March 2019

SUPERINTENDENT RICK WENTZEL ANNOUNCES PLANS TO RETIRE

Superintendent Rick Wentzel

Superintendent Rick Wentzel told Livingston Parish School Board members at the Feb. 21 meeting that he will retire June 15, 2019.

“I have been honored to serve as superintendent of this great district, and to work with some of the state’s very best teachers and school administrators.  I couldn’t ask for a better job than the one you’ve allowed me to have over the past three years,” Wentzel said.  “But after much prayer and discussion with my family, I believe now is the right time for me to make this transition so I can spend more time with my family.”

School Board President Buddy Mincey, Jr., said the board will perform an extensive search for the best possible candidates to replace Wentzel.  The board expects to announce its selection before May 2019.

 

WALKER HIGH SCHOOL CUTS RIBBONS ON FOUR ON-CAMPUS BUSINESSES

Walker High School Principal Jason St. Pierre, Walker High Pro-Start Student Amber Stroughter, Papa John’s Representative Dan Murphy and Livingston Parish Schools Career & Technical Supervisor Staci Polozola cut the ribbon for the on-campus location of the pizzeria.  The restaurant is operated by Pro-Start students, and it’s open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays-Fridays, and from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays.

Walker High School administrators, teachers, students and local business leaders participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 7 to celebrate four businesses opening locations on the new, expanded campus.

The four businesses include Papa John’s, Neighbors Federal Credit Union, Nike’ Apparel and Walk-On’s Conference Center.  All four businesses are jointly operated and managed by students and professional business professionals, and all four businesses are open to on-campus and off-campus customers.

“These partnerships offer our students real-life learning opportunities and valuable experience they can parlay into an immediate career or use to further their knowledge and skill-level for additional training in one of these career pathways,” Walker High School Principal Jason St. Pierre said.

 

LIVINGSTON PARISH LIBRARY TO PROVIDE FREE ACCESS TO STUDENTS

The Livingston Parish Library recently announced it is partnering with Livingston Parish Public Schools to provide all students immediate access to the library’s digital resources and services through a new eCard program. The program automatically enrolls more than 26,000 LPPS students into the library system.

The new LPL eCard grants students access to all electronic resources provided by the library, ranging from scholastic databases that offer assistance, to homework, to resources offering downloadable eBooks, audiobooks and magazines. In addition, the LPL eCard will allow students to visit their local library branch to check out physical items such as books, DVDs, video games and more.

 

ALBANY HIGH WINS GOVERNOR’S SECOND ANNUAL BREAKFAST CHALLENGE

Albany High recognized its nutrition workers during a Saints-sponsored pep rally at the school. Pictured from left to right are, (front row) Livingston Parish Schools Child Nutrition Director Leah Smith; Albany High School Child Nutrition Technicians Janie Morgan, Jessica Lopez, and Amy Ellzey; Cafeteria Manager Scarlett Ray; Production Manager Shannon Davidson; Albany High Child Nutrition Technician Lindsay Pallia; Livingston Parish Schools Child Nutrition Special Programs Administrator Sommer Purvis, Saints Mascot Gumbo, (back row) Saints Tight End Josh Hill (#89), and Albany High School Child Nutrition Technicians Lynette Glascock and Wanda Anthony.

Albany High School won first place in the second year of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ “No Kid Hungry: School Breakfast Challenge,” a contest aimed at increasing statewide breakfast participation.

The NFL Saints’ mascot, Gumbo, interacts with Albany High School students during a school-wide pep rally to celebrate the school wining first place in the “No Kid Hungry: School Breakfast Challenge.”

Albany High saw the highest increase of any school in the state, bumping up its breakfast participation by 65 percent.  Approximately 83 percent of Albany’s students eat a school-provided breakfast, through traditional breakfast services and the “Second Chance Breakfast” program, according to Child Nutrition Special Programs Administrator Sommer Purvis.

Purvis noted that all Livingston Parish students are eligible to receive a free breakfast.  She said the parish has seen an increase in breakfast participation over the last couple of years. Last year, French Settlement High and North Corbin Junior High were recognized for recording the highest increases of breakfast participation in the state.

 

STEAM EXPRESS REACHES OUT TO LOCAL COMMUNITY

Southside Elementary Principal Laura Williams and Southside Junior High Principal Wes Partin serve up jambalaya to children who participated in the STEAM Express Community Outreach event that was held on March 11.

The Livingston Parish STEAM Express recently headlined a community outreach event in the South Denham Springs residential area of Eastover Estates.  Educators were joined by volunteers from various parish organizations to provide a variety of learning activities, games and food for local families. More than 350 people attended the event.

“Taking learning into our communities is at the very heart of what we envision with our STEAM Express mobile classroom,” Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy said.  “This event was a powerful opportunity for our teachers and school leaders to interact with our students and their parents in their home environment.  We want these families to know that we care about their wellbeing and the education of their children.”

 

February 2019

SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES PLAN TO BUILD STEM & ROBOTICS CENTER 

The Livingston Parish School Board approved plans to convert two buildings on the former Southside Elementary campus into a new STEM & Robotics Center for Denham Springs High School.

The new center will offer classes in partnership with LSU designed to enrich student learning in science, technology, engineering and math. The center will be run by the administration at Denham Springs High School.  Some of the courses planned for the center include Computational Thinking, Digital Storytelling, Intro to Engineering, as well as a suite of courses focusing on digital media and engineering.

Under an approved recovery plan by FEMA, the district will demolish all but two buildings on the Southside Elementary campus.  Those two buildings, which are valued at $2.1 million, will be restored to house the STEM & Robotics Center. The demolition of most of the campus and refurbishment of the two buildings are expected to complete before the start of the school in August 2019.

 

DISTRICT RECOGNIZES LOCAL SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE

Livingston Parish Public Schools recognized 24 schools that were named 2018 Schools of Excellence.  The schools’ principals or designees were present at the January 24 school board meeting to receive placards of recognition for their schools.  Pictured, from left to right, are: (front row) Kathy Rodosta, Albany Lower Elementary; Stacey Viator, Levi Milton Elementary; Marty Henry, South Live Oak Elementary; Jo Jean Saucier, Albany Upper Elementary; Cassie Phelps, Maurepas School; Donna Sibley, Doyle Elementary; Lindy Gill, French Settlement Elementary; Kris Roundtree, Holden School; Beth Jones, Live Oak High School; Lee Hawkins, French Settlement High School; Lynette Wheat, Lewis Vincent Elementary; Julie Dugas, Freshwater Elementary; Lauren Kennedy, Juban Parc Elementary; (middle row) John Hill, Albany Middle; Michelle Wheeler, Live Oak Elementary; Michell Stone, North Live Oak Elementary; Kelly LaBauve, Eastside Elementary; Gail DeLee, Denham Springs Elementary; Kim Freeman, Albany High School; John Chewning, Springfield High School; Ken Magee, Denham Springs Freshman High; Kelly Jones, Denham Springs High School; Bryan Wax, Denham Springs Junior High; Dwayne Dykes, Springfield Middle School; (back row) Livingston Parish School Board Members Frank Parrino (seated) Devin Gregoire, Jeff Cox, Bo Graham, Brad Sharp, Buddy Mincey, Jr., Bradley Harris, Jan Benton and Kellee Hennessy-Dickerson; and Superintendent Rick Wentzel.

Livingston Parish Schools recently recognized 24 schools that were named 2018 Schools of Excellence by the Louisiana Department of Education for their academic progress.  The state’s Schools of Excellence include those schools that earn Top Gains status, which is a designation for academic progress at an “A” level; and Equity Honorees, which recognizes schools in the top 10 percent in Louisiana among targeted subgroups, including special needs students, English learners and economically disadvantaged students.

Nine schools earned Top Gains and Equity Honoree recognition: Denham Springs Elementary; Denham Springs Freshman High; Eastside Elementary; Holden School; Juban Parc Elementary; Live Oak High School; North Live Oak Elementary; South Live Oak Elementary; and Springfield High School.

Three schools earned Equity Honoree recognition: Albany High School; Denham Springs High School; and French Settlement High School.

Twelve schools earned Top Gains recognition: Albany Lower Elementary; Albany Middle School; Albany Upper Elementary; Denham Springs Junior High; Doyle Elementary; French Settlement Elementary; Freshwater Elementary; Levi Milton Elementary; Lewis Vincent Elementary; Live Oak Elementary; Maurepas School; and Springfield Middle School.

 

COMMUNITY STEM CAFÉ OFFERS FUN OUTING FOR LOCAL FAMILIES 

Albany Upper Elementary Fourth-Grader Wyatt Bull shows his 4-year-old sister, Dakota, how to use air pressure to launch a rocket made from a plastic drinking straw during the STEM Café on Saturday at the Livingston Parish Literacy & Technology Center in Walker.

More than 200 students and their parents gathered at the Livingston Parish Literacy & Technology Center on January 26 to engage in learning activities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math through a variety of hands-on games, exercises and demonstrations – many of which were made available by the Livingston Parish STEAM Express.

The Community STEM Café was presented by a variety of educational and professional groups from Southeastern Louisiana University, the Northshore Technical & Community College, the State of Louisiana, Livingston Parish Public Schools and independent STEM educational groups.

Livingston Parish Schools Instructional Technology Facilitator Nikki Lavergne said the local turnout for the event, which was the first to be held in Livingston Parish, exceeded expectations, including the popularity and demand for access to the STEAM Express, which is a mobile learning laboratory that is equipped with learning activities for students and parents.  The mobile classroom can be customized to focus on any field of learning and adapted for any age group.

“It’s just so exciting to see our students engage in learning activities, to have their parents engage in the activities with them, and for students and parents to leave with plans to seek out more educational materials on their favorite subjects,” Lavergne said.

Soaud Henni and her son, Wascom Henni, learn how to create an electrical charge from a banana during Saturday’s STEM Café, which was held at the Livingston Parish Literacy & Technology Center in Walker.  Wascom Henni is a pre-kindergarten student at Juban Parc Elementary.

 

 

SPRINGFIELD HIGH SENIOR ADVANCES TO NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLAR FINALIST

Springfield High School Senior Andrew Larpenter.

Springfield High School Senior Andrew Larpenter has advanced to become a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, making him eligible for one of 7,500 National Merit Scholarships to be awarded this spring.

“We were excited to hear the news for Andrew,” Springfield High School Principal Spencer Harris said.  “He has all the ability and drive to be one of the most successful people to come through our school. We congratulate him on this national honor and wish him the very best for a bright future.”

To enter the National Merit competition, Larpenter had to take the PSAT test during his junior year of high school.  From the 1.6 million students who met entry requirements for the 2018 competition, approximately 16,000 were selected as semifinalists.  From that list, 7,500 finalists were chosen.

 

STEAM EXPRESS COMMUNITY OUTREACH PLANNED FOR MARCH 11

The Livingston Parish STEAM Express will headline a community outreach event in the South Denham Springs residential area of Eastover Estates on Monday, March 11 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. near the Light of the Word Church at the corner of Aztec Drive and Chickasaw Avenue.

Educators with STEAM Express will be joined by volunteers from the Livingston Parish Library, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, Might Moms, Assess the Need, Stewart Medical Center, Jackets Against Destruction Decisions and teachers from Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High School to offer a variety of learning activities, games and food for local families.

“Taking learning into our communities is at the very heart of what we envision with our STEAM Express mobile classroom,” Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy said.  “This will be our first true community outreach effort, and we are excited about partnering with others in our parish to engage our students and parents where they live.”

 

January 2019

NEW SCHOOL BOARD TAKES OATH, MINCEY ELECTED PRESIDENT

Denham Springs School Board Member Buddy Mincey, Jr., was elected president of the Livingston Parish School Board on Thursday (Jan. 10) by his fellow board members.  David “Bo” Graham of Walker was elected board vice president.

The vote was the first official act of business taken by the newly sworn-in board, which includes four new members:  Brad Sharp of Livingston, District 1; Bradley Harris of Denham Springs, District 4; Frank Parrino of Springfield, District 8, and Devin Gregoire of Albany, District 9.  Those returning members include Kellee Hennessy-Dickerson of Watson, District 2; Jan Benton of Denham Springs, District 3; Buddy Mincey, Jr., of Denham Springs, District 5; Jeff Cox of Walker, District 6; and David “Bo” Graham of Walker, District 7; all of whom received no opposition for re-election to their seats.

The newly elected Livingston Parish School Board includes, from left to right, Devin Gregoire of Albany, David “Bo” Graham of Walker, Kellee Hennessy-Dickerson of Watson, Frank Parrino of Springfield, Jeff Cox of Walker, Buddy Mincey, Jr., of Denham Springs, Jan Benton of Denham Springs, Bradley Harris of Denham Springs, and Brad Sharp of Livingston.

 

DEMOLITION UNDERWAY AT FLOOD-DAMAGED SCHOOLS

Demolition crews have received clearance to begin tearing down the old Denham Springs Elementary, Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High Schools that were severely damaged by the 2016 flood.

Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy said the demolition of Denham Springs Elementary and Southside Junior High is being managed by Gremillion Industrial Services, while Insulation Technologies, Inc., received the contract to tear down Southside Elementary.  As part of these companies’ low bids, they have the option to salvage some of the schools’ buildings materials – including two-by-fours, screws, nails and metal – and resale these items.

Murphy said the cost for demolishing the three campuses is more than $650,000.  FEMA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are paying 90 percent of the demolition costs, with the school system paying the remaining 10 percent, he said.

Demolition of all three campuses is expected to be completed by the end of February.

An equipment operator uses a Bobcat skid-steer loader to pick up debris from the demolition of Denham Springs Elementary.

 

FOUR LIVINGSTON PARISH STUDENTS AMONG TOP “YES I CAN” WINNERS

Juban Parc Elementary Student Carson Tullier expresses his excitement as he is greeted by Adapted Physical Education Instructor Lisa Dugas during the surprise announcement celebration that Tullier was named a winner of the Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children’s “Yes I Can” Award in the category of self-advocacy.

Four Livingston Parish students have been awarded this year’s “Yes I Can” Awards by Louisiana’s Council for Exceptional Children, making each of them eligible for the organization’s national awards program. The “Yes I Can” Awards recognize children and youth with exceptionalities who have demonstrated their determination and achievement in multiple ways.  The “Yes I Can” Awards review committee selects one winner each year in each of the following categories:  academics, arts, school and community activities, self-advocacy, technology and transition.

The parish’s four winners include Alisha Davis, a 5th grader at South Fork Elementary, who won in the art category; Timothy Bell, a 4th grader at Freshwater Elementary, who won in the academic category; Heaven Barker, a 3rd grader at Freshwater Elementary, who won in the technology category; and Carson Tullier, a 3rd grader at Juban Parc Elementary, who won in the self-advocacy category.

 

TEACHERS LEARN HOW TO TEACH WITH STEAM EXPRESS

More than 20 teachers from 12 schools across the parish recently gathered at the Livingston Parish Public Schools’ Central Office for more than two hours on a January afternoon to learn how to customize for their students the many learning activities and games that are available on the STEAM Express.

“This workshop is in high demand.  It’s the fifth one we’ve scheduled since rolling out our STEAM Express,” Instructional Technology Facilitator Nikki Lavergne said.  “And we’ve already scheduled another one at the end of the month. Teachers are excited about the potential the STEAM Express brings with making learning more exciting and engaging, and more hands-on for our students and parents.”

The STEAM Express is a school bus that has been converted into a mobile classroom that is equipped with Wi-Fi, touch-screen monitors and laptops, and hands-on, interactive modules that are designed to help students creatively learn concepts in a variety of subject areas.  The flexible design allows educators to easily transition the bus set up from elementary-level activities to high school-level projects.

Lavergne said at least one person from each school must be fully trained in how to set up the equipment, how to program it and use it, and how to manage the learning time among the various activities, before that school can schedule the STEAM Express for a visit.

Albany Middle School teachers Missy Dickerson, Donna Badon and Angela Baronet, learn how to operate virtual reality glasses that are available on the STEAM Express during a workshop at the central office.

 

 

December 2018

EASTSIDE ELEMENTARY NAMED NATIONAL ESEA DISTINGUISHED SCHOOL

Eastside Elementary Title 1 Tutor Wendy Gibson works with students on a word exercise. Pictured with Gibson, from left to right, are Eli Territo, Grace Underwood and Rosa Cruz.

Eastside Elementary School in Denham Springs has been named a National ESEA Distinguished School in recognition of the success of its education programs and academic progress by its students over the past year.

The Louisiana Department of Education submitted Eastside Elementary as its single statewide selection for the honor in the elementary category.   The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides additional resources for at-risk students and federal grants to state educational agencies to improve the quality of public elementary and secondary education.

“We are excited that our efforts, and the tremendous progress of our students, have gained the attention of state education leaders and now, the national administrators who oversee many of the federally funded programs in our schools,” Eastside Elementary Principal Kelly LaBauve said.

The National ESEA Distinguished School award was given to less than 100 schools across the country that gained recognition for exceptional student achievement in 2018.  These honored schools demonstrate a wide array of strengths, including team approaches to teaching and learning, focused professional development opportunities for staff, individualized programs for student success and strong partnerships between the school, parents, and the community.

 

STUDENTS LEARN CAREER SKILLS FROM CHAMBER BUSINESS LEADERS

Students from Maurepas High School who participated in the Livingston Parish Chamber’s Third Annual Student Business Conference included, from left to right: Hailey Harden, Madison Tullier, Brittany Barrientes, Nevaeh Stewart, Logan Scuderi, Dakota Fabre, Elijah Blount, Trent Robillard and Bryce Felphs. Also pictured, standing in the back, is Livingston Parish Public Schools’ Career and Technical Education Coordinator Staci Polozola.

Juniors from Doyle, Holden and Maurepas high schools took home lessons from some of the parish’s leading business professionals who helped to host the Third Annual Student Business Conference, which is hosted by the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce.

Students divided into three groups and rotated among the professionals who provided lessons on preparing for job interviews, managing ethical issues and working in a team setting to accomplish goals.  The half-day conference was held at Carter Plantation in Springfield.

 

 

LEWIS VINCENT ELEMENTARY CELEBRATES NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON DESIGNATION WITH SCHOOL PARADE

Lewis Vincent Elementary students and their teachers march throughout the campus waving pompoms and carrying a blue banner that proclaims their school’s designation as a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School.

Students, educators and parents marched through the Lewis Vincent Elementary campus to celebrate their school being named a National Blue Ribbon School.  Lewis Vincent is one of only six schools in Louisiana to get the award this year, and only the second school ever in Livingston Parish to receive the award.  The marchers wore blue and grey t-shirts emblazoned with the National Blue Ribbon logo.

 

 STEAM EXPRESS TAKING LEARNING TO COMMUNITIES

The Livingston Parish STEAM Express is on the road – and in communities – sharing learning activities with children and their parents.  The activities introduce fun learning concepts on important subjects in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.  Already, the STEAM Express has scheduled stops at nearly every campus in the parish, visited the parish’s libraries and participated in the Livingston Parish Fair and local parades.

“The idea is to take learning to students and their parents to introduce them to new and exciting concepts,” Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy said.

Students and parents at Doyle Elementary recently turned out for an evening event at to participate in the STEAM Express learning activities.

 

 

 

November 2018

STATE REPORT SHOWS PERFORMANCE IMPROVED AT MOST LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOLS

Thirty one of Livingston Parish’s 42 schools that received performance grades in the Louisiana Department of Education’s 2018 report showed academic improvement as compared to last year.

Although the state department used a new formula this year in calculating school scores and assigning letter grades, a comparison of school performance scores under the old formula – for an “apples to apples” comparison – shows significant gains across the parish.

“Despite the confusion of the new scoring system that has changed letter grades for our schools and district, the outcomes on our assessments and growth indicators continue to show we’re raising the bar in Livingston Parish,” Supervisor of Instruction Tracy McRae said.

McRae noted that under the state’s old grading formula, the district would have received a performance score of 108.2 – which would have been a 3.3 point increase from the previous year’s calculation.

 

LIVINGSTON PARISH SECOND-HIGHEST IN STATE FOR STRENGTH OF DIPLOMA

Significant gains were reported at the parish’s high schools, according to the state’s latest report.  The most impressive measurement is that for the 2017-2018 school year, Livingston Parish ranked No. 2 in the state with 73.7 percent of all graduates earning more than a standard diploma.

The parish’s high schools recorded a record-high graduation rate of 86.6 percent, an increase of 3.4 percent, with seven of the parish’s nine high schools improving their cohort graduation rate (those students graduating in a four-year period). Springfield High led the way with a 19-point increase.  French Settlement High improved 16.2 points, Albany High grew 15.2 points and Doyle went up 14.6 points.

The district has put much focus on strengthening the diplomas of parish graduates by giving them opportunities to earn basic or advanced academic and/or career and technical certifications.  Those certifications are recognized by post-secondary colleges and industry trade schools.

 

WALKER HIGH GRAD ELECTED FIRST LOUISIANA WOMAN TO SERVE AS NATIONAL FFA OFFICER

Livingston Parish Councilman Jeff Ard recently recognized Layni LeBlanc for being named a national Future Farmers of America officer during a Livingston Parish School Board meeting. Photo courtesy of The Advocate.

Layni LeBlanc, a graduate of Walker High School, has become the first woman from Louisiana to serve as a national officer of the National Future Farmers of America organization.  LeBlanc is currently studying animal science at LSU, and she hopes to attend veterinary school after graduation.

As an FFA officer, she will travel to 40 states and Japan to promote agriculture and the organization during a one-year leave from the school. She will serve as national secretary on a team of five other officers from different states.

LeBlanc is the first Louisianan in 31 years to serve as a national officer and fifth ever.  She is the first female from Louisiana to serve at that level.

 

LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOL BOARD TO SEAT FOUR NEW MEMBERS IN 2019

Livingston Parish voters in school board districts 8 and 9 elected two new members to the board on Nov. 6, while districts 1 and 4 gained new members as the current seat holders announced they would not run and only person signed up for each of those two seats during the July 18-20 qualifying period.

The four new board members who will take office January 1, 2019, include Brad Sharp of Livingston, District 1; Brad Harris of Denham Springs, District 4; Frank Parrino of Springfield, District 8, and Devin Gregoire of Albany, District 9.

Returning board members are Kellee Hennessy-Dickerson of Watson, District 2; Jan Benton of Denham Springs, District 3; Buddy Mincey, Jr., of Denham Springs, District 5; Jeff Cox of Walker, District 6; and David “Bo” Graham of Walker, District 7; all of whom received no opposition for re-election to their seats.

 

TWO PARISH SCHOOLS HONORED FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS

Northside Elementary and Eastside Elementary have earned spots on the state’s “Honor Roll” as a result of high performance during the 2017-2018 school year in their early childhood programs, according to a report released by the Louisiana Department of Education.

Both schools were recognized in the “Excellence” category, which is the state’s highest possible rating on the school’s annual Performance Profile Report. Only 90 schools statewide earned this top rating, according to the state report.

Livingston Parish Public Schools currently offers 56 early childhood classes to Pre-K children at 24 different school sites.  Supervisor of Instruction Stacey Milton said 15 parish school sites were within 0.5 points of also reaching the state’s “excellent” rating.

 

 

October 2018

LIVINGSTON PARISH ROLLS OUT STEAM EXPRESS

Instructional Technology Facilitator Lynn Kennedy shows Freshwater Elementary Principal Julie Dugas how to operate a technology game that teaches computer coding to students.  The instructional game is one of several that will be made available to students on the STEAM Express

Livingston Parish Public School officials recently rolled out their newest effort in creating greater access to learning technologies by introducing the STEAM Express – a mobile classroom designed to take learning opportunities to community neighborhoods.

The STEAM Express, which will be focused on introducing science, technology, engineering, arts and math concepts to students, is the brainchild of the district’s Instructional Technology department that was made possible by community sponsors who paid to retrofit a bus into the mobile classroom.

The STEAM Express is decorated to take the appearance of a steam locomotive, including a working steam whistle, and is equipped with Wi-Fi, touch screen monitors and laptops, and hands-on, interactive modules to help students learn a variety of subjects.  The flexible design allows educators to easily transition the mobile classroom set up from elementary-level activities to high school-level projects.

“The idea behind this mobile classroom project is to bring STEAM-based education to the schools and into our neighborhoods to help students and to give them an experience with STEAM education that they might not otherwise have an opportunity to be exposed to,” Superintendent Rick Wentzel said.  “The mobile classroom is adaptable to a variety of projects and all age groups.”

 

LEWIS VINCENT ELEMENTARY NAMED NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL

Lewis Vincent Elementary Principal Lynette Wheat congratulated her students, staff and teachers for their hard work to earn a National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education. The announcement was made on Oct. 1.

Lewis Vincent Elementary has been named a National Blue Ribbon School based on the school’s overall academic performance and progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

The school’s performance score has improved 13.1 points since the 2014-2015 school year, and is in the top 15 percent statewide for closing the gap between the academic performance of the general student population and economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

“What’s really so amazing about this award is that it recognizes our accomplishments during the time of our recovery from the flood.  The challenges we faced in the flood recovery are not factors for this award.  Our school achieved success at this highest level of recognition in spite of the challenges set before us.  I am so proud of what we’ve achieved together; we truly are stronger than ever,” Lewis Vincent Elementary Principal Lynette Wheat said.

The National Blue Ribbon award has been presented by the U.S. Department of Education since 1982.  Lewis Vincent Elementary is only the second school in Livingston Parish to ever receive the coveted National Blue Ribbon designation.  French Settlement Elementary earned the designation in 2009.

 

HALF-CENT SALES TAX TO FUND SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS ON NOV. 6 BALLOT

The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking voters to approve a half-cent sales tax on the Nov. 6, 2018, ballot to fund the hiring, training and staffing of uniformed School Resource Officers (SROs) at every school in the parish.  SROs are sworn law enforcement officers who are specially selected and trained to promote safety within schools.

The school district currently employs 10 SROs across the district and pays half their cost through cooperative endeavor agreements with the sheriff’s office, City of Denham Springs and Town of Walker.

Click here to see the wording of the Law Enforcement District Proposition.

 

SPRINGFIELD HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR NAMED NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP SEMIFINALIST

Springfield High School Senior Andrew Larpenter.

Springfield High School Senior Andrew Larpenter has been named a 2018 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist.

Larpenter is the son of Rodney and Kelly Larpenter of Killian, Louisiana.  He is president of his senior class and a member of the school’s golf team and Beta Club.  He participates in local community service projects and is currently overseeing the school’s public service announcement competition to promote positive behavior.

Merit Scholar semifinalists are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.  From the 1.6 million students who met entry requirements, approximately 16,000 were selected as semifinalists. Larpenter is currently vying for one of 7,500 National Merit Scholarships that will be offered next spring.

 

COMMUNITY SAYS FAREWELL TO SOUTHSIDE ELEMENTARY AND SOUTHSIDE JUNIOR HIGH CAMPUSES

(Picture left) Former Southside Elementary Principal Janelle Carrier signs her name on the cinderblock wall of the school as a “farewell sign off” to the school.  (Picture right) State Rep. J. Rogers Pope speaks during the farewell ceremony for Southside Junior High.  Pope formerly served as principal of the school.

Past and present educators, students and community leaders gathered on the campuses of Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High on September 26 to say farewell to the beloved campuses that have had such a lasting impact on their lives and the lives of thousands of students in the Denham Springs community.

Both schools will soon be demolished because of substantial damage caused by the August 2016 flood.  The schools have remained shuddered since the flood, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently approved a funding plan for the district to rebuild both schools.

“We are excited about the future for these schools, and the impact they will continue to have on the children of Livingston Parish,” Superintendent Rick Wentzel said.  “With that said, we know that this is a bittersweet time for so many, and we wanted to give our people who are so passionately connected to these two schools an opportunity to say farewell and to be a part of this new chapter.”

Both the new Southside Junior High and Southside Elementary will be rebuilt on the current 27-acre site of Southside Junior High on Highway 16 in Denham Springs.  The combined campus design will house two distinct schools – Southside Elementary for K-5 students and Southside Junior High for 6-8 students – but they will share some facilities and recreational space to reduce duplication where possible and maximize cost savings.

September 2018

DISTRICT TO REBUILD SOUTHSIDE JUNIOR HIGH AND SOUTHSIDE ELEMENTARY AT SAME LOCATION

As part of the district’s flood rebuilding effort, it will rebuild Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High on the same 27-acre location at 26535 Highway 16 in Denham Springs where the current Southside Junior High now stands.

Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy said the combined campus will house two distinct schools – Southside Elementary for K-5 students and Southside Junior High for 6-8 students – but they will share some facilities and recreational space to reduce duplication where possible and maximize cost savings.

“This rebuilding plan offers us an opportunity to be more efficient and create a safer environment.  For many years, district officials have wished to relocate Southside Elementary because of traffic and safety concerns; this combined campus design allows us to address those concerns and maximize our resources,” Murphy said.

The district recently received an approved funding plan from FEMA to rebuild all three schools that remain closed since the August 2016 flood.  The third school, Denham Springs Elementary, will be rebuilt at its original location on Range Avenue near the high school.

 

FORMER SOUTHSIDE ELEMENTARY LOCATION TO BECOME DENHAM SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL SATELLITE CAMPUS

The former Southside Elementary campus on Range Avenue in Denham Springs will be rebuilt into a satellite campus for Denham Springs High School where digital media and emergent technology courses will be offered to students in grades 9-12.

The satellite high school campus will use digital media curriculum from the LSU STEM Pathways program. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy said FEMA managers approved having the district demolish all but two buildings on the Southside Elementary campus – the multi-purpose building and cafeteria building, which includes five classrooms and a large meeting space.  The district will fully restore those facilities and convert them to educational space for the high school.  Those buildings are valued at $2.1 million.

Murphy said the demolition and refurbishment of the surviving structures will be completed before the start of next school year.

“Having access to these existing facilities opens up opportunities for students to earn dual college credit, additional Carnegie credits and industry credentialing,” Murphy said.

 

DOYLE HIGH TEACHER RESPONDS TO EMERGENCY CALL  

Doyle High School teacher and volunteer firefighter Matt Stumpf works with Fire District 4 volunteer firefighter Dreagon Bethel (pictured left) to extinguish flames that consumed the 18-wheeler truck that recently struck a Livingston Parish school bus.  (Pictured right) Stumpf removes his mask and fire-retardant jacket after stabilizing the situation.

When Doyle High School Teacher Matthew Stumpf received an emergency page from the Fire District 6 call center that a Livingston Parish school bus was involved in a fiery crash near Satsuma, he quickly called for an administrator to take over his classroom and rushed to the scene.

As a volunteer fire fighter and emergency medical response instructor, Stumpf is trained to manage such emergencies.  “But when you hear that a school bus is involved, it’s scary.  I knew I had to respond to do what I could for the kids,” he said.

Stumpf joined other fire fighters from Fire Districts 4, 6 and 7 at the scene to extinguish flames that had engulfed the 18-wheeler truck cab that had slammed into the back of the bus.  Their quick action stopped the fire from spreading to the truck’s fuel tanks or the nearby damaged school bus.

“I certainly will take this experience back to the classroom and share it with my students,” he said.  Stumpf teaches emergency medical response and sports medicine classes at Doyle High School.  He is a former High School Teacher of the Year winner in Livingston Parish.

“My students will want to learn from this real-life example, and I will have the joy of sharing what I do in a meaningful way.  It’s why I do what I do,” Stumpf said.

 

FRENCH SETTLEMENT HIGH SCHOOL RECEIVES $200,000 GRANT TO EXPAND AP PROGRAM

AP Students at French Settlement High School celebrate a $200,000 grant that was awarded to their school to expand and strengthen its AP program.

French Settlement High School recently received a $200,000 National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) grant from ExxonMobil, which will be utilized over a three-year period to expand the school’s Advanced Placement (AP) program.  AP classes include college-level curricula as part of the course instruction.  Students who earn a 3, 4 or 5 on the AP exam may be eligible for course credit at many colleges and universities.

“This grant has enabled us to expand our AP course offerings and help to equip all of our teachers with the tools they need to challenge our students to perform on a very high level,” French Settlement High School Principal Lee Hawkins said.  “Our students have embraced our mission statement at FSHS, which is ‘Exceed Expectations.  All Day.  Every Day.’ as evidenced by the fact that nearly one-third of our student body is enrolled in at least one AP course.”

Hawkins said he plans to add an AP math course to the high school curriculum next year, and another AP computer class and AP science class the following year.

 

LIVE OAK HIGH SCHOOL BREAKS GROUND ON NEW BASEBALL-SOFTBALL COMPLEX

Pictured from left: Randy Pourciau, Blount General Contractors project manager, LLC, Rusty Warren, Blount General Contractors, LLC, Dale Sizemore, Live Oak baseball assistant coach, Deric Murphy, president of Quality Engineering & Surveying, LLC, Chris Bankston, Gasaway Gasaway Bankston Architects vice president, Monica Perez, Gasaway Gasaway Bankston Architects project director, John Blount, president of Blount General Contractors, LLC, Rick Wentzel, Livingston Parish Public Schools superintendent, Jesse Cassard, Live Oak head baseball coach, Kellee Hennessey-Dickerson, Livingston Parish Public Schools Board Member, Beth Jones, Live Oak principal, Michelle Morris, Live Oak head softball coach, Johnny Morgan, pastor of Live Oak Baptist Church, Brett Beard, Live Oak athletic director, Tyler McGrew, Live Oak baseball assistant coach, Natalie Cobb, Live Oak assistant softball coach, Lane Hutchinson, Live Oak senior baseball player, Brett Leiva, Live Oak senior softball player, and Craig Castello, Live Oak baseball assistant coach.

The district will soon begin construction on a new $6.8 million baseball-softball complex at Live Oak High School.  The complex will include artificially-turfed fields, covered grandstands, coaches’ offices, team locker rooms, an indoor hitting facility, press boxes and lights.

School officials and community leaders recently participated in a ground breaking ceremony for the project, which is expected to be completed by next school year

 

NORTHSHORE TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE BREAKS GROUND ON NEW WALKER CAMPUS

A host of education, state and Livingston Parish officials participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Walker campus of the Northshore Technical Community College.  The $58 million facility will be located on property behind the Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center that was donated by the Livingston Parish Public School System.  The entrance to the new campus will be on Burgess Avenue.  State Rep. J. Rogers Pope told the audience that efforts to bring a college campus to the parish began more than 20 years ago.

 

August 2018

LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOLS BEGINS YEAR WITH 16 OF 19 SITES RESTORED TO PRE-FLOOD STATUS

Every public school campus in Livingston Parish that was damaged by the flood — except for the three substantially-damaged campuses that have been under the purview of FEMA – has been restored to pre-flood status, and in most cases, improved from its pre-existing condition.

This milestone is no small accomplishment.  Contractors and maintenance supervisors estimate that the work completed over this nearly two-year span is equivalent to building at least six new schools, while maintaining reoccurring maintenance jobs and repairs throughout the district.

Of those 16 impacted sites, five received three feet of water, and four received four to six feet of water, with three schools – Denham Springs Elementary, Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High – receiving catastrophic damage.

“A significant factor in this recovery timeline has been our ability to cause minimal disruption to classroom learning,” Murphy said, noting that much of the work has been done over the past two summers and during holiday breaks, when the students and teachers were not on the campuses.

 

FEMA GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO REBUILD 2 OF 3 “SUBSTANTIALLY DAMAGED” SCHOOLS

After nearly two years of uncertainty over the future of three “substantially damaged” schools in the Denham Springs area, Livingston Parish School officials have received the go-ahead from FEMA to begin the process of demolishing and rebuilding two of the three campus sites.

Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy said the district has received permission to replace all but the multi-purpose room at Denham Springs Elementary School, and all but the band room at Southside Junior High School. The band room and multi-purpose building were newer and had less damage from the 2016 flood.

He said the district is still negotiating with FEMA on the rebuilding cost and plans for Southside Elementary.

Murphy said designs are not yet set, but he anticipates elevating all of the structures on fill and using cinder block instead of sheet rock, so the structures will be more resilient in case of another disaster.  He said the process to rebuild the schools will take from
2 ½ to 3 years.  Students assigned to those schools will remain at the temporary campus sites until the home campuses are fully rebuilt.

Superintendent Rick Wentzel and honored dignitaries signal the start of demolition work at Denham Springs Elementary by raising their hard hats and placing them on their heads at a special ceremony on Aug. 14. “This signals the final phase on our flood recovery effort,” Wentzel said. Pictured behind Wentzel, from left to right, are School Board Members Buddy Mincey and Karen Wax-Schmitt, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, U.S. Congressman Garret Graves, Governor John Bel Edwards, State Rep. Rogers Pope, and Father Frank Uter of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

 

DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGY TO CONNECT STUDENTS TO GREATER OPPORTUNITIES

Livingston Parish School Superintendent Rick Wentzel, top left, recently met with principals in School Board District 8 at the French Settlement High School broadcast classroom to discuss the use of distance learning on their campuses to enhance curriculum opportunities for students.  Pictured top center and clockwise to the right are Springfield High School Principal Spencer Harris, Springfield Middle School Principal Dwayne Dykes, Maurepas School Principal Kenny Kraft, Springfield Elementary Principal Catherine Martin, French Settlement Elementary Principal Lindy Gill, and Frost School Principal Stacy Wise.

Schools in the southern-most part of Livingston Parish will be better able to connect to each other and the world, overcoming challenges of their rural settings, thanks to the district’s participation in a USDA grant program to incorporate distance learning curriculum opportunities at those campuses.

“The program electronically links teachers in one area to students in another,” said Distance Learning Program Director Janet Blakenship, adding that distance learning can be as effective as classroom learning in terms of student performance. It offers opportunities for enhanced curriculum and advanced classes, such as physics, anatomy, chemistry, music theory, or calculus.

The technology also allows teachers to include curriculum-based virtual field trips in their instruction, including visits to museums, planetariums, zoos, and even space.  Classes can use the technology to collaborate with other schools and businesses, including team teaching with different schools.

Those schools participating in the distance learning program are Springfield High, Springfield Middle, Springfield Elementary, French Settlement High, French Settlement Elementary, Maurepas and Frost.

 

HIGH PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS SCORE MASTERY AND ADVANCED ON STATE ASSESSMENTS

Students in Livingston Parish Public Schools continue to exceed their state peers on accountability tests, with nearly half of all students at all grade levels achieving Mastery and Advanced ratings on the latest state assessments, according to the Louisiana Department of Education’s report released this week.

The results of the Spring 2018 Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) exams for grades 3-8 and high school End of Course assessments show 45 percent of all students scored Mastery or above on the combined sections.

“Our students continue to perform at high levels across every grade,” said Superintendent Rick Wentzel. “We are especially proud of the progress we’re making in literacy.  In this category, every grade level but one had well over half of all students score in the top categories; and that one grade level was near the halfway score with 48 percent!”

He noted the following district-wide results were reported for Livingston Parish students who tested in English/Language Arts:

The latest state report also showed Livingston Parish Schools to have strong scores in math.  The most outstanding results came among 8th graders who took the Algebra 1 exam – 95 percent scored Mastery or Advanced. At the same time, 51 percent – more than half – of the district’s eight graders and those high schoolers taking Algebra 1 scored at the Mastery and Advanced levels.  The next highest percentage of top performers came from grades 4 and 5, with 44 percent and 43 percent, respectively, achieving Mastery and Advanced in math.

 

DENHAM SPRINGS HIGH WELCOMES JUNIOR ROTC PROGRAM

Pictured left to right, are (front row) Denham Springs Marshall Joe Shumate, Denham Springs City Court Judge Jerry Denton, USMC Lt. Col. Ronald Bias, School Board Member Karen Wax-Schmitt, DSHS ROTC Cadet Commander Logan Wolkart, School Board Member Jan Benton, School Board Member Buddy Mincey Jr., U.S. Congressman Garret Graves, DSHS Principal Kelly Jones, State Rep. Rogers Pope, Superintendent Rick Wenzel, (back row) Denham Springs Police Chief Shannon Womack, Denham Springs Fire Chief Melvin Wheat, School Board Member Bo Graham, Hebron Baptist Church Pastor Charley Westbrook, USMC CWO3 Shawn Shortridge, DSHS Asst. Principal Wes Howard, DSFH Principal Ken Magee, DSHS Asst. Principal John Easterly, DSHS Asst. Principal Shana White and DSHS Asst. Principal Staci Clement

School officials and U.S. Congressman Garret Graves recently celebrated the opening of a U.S. Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Denham Springs High School.  The new program will be housed in a newly renovated and expanded facility on the campus.

It will be managed by Senior Instructor Lt. Col. Ronald Bias, who said he has begun meeting with students already, and anticipates as least 170 students to enroll in the program this school year.

July 2018

DISTRICT EXPANDING ESL PROGRAM

The Livingston Parish School System is expanding its ESL (English as a Secondary Language) program for the coming school year to help manage the district’s increased demand.  The number of students going through the program has doubled since 2016, according to Supervisor of Instruction Steve Vampran.

The district is opening a new registration center at the Pathways Campus and Adult Education Center, located at 13330 Burgess Road, across from Walker Freshman High School, to handle incoming students and to take the pressure off local campuses.  A new parish-wide coordinator and office secretary are being hired this summer to manage the new center.

Vampran said the district currently employs five certified ESL teachers and 13 paraprofessionals who work with ESL students.  He anticipates the district having six certified ESL teachers and 14 paraprofessionals onboard for the new school year.

“We have seen our population increase from 450 students to 860 currently over a two-year span. And with this recognition, we realized something needed to be done,” Vampran said.  He predicts the district’s numbers to rise to 1,000 ESL students by next school year.

ESL programs are designed to help international students learn English or improve their English language and writing skills.  The district also offers free English literacy skills classes for parents.  Vampran said interested persons can enroll or get more information by sending an email to adult.education@lpsb.org or calling 225-664-9427.

 

DISTRICT WORKING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT TO ADD THREE OFFICERS TO CAMPUSES

Livingston Parish Public Schools will have 10 School Resource Officers working throughout the district’s 46 campuses during the 2018-2019 school year

Livingston Parish Public Schools will add three more law enforcement officers to its campuses in the coming academic year amid concerns about safety following a number of school shootings across the nation.

The school board approved the 2018-2019 budget to include monies to pay for another police officer in Denham Springs and two additional sheriff’s deputies throughout the parish. The additional officers bring the total number of school resource officers (SROs) working among the parish’s 46 school campuses to 10. The district will pay half the cost of the new officers as it does the current ones.  The law enforcement agencies pay the other half.  Superintendent Rick Wentzel said the school board’s new budget includes approximately $48,000 for each officer.

The additions come as Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard is proposing a half-cent sales tax on the Nov. 6, 2018 election ballot to fully fund SROs on every school campus in the parish.

 

LIVINGSTON PARISH TEACHERS LEARNING HOW TO TRANSFORM TRADITIONAL CLASSROOMS INTO MORE EFFECTIVE LEARNING SPACES

Pictured left to right, clockwise, are Frost School’s 2nd Grade Math Teacher Courtney Blount, 5th Grade English Language Arts Teacher Danna McCoy, Special Education Teacher Lisa Zeringue and Curriculum Coordinator Tricia Averette. They are taking part in a training exercise while sitting in a “low-seating station” during one of the district’s Learning Spaces workshops.

The traditional classroom image of desks neatly lined in rows may soon become something of the past in Livingston Parish.

That’s because more teachers across the district are incorporating creative learning spaces with flexible seating in their classrooms to more effectively increase student focus, collaboration and learning.

“We began this initiative in earnest at some of our elementary schools, where traditional student desks were replaced with flexible seating options.  The results of the new classroom configurations have been overwhelmingly positive – students are more comfortable, more engaged and more focused on their tasks,” Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy said.

Instructional Technology Facilitator Nikki Lavergne said Learning Spaces workshops offered during the 2017-2018 school year maxed out quickly, prompting the district to schedule more in the summer.  Those too, were so popular that extra sessions were added, she said.

 

WALKER HIGH SCHOOL FISHING TEAMS TO COMPETE AT BASS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNEY

Walker High School students Hanson Chaney, left, and Bronson Beck, right, were named the 2018 Louisiana BASS National High School Fishing Champions.  They were presented with plaques at the state championship tournament.  They are pictured with BASS Louisiana High School directors Eugene Hoover and Jim Breaux. Chaney and Beck will compete in the national tournament in Paris, Tenn., in August.

Two two-man fishing teams from Walker High School will compete in the 2018 BASS National High School Championship next month, including incoming junior Hanson Chaney and incoming senior Bronson Beck who were ranked as the No. 1 BASS High School Fishing Team in Louisiana for 2018.

Also advancing to the national tournament, which will be held in Paris, Tennessee, August 2-4, are Jason McMillan and Hunter Kogel, who recently graduated.  They had participated in the national tournament last year, prior to their senior year, becoming the school’s first-ever national fishing tournament finalists.  They finished 4th overall in the state this year to qualify for a return trip to the national tournament.

“Our team has done extremely well this year, finishing in 2nd place overall in the state, and having four teams finish in the Top 20 in Louisiana, out of a total of 247 teams statewide,” said Jeremy Ferachi, the BASS fishing team sponsor for Walker High School. He noted that Peyton Matherne and Lance LeBlanc placed 14th in the state, and Brennan Richard and Mackie Faucheaux finished the season in 16th place.  Matherne returns this year as a sophomore, which Richard and Faucheaux return as seniors.  LeBlanc graduated in May.

 

ASSESS THE NEED COLLECTING SCHOOL SUPPLY DONATIONS

Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor and local volunteers are once again gearing up to collect monetary donations and supplies for the parish-wide Assess the Need Campaign that is expected to provide nearly 3,000 students with the supplies they need to be successful in the classroom during the 2018-2019 school year.

Volunteers will be taking donations for this year’s drive from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, and Sunday, Aug. 5, at the three Super Wal-Mart stores in Livingston Parish – located in Denham Springs, Walker and Watson.  Donations can also can be given online at www.AssesstheNeed.com, or through the Assess the Need Facebook page.

This is the 18th consecutive year Taylor has sponsored Assess the Need.

June 2018

SUMMER CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS UNDERWAY ACROSS THE PARISH

With students out of class for the summer and many campuses unoccupied, the district’s facility planning and maintenance departments are hard at work on an array of construction projects.  The following schools have projects currently underway that are being funded with existing district savings; except for the Walker High School projects, which are being funded with a dedicated millage approved by voters:

Walker High School –
• new main classroom and administrative building that will contain 28 classrooms, a library, a biology lab, a chemistry lab, a special needs room, all administrative and support personnel offices, and restrooms. The new building will also house the school’s Green & White Cooke site and Neighbors Federal Credit Union office. (complete by August 2018)
• new gymnasium (complete by December 2018)

Doyle High School –
• addition of 29 parking spaces and lighting of parking lot (complete by August 2018)
• relocation of main power fee and drainage improvement to the campus (complete by August 2018)

Springfield Elementary –
• addition of 115 parking spaces to accommodate large events at the high school gym, located at the rear of the campus; and replace windows and refurbish exterior on two classroom wings, each containing 6 classrooms (complete by August 2018)

French Settlement High School –
• expand the media room to house distance learning classes (complete by August 2018)
Pathways and Adult Education Building –
• create three classrooms, replace ceiling and floor tile, and renovate windows to create new ESL registration center (complete by August 2018)
• add carpentry area to campus to house a new Carpentry 1 class (complete by August 2018)

Denham Springs Freshman High/Juban Parc Elementary/Juban Parc Junior High–
• complete exterior painting of campus buildings (August 2018)
Pine Ridge Alternative School –
• replace roof of the main building (complete by August 2018)

Maurepas High School –
• refurbish original building, repairing all exterior stucco surfaces, replacing windows and soffits, painting exterior and upgrading the front entrance (completed by December 2018)

Holden High School –
• renovate the Career Technical Education Building (complete by August 2019)

Albany High School –
• construct two new buildings: one with three regular classrooms and a special needs room; the second with eight classrooms and a teacher work room. Restrooms to be added to both buildings. (complete by August 2019)

Albany Lower Elementary School –
• construct a classroom building with 16 classrooms, a 60-station computer lab and restrooms. (complete by August 2019)

 

DISTRICT WRAPPING UP FLOOD RECOVERY EFFORTS ON OPERATING CAMPUSES, CLOSED CAMPUSES REMAIN IN LIMBO

In addition to campus expansions and regular maintenance, the district is still working hard to complete repairs and renovations as a result of damage caused by the August 2016 flood.  These projects are being funded with district reserves, with the anticipation of receiving reimbursement monies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover much of the costs. The following schools are scheduled to have recovery projects completed by August 2018:

  • Denham Springs High School – complete the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) facility
  • Denham Springs Freshman High, Denham Springs High, Denham Springs Junior High, Lewis Vincent Elementary and Seventh Ward Elementary – replace floor tiles and baseboards at all campuses

With the completion of these projects, all flood recovery efforts will be completed this year except for those involving the three closed campuses – Denham Springs Elementary, Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High. Negotiations are still ongoing with FEMA and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOSHEP), and to date, no work plan has been approved for any of the campuses.  All three schools will continue to operate at their temporary locations for the 2018-2019 school year.

 

CONGRESSMAN GRAVES ADVANCES FAVORABLE LEGISLATION FOR LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOLS, ACTION STILL NEEDED BY THE U.S. SENATE

Congressman Garret Graves recently spoke to the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce about his efforts to bring much-need flood recovery aid to Livingston Parish. Photo courtesy of Livingston Parish News.

Louisiana Congressman Garret Graves recently announced that he and members of the Louisiana Delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives added an amendment to the federal budget to provide $20 million in federal aid to Livingston Parish Public Schools.  The proposed amendment, however, still awaits approval by the U.S. Senate.

At the same time, Graves has proposed that FEMA waive insurance guidelines that could severely hamper the school district’s recovery efforts. Currently, FEMA requires a $500,000 deductible per building be paid as a penalty for the school district not having flood insurance.  Graves is proposing the penalty be reduced to $500,000 per campus – not per building – to save the district millions of dollars. Graves said a similar waiver was granted to schools in the New Orleans area following Hurricane Katrina.

 

STUDENTS LEARN HOW TO OPERATE DRONES AT SUMMER CAMPS

Jacob Wilkinson, a senior at Walker High School, helps to instruct Evan Blazier from Denham Springs Junior High on how to assemble a drone, while a group a middle school girls work in the background. The students attended the beginner’s drone summer camp at Walker High School.

Students in Livingston Parish recently took part in summer camps at Walker High School to learn how to navigate the skies with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, as well as learn the basic safety guidelines and applications of the new technology.

Instructor Steve Johnson offered two three-day sessions: a beginner’s camp for students in grades 4-8, and an advanced camp for older students.

“This class introduced our students to the many facets of drones, robotics and the future of the drone industry,” Johnson said.

He said students learned how to operate drones safely and ethically by gaining an understanding of the technology itself, as well as some of the laws and regulations surrounding drones.  They also learned about business and commercial applications of the technology.

 

SUMMER FOOD PROGRAM PROVIDING FREE MEALS

Westside Junior High School Assistant Principal Brian Gunter hands a pre-packaged breakfast to South Walker Elementary student Bailee Chiro before the start of summer classes at his campus.

Livingston Parish Public Schools anticipates serving nearly 15,000 free meals this summer to students enrolled in academic programs across the parish.

Assistant Supervisor of Child Nutrition Programs Sommer Purvis said the district is providing pre-packaged breakfast and lunch meals to all campuses where summer courses are being taught, including Juban Parc Elementary, Northside Elementary, South Live Oak Elementary, Westside Junior High, North Corbin Junior High, Springfield Middle School, Doyle High School, Denham Springs High School and Live Oak High School.

 

 

 

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR HONORED

Melinda Marks, pictured second from right, has been named the Livingston Parish School Volunteer of the Year by the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (A+PEL) for her work at South Walker Elementary.  She is pictured with Mary Carlin, A+PEL officer; Jennifer Wiley, Livingston Parish Early Childhood Special Education itinerant teacher who nominated Marks for the award; and Julie Norris, president of the Livingston Parish A+PEL Chapter