Northdale Academy Celebrates 25 Years of History
- November 9, 2010
The East Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council will recognize and honor Northdale Magnet Academy for its 25 years at 4 p.m. Wednesday, December 8.
Northdale Magnet Academy celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special homecoming reception in the school auditorium on Thursday afternoon, November 4. The room was filled with graduates, community partners and friends and supporters celebrating the history of East Baton Rouge Parish School System’s dropout prevention/dropout recovery high school.
East Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis presented a commendation citation from the city to Leroy Helire, the school’s principal. In addition, Helire (pictured, far left) discussed old times with former teachers like (left to right) Sherry Guarisco, Patricia Carley and Lori Taylor.
The Academy has a rich and varied history. Twenty-five years ago, the Baton Rouge community was concerned about the growing problem of students leaving school prior to graduation. The Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, other business leaders, community leaders and education leaders came together to help solve this problem. The result was the creation of Northdale Magnet Academy, the first diploma-bound dropout prevention/dropout recovery high school in the state of Louisiana. They chose Helire to lead the school.
Today, Northdale Magnet Academy is still going strong under Helire’s leadership. “Ask students what makes Northdale so successful, and they will say it’s the small classroom size and the caring adults on campus,” said Jan Manning, an English teacher. “Ask one of the teachers, and they will say that it is because students come there asking for a chance to succeed.” Ask Principal Helire, she added, and he will agree it’s all of these things and his tenet of evolution.
“We as a school must continually evolve to meet the changing needs of our students”, says Helire. “We must be a full-service school, meeting their social, emotional and educational needs.”
The school has been recognized throughout the state and the nation as a model for alternative educational programs. Those recognitions include: • Exemplary At-Risk School by the Louisiana Department of Education (1993) • Outstanding Literacy Provider by the Louisiana Literacy Coalition (1996) • East Baton Rouge Parish Principal of the Year (2000-2001) • Louisiana Region Eight Principal of the Year (2000-2001) • State of Louisiana Principal of the Year (2000-2001) • The Louis A. Martinet Society Community Service Recipient, (2001-2002) • Outstanding Award for Public Relations (1990)
This inspirational story has been featured many times in the press, including in School Safety magazine, 1995; LABI Enterprise, 1998; Visions magazine, 2000; A Cup of Comfort for Friends, 2002; and A Cup of Comfort Devotional 2004.
In addition, Northdale is a school of many firsts: • The first diploma-bound dropout prevention/dropout recovery school in Louisiana • The first school to design/create a Credit Recovery Lab in Louisiana (1996) • The first alternative school to have a principal of the year • Winner of the parish Spelling Bee for four years • Most Creative High School 2008
The proud school partners hosting the anniversary event were: • Louisiana Association of Business and Industry • Cajun Constructors • The Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce • Our Lady of the Lake Tau Center • Baton Rouge Metro Lion Club • Cortana Kiwanis • Downtown Kiwanis • Friends of Public Education
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
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