2018-2019 Back to School Message: Moving Forward…with Team: Enhancing the Vision--
The year to MAKE IT HAPPEN and TOGETHER WE CAN!
“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more
start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” ~ J. B. Priestly
Another year is upon us! It is exciting to begin a new year with the knowledge that we can all continue to learn and grow and achieve success! As we begin the 2018-2019 school year, I want to emphasize that success does not just happen; it comes from hard work, a desire for excellence, commitment, and preparation. It is my belief that a shared vision, enthusiasm, and a willingness to make wonderful things happen are essential to successful outcomes. Educating students is not without its challenges; therefore, we must be prepared to confront them with vigor. We must not focus on those things that are beyond our control. We must focus our energy on finding solutions to problems that surface within our classrooms, offices, and within the school system. Although Louisiana’s accountability program is expected to be more rigorous, specifically, with a predicted 57% increase in the number of failing schools, it is inevitable that district and school performance scores will likely drop due to the changes within the accountability program. For example, a score of Basic on LEAP assessments equals 80 points; Mastery equals 100 points; and Advanced equals 150 for each subject tested. Unsatisfactory and Approaching Basic earn no points, but students may earn progress points within each category.
Regardless of assessment outcomes, we will not make excuses. It is our plan to continue school improvement efforts by offering support and assistance to all schools. The St. Martin Parish School System has received in excess of $2.2 million dollars in grant funding to provide an afterschool STEM program in several schools, professional learning opportunities to our educators, and assistance to our most at-risk population that is designed to improve student outcomes. The Leader in Me Program has been implemented in five schools and the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) in four schools. TAP will be in its second year of implementation and we hope to see the benefits of this program. There has been an expansion of one to one technology devices in our schools. Teachers and students in grades 5-8 have access to chrome books in the classroom; there have been upgrades to teacher interactive technology boards and teachers participated during their summer break in a district-sponsored technology boot camp. Site Support visits will continue with support and assistance offered by central office supervisory staff, Network Team members, and external consultants.
In June, 2018, the school board approved an alternative to out of school suspension program that will reduce the number of out of school suspensions and provide behavioral supports, thus, addressing the concerns resulting from discipline labels assigned to schools required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The College and Career Center (CCRC) will have a welding course and an expanded certified nursing assistant course affording more students access to the nursing assistant program. Students enrolled in the three (3) parish high schools will have access to these programs in addition to the Army JROTC Program, electrical, and cosmetology programs as part of the Jump Start Initiative for college and career readiness. The high schools are offering advanced placement and dual enrollment courses to improve graduation and post-secondary outcomes.
Numerous renovations have been made to schools throughout the parish; concrete drives have been upgraded; multipurpose buildings have been erected at several schools; and efforts are underway to make renovations to schools that will create safer environments.
There are so many success stories to share from the 2017-2018 school year. There were numerous students who excelled such as Ahni Calais, 2018 CHS Honor Graduate and early junior graduate, Anna Wright, a BBHS student, whose art work is on display at the nation’s capital from Congressional District 3; Landon Laviolette, BBHS student, placed 2nd on the national level in MOS (Microsoft Office) Competition, and Alec Latiolais and McKenzie Melancon, St. Martinville Sr. High soccer players, participated in the International Soccer Match Up becoming the first Louisiana Club to ever participate in the prestigious International tournament in Barcelona, Spain. The celebratory list is infinite; my point is this-- success is not measured by a single test score. There are numerous students and employees to celebrate for exceeding average expectations. I am also pleased to recognize Dr. Wanda Phillips, Parks Middle School Principal, for being selected as a semi-finalist in the Louisiana Principal of the Year competition. Her selection brings recognition to Parks Middle and the entire St. Martin Parish School System.
As we journey into the 2018-2019 school year, there should be no obstacles too great for our team to tackle. We must continue to work collaboratively to maintain a culture and climate of high expectations in the following areas: discipline, student achievement, attendance, professional learning, and attitudes. I want to thank our parents and other education stakeholders for their support of our schools during the continuous changes in accountability. Parental support provides our schools with a critical link to student success. It is important for the public to know that great things are happening within the St. Martin Parish Public Schools as evidenced by some of the examples given in the previous paragraphs.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome our employees and students back to school on August 14th, the first official school day. I look forward to great success as we embrace a new year. To paraphrase J. B. Priestly, an English novelist, playwright, scriptwriter, social commentator, and broadcaster, we can take delight in a new school year—a new beginning, and a fresh start to make great things happen within the St. Martin Parish Public School System.
Best wishes to all for a happy, productive, and successful 2018-2019 school year! Remember our slogan: TOGETHER WE CAN: MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Dr. Lottie P. Beebe, Superintendent
St. Martin Parish Public Schools
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