Final Settlement Agreement—Year Two Begins
In front of the federal courthouse in Baton Rouge on August 14, 2003, U.S. District Judge James Brady signed an order ending the 47-year old EBR school desegregation case.Superintendent of Schools Clayton Wilcox said afterward the day marks not an end, but a beginning as the school system begins preparing students for a global future.
“Those of you who have been watching and wanting to come back to the public school system, the door is open” Wilcox said.The start of the 2004-2005 school year marks the beginning of the second of the four years in the Final Settlement Agreement agreed upon by the parties and approved by Judge Brady, ending the case.
Changes within the Magnet School Program as part of the Final Settlement Agreement are underway.New dedicated elementary magnet schools have been added and begin this year at Forest Heights Academy of Excellence (formerly Forest Heights Elementary) and Westdale Heights Academic Magnet (formerly Westdale Elementary.)
McKinleyMiddle School has converted to a dedicated magnet school one year earlier than required by the Final Settlement Agreement and will be housed at the old Capitol Middle site temporarily while the McKinley Campus is demolished and a new facility is built.Sherwood Middle will be converted to a dedicated magnet school for the 2005-2006 school year. The existing magnet programs at Glen Oaks, Istrouma, and ScotlandvilleHigh Schools, and CrestworthMiddle School will continue and become Centers of Excellence.
There are still a number of openings at several of the magnet schools and centers of excellence for the new school year.Magnet Program Director Carlos Sam encourages families who have put off applying to contact the Magnet Programs Office at 922-5443.“The positions we have are filling up quickly,” Sam said.“Don’t wait to apply for these exciting educational opportunities.We’re going to have a great year.”
The school system has partnered with the Stupski Foundation to enact real reform of public education here in EBR.Several reforms are underway in an effort to close the achievement gap and improve education for all students.
The creation of the PaSS District (Pathways to Student Success) has put 23 of the lowest-performing schools under the direct supervision of the Superintendent.Now, school principals are free to focus completely on instructional leadership and the academic achievement of their students.
The School System has partnered with Edusoft to improve the collection and analysis of student assessment data in the PaSS District.The ability to quickly assess student achievement will enable the district to focus on areas of academic weakness immediately, rather than wait for results of yearly assessment tests and then address problem subjects.
Recognizing student mobility as a major challenge, the school district is working on an aligned curriculum so students at all schools will be studying the same subject matter.Then, a student who moves from one school to another in the same year will be on the same chapter or lesson at the new school and not miss any material because of a change in residence.
Parental involvement is a big challenge in East Baton Rouge Parish, as well as many other districts nationwide.The East Baton Rouge Parish School System and the Stupski Foundation have begun a Parental Involvement Project aimed at increasing student academic achievement.“We’re beginning this program at 53 schools and it is our intention to eventually expand it to every school in the district,” said Rene’ Greer, School System Chief of Staff.The Parental Involvement Program calls for teachers to meet with families during the first week of August, prior to the first day of school August 9th.“We want these partnership visits to be positive meetings between parents and teachers.Education is a partnership, and if we can start the school year off working together, students have a better chance to succeed.” Greer said. (See accompanying news posting:Parental Involvement Project Underway)
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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