a concerted effort to include everyone in play, especially those who are often left out.