October 2016

TWO FLOODED SCHOOLS TO REOPEN JAN. 6, THREE TO RELOCATE

Graphic provided by The Advocate Newspaper, published Oct. 21, 2016.

Graphic provided by The Advocate Newspaper, published Oct. 21, 2016.

Students from Denham Springs High School and Denham Springs Freshman High will return to their home campuses for the start of the second semester, on Jan. 6, 2017, while students from three other schools will relocate to temporary campuses at that time.

The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church will make available nearly four acres of its property on Hatchell Lane to house the temporary campus for Denham Springs Elementary. The church has agreed to enter into a zero-dollar lease with the school system for use of the land.

At the same time, a temporary campus for Southside Elementary will be constructed on school property next to Juban Parc Elementary, and a temporary campus for Southside Junior High will be located on school property next to Juban Parc Junior High.

School officials continue to work with FEMA to determine what action can be taken with the three campuses that remain damaged; however, that determination may not be made for another six to nine months, according to Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy.

 

HOLDEN GYM NAMED IN HONOR OF ALTON LEGGETTE

Holden High School’s 1963 boys state championship basketball team, from left to right: (front row) Wayne Stewart, Nelson Hinson, Sherman Mack, Van Osborne, (middle row) Clinton Mitchell, Thomas “T.L.” Hodges, Coach Alton Leggette, Mike Higginbotham, Ronald Sykes, (back row) Corley Trawick, Charles Allen, Edward “Ed” Green, Richard Harrison and Emerson Causey.

Holden High School’s 1963 boys state championship basketball team, from left to right: (front row) Wayne Stewart, Nelson Hinson, Sherman Mack, Van Osborne, (middle row) Clinton Mitchell, Thomas “T.L.” Hodges, Coach Alton Leggette, Mike Higginbotham, Ronald Sykes, (back row) Corley Trawick, Charles Allen, Edward “Ed” Green, Richard Harrison and Emerson Causey.

The Livingston Parish School Board unanimously voted to name the old Holden school gym the Alton Leggette Memorial Junior High Gym.

Leggette was a former school board member and hall of fame boys’ basketball coach, best known for coaching the 1963 Holden team that won the Class C state title. He started his career as the girls’ coach at Maurepas, but went on to become the boys’ coach in Holden and finished his career as head coach at Denham Springs in the mid-1970s with a career record of 498-155. In 1990, he was selected as Louisiana’s Mr. Basketball by the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches.

 

 

WALKER PARTNERS WITH NORTH OAKS FOR SPORTS MEDICINE FACILITY

Livingston Parish School officials and members of the North Oaks Health System recently participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony for Walker High School’s new sports medicine facility. Pictured from left to right are: (front row) Alexis Amato, North Oaks’ Athletic Trainer for Walker High School; Nathan Borget, North Oak’s Head Athletic Trainer; Mac Barrient, North Oaks Rehab Services Director; Staci Polozola, Livingston Parish’s Career & Technical Education Supervisor; Jason St. Pierre, Walker High School Principal; Rick Wentzel, Livingston Parish School Superintendent; and (back row) Stephen Parrill, Livingston Parish School Assistant Superintendent.

Livingston Parish School officials and members of the North Oaks Health System recently participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony for Walker High School’s new sports medicine facility. Pictured from left to right are: (front row) Alexis Amato, North Oaks’ Athletic Trainer for Walker High School; Nathan Borget, North Oak’s Head Athletic Trainer; Mac Barrient, North Oaks Rehab Services Director; Staci Polozola, Livingston Parish’s Career & Technical Education Supervisor; Jason St. Pierre, Walker High School Principal; Rick Wentzel, Livingston Parish School Superintendent; and (back row) Stephen Parrill, Livingston Parish School Assistant Superintendent.

Walker High School recently opened a new sports medicine facility in partnership with North Oaks Sports Medicine.  The new facility is located in Walker High School’s newly constructed athletic field house and weight room facility, and it serves as a classroom laboratory and treatment center for the school’s athletic programs.

“We are proud to partner with North Oaks to keep our student-athletes healthy and to train our students in the exciting and growing field of sports medicine,” Walker High School Principal Jason St. Pierre said. He noted that the partnership gives students hands-on training opportunities, including access to visit and conduct clinical training at the North Oaks facilities in Satsuma and Hammond.  He also said the program will benefit the school’s Certified Nursing Assistant curriculum.

 

EMERIL LAGASSE FOUNDATION DONATES NEW UNIFORMS TO STUDENTS

Brian Kish, president of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, prepares to toss a bag of new uniforms to Southside Elementary student Karoline Norris, after giving uniforms to classmate Gavin Davis. Looking on, from left to right, are Southside Elementary classmate Mandeville students Chase Erickson and Katherine Treuting, and KINDD Founder Karen Treuting.

Brian Kish, president of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, prepares to toss a bag of new uniforms to Southside Elementary student Karoline Norris, after giving uniforms to classmate Gavin Davis. Looking on, from left to right, are Mandeville students Chase Erickson and Catherine Treuting, and KINDD Founder Karen Treuting.

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation recently donated new school uniforms to nearly 350 students at Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High in Denham Springs who were severely impacted by the flooding.

Brian Kish, president of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation said his organization donated $10,000 to Kids in Need During Disasters (KINDD), a fund that supports children affected by natural, manmade and environmental disasters, in order to purchase two uniforms for each of the 350 students identified as affected by the flood.  Each student received two pairs of short, two shirts and a sweatshirt in his or her correct size.

 

 

SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS HONORED FOR ROLE IN SUCCESSFUL DROPOUT PREVENTION PROGRAM

Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance Edward Foster and Principal of Pine Ridge Alternative School Tony Terry were recently honored at the International Association for Truancy and Dropout Prevention (IATDP) Conference for their participation in a cooperative dropout prevention program that has significantly increased the graduation rate in Livingston Parish.

The 21st Judicial District Court’s Juvenile Drug Court and Dropout Prevention Program received the IATDP’s “Program of the Year” award.  The program operates under the judicial supervision of Judge Blair Edwards of the 21st JDC and includes members of  Livingston Parish Public Schools, the District Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender, TASC/FINS and Juvenile Drug Court, the Office of Juvenile Justice and the local office of the Department of Children and Family Services.

 

 

September 2016

CLASS TIME ADDED TO 2016 ACADEMIC CALENDAR

calendarThe Livingston Parish School Board recently approved a revised academic calendar to add class time to the 2016 Fall calendar in the aftermath of historic flooding throughout the parish.  Along with the regularly scheduled classes that resumed on Sept. 12, instruction time was added by changing the following days into full class days:

  • Thursday, Sept. 15 (originally a ½ day for teacher professional development)
  • Friday, Oct. 7 (originally a Fair Day holiday; the Livingston Parish Fair has been cancelled)
  • Thursday, Oct. 20 (originally a Teacher/Parent Conference Day)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 16 (originally a ½ day for teacher professional development)

 

NEARLY ALL STUDENTS RETURN TO DISTRICT POST-FLOOD

More than 95 percent of all students enrolled in Livingston Parish schools for the 2016-2017 school year have returned to school since classes restarted after the flood.   “We have been working very hard to have all our students accounted for and back in a classroom,” Superintendent Rick Wentzel said.  He noted that most students are back with their original schools.  Also, Wentzel said some of the students who have not returned to class in the parish have contacted the school system and expressed an intention to return once they are able to return to their homes.  “We are pleased with the numbers and we will continue to work with our displaced families to get every student back before the end of the year,” he said.

 

SPRINGFIELD HIGH SCHOOL SET TO OPEN BY OCTOBER 3

0c25af745f8f18af733b2d7c007f7477Superintendent Rick Wentzel has announced that teachers, staff and students of Springfield High School will be able to return to the campus on Oct. 3.  All the school buildings have been cleaned and restored to working order, he said.  “We are very appreciative of the patience and cooperation displayed by everyone in the Springfield community, and we share in their excitement to see the campus reopen,” Wentzel said.  He especially thanked the community of Springfield Middle School for platooning with the high school.  Wentzel noted that the transportation and class schedules for both Springfield High School and Springfield Middle School will resume their normal times as before the flooding.

 

SCHOOL OFFICIALS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS TEAM UP TO COLLECT DONATIONS FOR STUDENTS

With thousands of homes flooded and families displaced, some of the greatest needs throughout the parish have been restoring school supplies, uniforms and shoes to students so they can return to the classroom equipped and ready to resume learning. School leaders quickly established a means to request and receive donations so supplies and clothing could be dispersed to students as soon as possible.  Juban Parc Junior High Principal Jeff Frizell, Literacy & Technology Center Director Kim Albin and Supervisor Ed Foster teamed up to collect, sort and distribute school supplies that were donated.  Curriculum Director Deborah Kropog managed a team of volunteers who collected and correctly sized uniforms and shoes.  They anticipate collecting and distributing nearly 10,000 uniforms by the end of the month.  Albany Middle School Teacher Joni Smith also used her position as the newly named Louisiana Teacher of the Year to reach out to organizations across the state and nationwide to give a variety donations.

New school uniforms

Thousands of uniforms are being distributed throughout the parish to students impacted by the devastating floods. Deborah Kropog said her team has taken advantage of donations and close-out sales to lessen the cost. Pictured from left to right are: Debbie Kropog, Linda Berthelot Ashley Aime, and Tammy Kuhn.

At the same time, Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor quickly responded to the school system’s call for help by reactivating the Assess the Need campaign.  Local radio, television and news organizations ran ads asking for assistance for Livingston Parish students.  One reply to that call for help came from three former LSU golfers who are on the PGA tour – David Toms, Andrew Loupe and Smylie Kaufman.  They recently presented Taylor with a $50,000 check to Assess the Need to help with flood relief for local students.

PGA golfers Andrew Loupe, Smylie Kaufman and David Toms recently presented a $50,000 check to Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor to benefit Assess the Need’s flood relief effort.  A PGA film crew documented the golfers’ recent visit to Denham Springs, and a video feature on the flooding and local recovery efforts is expected to air in the coming month.

PGA golfers Andrew Loupe, Smylie Kaufman and David Toms recently presented a $50,000 check to Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor to benefit Assess the Need’s flood relief effort. A PGA film crew documented the golfers’ recent visit to Denham Springs, and a video feature on the flooding and local recovery efforts is expected to air in the coming month.

 

Some other notable donations include:

  • a $50,000 donation to the school system from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation;
  • an in-kind donation of football equipment, helmets and shoes for the Denham Springs High School football team from the NFL and New Orleans Saints;
  • an in-kind donation of football equipment, helmets and shoes for the Southside Junior High School team from various parents and contributors, most notably Benjamin Watson, Charles Tillman, Dave Roberts and Schutt and Greg Barnett;
  • a $5,000 in-kind donation of instruments and an electric public address system for the Denham Springs Junior High Band from the Baton Rouge Guitar Center;
  • an in-kind donation of 600 pairs of shoes for faculty and students of Live Oak High School and Denham Springs High School from Varsity Sports;
  •  an in-kind donation of shoes from Fleet Feet and the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class.

 

MINI-PARADE BRIGHTENS SPIRITS

2016-09 Gray's Creek Elem Post-Flood Parade

The staff and faculty of Gray’s Creek Elementary School took their message of hope and welcome for their students to the street – literally! Led by Marshal Jerry Denton, Principal Melissa Dougherty and her team traveled throughout flood-stricken neighborhoods the week prior to restarting school, tossing out toys, candy and other goodies to their students.  They dubbed the mini-parade their “Swamp Tour” in honor of the school’s gator mascot.

 

TEACHERS DISPLAY COLORS OF UNITY

To help welcome the teachers, staff and students of Denham Springs Elementary to their temporary home at Eastside Elementary, the teachers wore purple and gold – Denham Springs Elementary’s school colors – as a sign of support and unity. The Denham Springs Elementary campus is still closed due to flood damage, so students from grades Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd are attending class at Eastside Elementary.

Caroline Swan, Bonnie Birch, Aileen Eckler, Judy Carr, Paula Meadors, Heather White, Robbin Lewis, Veronica Rushing, Leslie Dyess, Keeny Olinde, Lauren Kennedy and Christa Pierce.

Pictured from left to right: Caroline Swan, Bonnie Birch, Aileen Eckler, Judy Carr, Paula Meadors, Heather White, Robbin Lewis, Veronica Rushing, Leslie Dyess, Keeny Olinde, Lauren Kennedy and Christa Pierce.

 

July 2016

ALBANY TEACHER NAMED LOUISIANA’S TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Joni Smith, Louisiana Teacher of the Year

Joni Smith, Louisiana Teacher of the Year

The Louisiana Department of Education recently announced that Livingston Parish teacher Joni Smith is the overall 2017 Teacher of the Year.  Smith, who is a 7th- grade science teacher at Albany Middle School, was selected as the state’s top teacher from among 24 elementary, middle and high school teachers from across the state who advanced to the state department’s final-round of competition for the award.  The announcement was made at the 10th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium, which was presented by Dream Teachers, on July 15 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge.  The state department noted that Smith’s students rank first in Livingston Parish and fourth in the state for test scores in life sciences.  As part of Smith’s award, she was presented with a one-year lease on a new Mercedes, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge.

“We are overjoyed with Ms. Smith’s selection as the top overall teacher in Louisiana. She is a dedicated educator who not only works hard to ensure all her students learn and understand the material taught in her class, but she also encourages her students to become community leaders and to actively engage in serving those in need,” Superintendent Rick Wentzel said. “Ms. Smith is most deserving of this recognition, and she is a prime example of why Livingston Parish Public Schools continues to provide its students with a quality education.”

 

DISTRICT OPENS SUMA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CENTER

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School administrators and elected officials participating in the ribbon cutting, pictured left to right, were: (front row): School Administrators Bruce Chaffin, Sharon Anderson, Joe Murphy, and Tammy Kuhn; School Board Member Karen Wax-Schmitt; and Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks; (2nd row) School Print Shop Manager Jason LaBorde; School Administrator Steve Parrill; School Board Members Malcom Sibley, Buddy Mincey, Jr., and Jimmy Watson, and Superintendent Rick Wentzel. Also pictured are the Livingston Parish elementary school principals who held their first meeting in the new professional development center on July 19.

Livingston Parish school officials and community leaders officially opened its new Suma Professional Development Center July 19 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The new center is located at Suma Lakes, near the I-12/Satsuma exit, providing the district with centralized meeting space for large groups. The 4,000-square-foot space is equipped with presentation technology and wireless connectivity, and it allows approximately 150 people to meet around tables for discussion.

“Before accessing this center, our district lacked a space large enough to house large groups, causing us to lease multiple off-site spaces for many of our professional development sessions. Now, we can host our sessions in our own facility,” Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy said.  He praised central office staff member Tammy Kuhn for taking the initiative to locate the facility, and he thanked Jason LaBorde and his print shop employees and Robert Logan and the IT staff for their efforts to make the professional development center ready for occupation.

 

 PARRILL NAMED ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT

Stephen Parrill, Assistant Superintendent

Stephen Parrill, Assistant Superintendent

Stephen Parrill, a supervisor of instruction with the Livingston Parish public school system, will serve as the district’s newest assistant superintendent. He fills the vacancy created by Rick Wentzel’s move to superintendent.

Parrill brings to the job more than 24 years of experience in education, the majority of which have been in Livingston Parish. He has served as a supervisor of instruction in the district since October 2007, after serving three months as a substitute in that position. Before moving to the central office, Parrill served as principal from 2001-2007 of Springfield Middle School, where he first served as a teacher, beginning in 1995, then served as assistant principal from 1999-2001.

 

SADD CAMPERS LEARN ABOUT SAFETY

The local Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) organization held its first summer camp for grade 1-12 at Gray’s Creek Elementary School.  Elementary-aged students participated as campers, junior high students worked as assistants and volunteers, and high schoolers served as camp instructors.  The camp presented a variety of safety and prevention workshops.  Pictured are camp instructors Baylee Waldrop, who prepares a seatbelt safety lesson, and Tori Bowler, who is teaches a group of 1st graders about medicine safety.

The local Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) organization held its first summer camp for grade 1-12 at Gray’s Creek Elementary School. Elementary-aged students participated as campers, junior high students worked as assistants and volunteers, and high schoolers served as camp instructors. The camp presented a variety of safety and prevention workshops. Pictured are camp instructors Baylee Waldrop, who prepares a seatbelt safety lesson, and Tori Bowler, who is teaches a group of 1st graders about medicine safety.

 

 

ASSESS THE NEED CAMPAIGN UNDERWAY

Action 17 Web ad 2016Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor and a team of volunteers are making plans to provide school supplies for nearly 3,000 needy children in Livingston Parish Public Schools for the start of the new school year. Taylor is the sponsor of ASSESS the NEED, a parish-wide school supply drive that collects donations for school supplies each year to give students the tools they need to be successful in the classroom.  This year will be the 16th year that Taylor has sponsored the program. To date, the program has collected upwards of $600,000 to $700,000 in donations.  Taylor projects this year’s campaign will need to raise $50,000 to meet the anticipated need in all schools across the parish.

Taylor said volunteers will take donations for this year’s drive from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 30-31 at the three Wal-Mart stores in Livingston Parish – located in Denham Springs, Walker and Watson. He said volunteers will accept monetary and in-kind donations. Donations also can also be mailed to P. O. Box 1802, Denham Springs, Louisiana, 70727, given on-line at www.AssesstheNeed.com, or dropped off at the Livingston Parish Assessor’s office during regular work hours, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Supplies will be collected, organized and distributed to each school in the parish before the start of classes on August 4, allowing teachers and counselors at each campus to distribute the supplies on the first day.

 

 

June 2016

Wentzel on brick

Superintendent Rick Wentzel

LONG-TIME PARISH EDUCATOR RICK WENTZEL NAMED SUPERINTENDENT Rick Wentzel, assistant superintendent of school operations, will take over the district’s top position on July 1, replacing current Superintendent John Watson.  The Livingston Parish School Board unanimously approved the search committee’s recommendation at its June 16 meeting.  Watson announced his retirement earlier this year, saying he wanted to allow the board the option to select his replacement before the start of the new school year. Wentzel has spent 22 of his 30 years in education with the Livingston Parish Public School System. Prior to serving as assistant superintendent, he worked as the human resources supervisor and principal at Springfield High, North Corbin Junior High and Walker Junior High. He also has experience as an assistant principal at Southside Junior High, and as a teacher and coach at Live Oak and Denham Springs high schools.

 

ALBANY MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER NAMED STATE FINALIST

Superintendent John Watson recognizes State Middle School Teacher of the Year Finalist Joni Smith at a district ceremony honoring the parish’s top teachers and principals.)

Superintendent John Watson recognizes State Middle School Teacher of the Year Finalist Joni Smith at a district ceremony honoring the parish’s top teachers and principals.

Joni Smith’s passion for her students at Albany Middle School and her keen ability to connect what is taught in the classroom with everyday life experiences has made her one of the state’s top candidates for Louisiana’s Middle School Teacher of the Year. Smith is one only eight middle school teachers in the state who are in the finals of the annual state competition to be recognized on July 15.  Smith is a local prodigy who graduated from Live Oak High School and received her certification and bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2007.  She taught science at Westside Junior High in Walker for nearly seven years before moving to Albany Middle School in 2014.  

 

TEACHERS PARTICIPATE IN MATH WORKSHOPS

Southeastern Louisiana University Instructor Stacy Jemison instructs a room full of elementary math teachers at the Wholly Ground Coffee House in Walker as part of a four-day math methods workshop sponsored by the district.

Southeastern Louisiana University Instructor Stacy Jemison instructs a room full of elementary math teachers at the Wholly Ground Coffee House in Walker as part of a four-day math methods workshop sponsored by the district.

More than 80 elementary teachers and 30 middle school teachers from Livingston Parish Public Schools participated in math methods workshops earlier this month. Southeastern Louisiana University instructors Stacy Jemison and Dr. Daniel Acosta, Ph.D., led the seminars, which focused on conceptual teaching, instruction and assessment methods and techniques for math curricula.  The seminars were filled to capacity with more than 20 teachers on a waiting list to get in! The elementary workshop covered four days, while the middle school workshop went for six days.

 

WALKER HIGH SCHOOL BREAKS GROUND ON NEW FACILITIES

Livingston Parish school officials and community leaders participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking for Walker High School.  Pictured from left to right are:  Lynn Palmer Sibley; Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor; Former WHS Principal Margaret Peak; Superintendent John Watson; School Board Member Jimmy Watson; WHS Principal Jason St. Pierre; School Board Member Jeff Cox; Former School Board Member Wayne Sibley; Parish Councilman Jeff Ard; Parish Councilman Tracy Girlinghouse; Architect Jim Ziler; and Contractor M. Dwight Descant, III.

Livingston Parish school officials and community leaders participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking for Walker High School. Pictured from left to right are: Lynn Palmer Sibley; Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor; Former WHS Principal Margaret Peak; Superintendent John Watson; School Board Member Jimmy Watson; WHS Principal Jason St. Pierre; School Board Member Jeff Cox; Former School Board Member Wayne Sibley; Parish Councilman Jeff Ard; Parish Councilman Tracy Girlinghouse; Architect Jim Ziler; and Contractor M. Dwight Descant, III.

Livingston Parish school officials and community leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony on June 27 at Walker High School to launch the construction of the largest components of a $25 million capital improvement plan approved by voters in the Walker School District in 2014. The new construction projects include a main, two-story building with 32 classrooms, a spacious library, teacher work room and administrative offices that will face Florida Boulevard, creating a new front entrance to the high school campus. Also included are a new cafeteria with indoor and outdoor seating for 600-800 students; a new band room for 200 students, with practice and rehearsal rooms and storage for instruments; a new vocational-technical education building for agriculture, carpentry and welding classes; and a new air-conditioned gymnasium that seats 2,000 people.  The projects are expected to be completed around the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

 

DENHAM SPRINGS GRAD RECEIVES $500 SCHOLARSHIP

Susan Lynch, a 2016 graduate of Denham Springs High School, recently received a $500 scholarship award from Pelican State Credit Union.  Lynch was the Livingston Parish Students Against Destructive Decisions Student of the Year.  She plans to study journalism at LSU this fall. v

Susan Lynch, a 2016 graduate of Denham Springs High School, recently received a $500 scholarship award from Pelican State Credit Union. Lynch was the Livingston Parish Students Against Destructive Decisions Student of the Year. She plans to study journalism at LSU this fall.

May 2016

SUPERINTENDENT JOHN WATSON ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Superintendent John Watson

Livingston Parish School Superintendent John Watson recently announced he will retire at the end of June, bringing an end to more than 33 years of working in the district. Watson said he will retire six months before his contract’s end to allow the school board an opportunity to find his replacement before the 2016-17 school year begins.  Watson has served as superintendent of the Livingston Parish Public School district since 2012.  Prior to that time, he worked as an assistant superintendent, administrator, principal, teacher and coach.

 

LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOLS HONOR YEAR’S TOP PRINCIPALS

Livingston Parish Principals of the Year – The Livingston Parish Principal of the Year winners were honored at a special May 5 ceremony.  Superintendent John Watson presented plaques to the winners, pictured left to right:  Elementary School Principal of the Year Stacey Milton, Seventh Ward Elementary; Middle School Principal of the Year Jeff Frizell, Juban Parc Junior High; and High School Principal of the Year Kelly Jones, Denham Springs High School.  Frizell was also named a semi-finalist for the Louisiana Middle School Principal of the Year.

The Livingston Parish Principal of the Year winners were honored at a special May 5 ceremony. Superintendent John Watson presented plaques to the winners, pictured left to right: Elementary School Principal of the Year Stacey Milton, Seventh Ward Elementary; Middle School Principal of the Year Jeff Frizell, Juban Parc Junior High; and High School Principal of the Year Kelly Jones, Denham Springs High School. Frizell was also named a semi-finalist for the Louisiana Middle School Principal of the Year.

 

LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOLS HONOR YEAR’S TOP TEACHERS

Livingston Parish Teachers of the Year – The Livingston Parish Teacher of the Year winners were honored at a special May 5 ceremony.  Pictured with Superintendent John Watson, from left to right are:  High School Teacher of the Year Rosalind Dalberg, Live Oak High School; Middle School Teacher of the Year Joni Smith, Albany Middle School; and Elementary School Teacher of the Year Michele Link, Albany Lower Elementary.  Smith was also a state semi-finalist for the Louisiana Middle School Teacher of the Year Award.

The Livingston Parish Teacher of the Year winners were honored at a special May 5 ceremony. Pictured with Superintendent John Watson, from left to right are: High School Teacher of the Year Rosalind Dalberg, Live Oak High School; Middle School Teacher of the Year Joni Smith, Albany Middle School; and Elementary School Teacher of the Year Michele Link, Albany Lower Elementary. Smith was also a state semi-finalist for the Louisiana Middle School Teacher of the Year Award.

 

Those Livingston Parish teachers who were given the Teacher of the Year award at their respective schools are as follows:

2016 LPPS High School Teacher of the Year winners — Karen Drinnon, Walker Freshman High; Cortney Haser, Albany High; Bradley Watts, Doyle High; Rosalind Dalberg, Live Oak High; Kelly Becnel, Walker High; Dana Ray, Holden High; and William Bradford, Denham Springs High. Not pictured is Cade LeJeune, Springfield High.

 

LPPS Middle School Teacher of the Year winners --  Joni Smith, Albany Middle; Melissa Varnado, Holden High; Susan Scardina, Juban Parc Junior; Tonya Costa, Live Oak Middle; Nicole King, North Corbin Junior; Velvet Crow, Southside Junior; Lisa Hoover, Springfield Middle; and Cynthia Beall, Westside Junior High.

2016 LPPS Middle School Teacher of the Year winners — Nicole King, North Corbin Junior High; Susan Scardina, Juban Parc Junior High; Velvet Crow, Southside Junior High; Joni Smith, Albany Middle; Melissa Varnado, Holden Junior High; and Lisa Hoover, Springfield Middle. Not pictured are Tonya Costa, Live Oak Middle; and Cynthia Beall, Westside Junior High.

 

LPPS Elementary Teacher of the Year winners --  Michele Link, Albany Lower Elementary; Kim Ishee, Albany Upper Elementary; Debbie Kish, Denham Springs Elementary; Lisa Arledge, Doyle Elementary; Michelle Jones, Eastside Elementary; Bette Jo Sibley, French Settlement Elementary; Carrie Button, Freshwater Elementary; Hannah Gates, Frost; Rebecca Waguespack, Gray’s Creek Elementary; Shawn Wascom, Holden; Theresa Callicott, Juban Parc  Elementary; Rebekah Nickel, Levi Milton Elementary; Leslie Ellis, Lewis Vincent Elementary; Erin Nettles, Live Oak Elementary; Sunny Anderson, Maurepas; Thomas “Art” Clement, North Corbin Elementary; Michelle Patrick, North Live Oak Elementary; Tasha Pruitt, Northside Elementary; Amy Millet, Seventh Ward Elementary; Amanda Lavigne, South Fork  Elementary; Minnie Spinosa, South Live Oak Elementary;      Britney Gillich, South Walker Elementary; Yolanda McGee, Springfield Elementary; Sarah Watson, Southside Elementary; and Rachel Baio, Walker  Elementary.

2016 LPPS Elementary Teacher of the Year winners — (front row) Amanda Lavigne, South Fork Elementary; Bette Jo Sibley, French Settlement Elementary; Rebecca Waguespack, Gray’s Creek Elementary; Michelle Jones, Eastside Elementary; Hannah Gates, Frost Elementary; Kim Ishee, Albany Upper Elementary; Michele Link, Albany Lower Elementary; (back row) Rachel Baio, Walker Elementary; Theresa Callicott, Juban Parc Elementary; Thomas “Art” Clement, North Corbin Elementary; Carrie Button, Freshwater Elementary; Erin Nettles, Live Oak Elementary; Yolanda McGee, Springfield Elementary; Debbie Kish, Denham Springs Elementary; Rebekah Nickel, Levi Milton Elementary; Britney Gillich, South Walker Elementary; Leslie Ellis, Lewis Vincent Elementary; Minnie Spinosa, South Live Oak Elementary; Sarah Watson, Southside Elementary; and Amy Millet, Seventh Ward Elementary. Not pictured are Tasha Pruitt, Northside Elementary; Sunny Anderson, Maurepas Elementary; and Shawn Wascom, Holden Elementary.

 

STUDENTS PERFORM “TOP 40” MUSICAL

The Gray’s Creek Elementary 4th and 5th graders recently performed the musical “TOP 40” for a packed audience of students and parents.  The musical included dancing, acting, soloists, costumes, props, comedy and a 200-member voice choir.  Many musical hits from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s were highlighted, including impersonation performances of Elvis, The Beatles and Sonny & Cher.

The Gray’s Creek Elementary 4th and 5th graders recently performed the musical “TOP 40” for a packed audience of students and parents. The musical included dancing, acting, soloists, costumes, props, comedy and a 200-member voice choir. Many musical hits from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s were highlighted, including impersonation performances of Elvis, The Beatles and Sonny & Cher.

 

JUBAN PARC JUNIOR HIGH BAND EARNS AWARD

band-clipart-jazz-clip-art1The Juban Parc Junior High School 8th Grade Band earned a sweepstakes award at both the District and State Music Performance Assessment Festivals this spring.  The award is the highest honor offered at these festivals.  This is the first year the band participated at the state-level competition.  Band Director Abby South said she plans to have next year’s group compete at both festivals as well.  She said they will have an opportunity to get a “jump start” on sharpening their skills this summer during a music camp at the school.

 

LIVINGSTON PARISH NEWS PUBLISHER DONATES ITEMS

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Juban Parc Junior High School Band Director Abby South thanks Livingston Parish News Publisher Nancy David for donating a piano to the school. She said the donation will allow students to practice piano at the school, enable teachers to offer piano lessons at the school, and help to prepare piano students for their annual solo and ensemble festival competitions. She noted that the school plans to have a piano accompanist for its band at festival competition this next school year, which was not possible before without a piano at the school.

School leaders recently extended their sincere appreciation to Livingston Parish News Publisher Nancy David for donating several items to area schools in memory of her husband, Jeff David.  The donated items included an upright Kimball piano and weight equipment, which were given to Juban Parc Junior High, and a running treadmill and lat pull machine, given to Denham Springs Freshman High School.  All the equipment has been delivered and installed on the campuses.

 

April 2016

LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOLS RECOGNIZE TOP STUDENT OF THE YEAR WINNERS

The Livingston Parish School Board and Superintendent John Watson on April 21 recognized parish students in grades 5, 8 and 12, who were awarded Student of the Year honors at their respective schools, including the top three 2016 Student of the Year winners who represented the parish in the three grade categories in regional and state competitions.  The top three winners include Keagan Rabalais, a 5th grader at South Live Oak Elementary; Ella Otken, an 8th grader at Denham Springs Junior High; and Taylor Prudhomme, a senior at Springfield High School.  Rabalais advanced to the state finals in this year’s competition, being named the region’s top student in the 5th grade category.

The Livingston Parish Student of the Year winners were honored by the Livingston Parish School Board at a special April 21 ceremony. Pictured, left to right, are: (front row) Livingston Parish School Board members Jan Benton, Karen Wax-Schmitt, Livingston Parish Elementary Student of the Year Keagan Rabalais, Livingston Parish High School Student of the Year Taylor Prudhomme, Livingston Parish Middle School Student of the Year Ella Otken, Kellee Hennessy-Dickerson, (back row) Malcolm Sibley, James Richardson, Sid Kinchen, Buddy Mincey, Jr., Jimmy Watson, and Jeff Cox.

The Livingston Parish Student of the Year winners were honored by the Livingston Parish School Board at a special April 21 ceremony. Pictured, left to right, are: (front row) Livingston Parish School Board members Jan Benton, Karen Wax-Schmitt, Livingston Parish Elementary Student of the Year Keagan Rabalais, Livingston Parish High School Student of the Year Taylor Prudhomme, Livingston Parish Middle School Student of the Year Ella Otken, Kellee Hennessy-Dickerson, (back row) Malcolm Sibley, James Richardson, Sid Kinchen, Buddy Mincey, Jr., Jimmy Watson, and Jeff Cox.

 

All the Livingston Parish students who were awarded Student of the Year honors for their respective schools include:

The 2016 Livingston Parish High School Student of the Year winners include: (pictured from left to right) -- Madison Peters, Albany High; Kacey Chopin, Denham Springs High; Nathaniel Bankston, Doyle High; Brooks Courtney, Holden High; Haley Miller, Live Oak High; Holly Garland, Maurepas High; Taylor Prudhomme, Springfield High; and Laynie LeBlanc, Walker High.

2016 LPPS High School Students of the Year – The 2016 Livingston Parish High School Student of the Year winners, pictured from left to right, are: Nathaniel Bankston, Doyle High; Laynie LeBlanc, Walker High; Madison Peters, Albany High; Taylor Prudhomme, Springfield High; Brooke Courtney, Holden High; Holly Garland, Maurepas High; and Kacey Chopin, Denham Springs High. Not pictured is Haley Miller, Live Oak High.

 

The 2016 Livingston Parish Middle School Student of the Year winners include: (pictured from left to right) -- Grace Purvis, Albany Middle; Ella Otken, Denham Springs Junior High; Cassidy Charpentier, Doyle Junior High; Dannah Lynn Martin, French Settlement Junior High; Kristal Edwards, Frost; Josie Lea Purvis, Holden Junior High; James Gould, III, Juban Parc Junior High: Parker Giering, Live Oak Middle; Bryce Felps, Maurepas Junior High; Casey Gibson, North Corbin Junior High; Logan Whittington, Southside Junior High; Brielle Lee, Springfield Middle; and Ali Gautreaux, Westside Junior High.

2016 LPPS Middle School Students of the Year – The 2016 Livingston Parish Middle School Student of the Year winners, pictured from left to right, are: (front row) Ali Gautreaux, Westside Junior High; Casey Gibson, North Corbin Junior High; Brielle Lee, Springfield Middle; Ella Otken, Denham Springs Junior High; Parker Giering, Live Oak Middle; Kristal Edwards, Frost; (back row) Cassidy Charpentier, Doyle Junior High; Logan Whittington, Southside Junior High; James Gould, III, Juban Parc Junior High; Josie Lea Purvis, Holden Junior High; and Grace Purvis, Albany Middle. Not pictured are Dannah Lynn Martin, French Settlement Junior High; and Bryce Felps, Maurepas Junior High.

 

The 2016 Livingston Parish Elementary Student of the Year winners include: (pictured from left to right) – Clancy Morrison, Albany Middle; Brooke Foster, Denham Springs Elementary; Madelyn Morgan, Doyle Elementary; Sylvia White, Eastside Elementary; Emma Gaudet, French Settlement Elementary; Ada Ishler, Freshwater Elementary; Brooke Dupuy, Frost; Jenna Shakotko, Gray’s Creek Elementary; Autumn Herring, Holden; Tyler Kimble, Juban Parc Elementary; John Bergeron, Levi Milton Elementary; Sabrina Bishop, Lewis Vincent Elementary; Abbigail Delanoix, Live Oak Elementary; James Ernest, Maurepas; Ashly Veazey, North Corbin Elementary; Zachary Morgan, North Live Oak Elementary; Emma Carroll, Northside Elementary; Michael Dunlap, Seventh Ward Elementary; Tony Courville, South Fork Elementary; Keagan Rabalais, South Live Oak Elementary; Ava Pitarro, South Walker Elementary; Madalyn Harris, Southside Elementary; Katie Riddle, Springfield Middle; and Annabelle Fontenot, Walker Elementary.

2016 LPPS Elementary Students of the Year –The 2016 Livingston Parish Elementary Student of the Year winners, pictured from left to right, are: (front row) James Ernest, Maurepas; Tony Courville, South Fork Elementary; Madelyn Morgan, Doyle Elementary; Clancy Morrison, Albany Middle; Jenna Shakotko, Gray’s Creek Elementary; Keagan Rabalais, South Live Oak Elementary; Annabelle Fontenot, Walker Elementary; Brooke Dupuy, Frost; Ada Ishler, Freshwater Elementary; Sabrina Bishop, Lewis Vincent Elementary; Emma Carroll, Northside Elementary; Zachary Morgan, North Live Oak Elementary; Autumn Herring, Holden; (back row) Ava Pitarro, South Walker Elementary; Emma Gaudet, French Settlement Elementary; Katie Riddle, Springfield Middle; Tyler Kimble, Juban Parc Elementary; Sylvia White, Eastside Elementary; Brooke Foster, Denham Springs Elementary; Michael Dunlap, Seventh Ward Elementary; John Bergeron, Levi Milton Elementary; Madalyn Harris, Southside Elementary; Abbigail Delanoix, Live Oak Elementary; and Ashly Veazey, North Corbin Elementary.

 

TEACHERS HONORED AS 4-H LEADERS

Two Livingston Parish teachers were recognized at the Livingston Parish 4-H Achievement Day as 4-H Leaders of the Year.  Amanda Lavigne, the 4-H sponsor at South Fork Elementary, (pictured left) and Bronwynn Cobb, the 4-H sponsor at North Corbin Elementary, (pictured right) were presented with leadership plaques by Jan Fairchild, president of the Denham Springs Kiwanis Club.

Two Livingston Parish teachers were recognized at the Livingston Parish 4-H Achievement Day as 4-H Leaders of the Year. Amanda Lavigne, the 4-H sponsor at South Fork Elementary, (pictured left) and Bronwynn Cobb, the 4-H sponsor at North Corbin Elementary, (pictured right) were presented with leadership plaques by Jan Fairchild, president of the Denham Springs Kiwanis Club.

 

FOUR PARISH TEAMS ADVANCE TO STATE SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT

Livingston Parish is making its presence known in Sulphur during the final weekend of April, as four of the parish’s high school girls’ softball teams will compete in the 2016 LHSAA State Softball Tournament.

Holden and Maurepas earned the No. 2 seeds in their divisions, Class B and Class C, respectively. Holden entered the tournament with a 29-3 record, while Maurepas compiled a season-long record of 22-5. Both schools have state runner-up finishes in the past decade – Holden in 2011 and Maurepas in 2012.
Live Oak captured a share of its fifth consecutive District 4-5A championship this season on its ways to a 21-4 record a repeat state tournament appearance. The Eagles enter the tournament as the No. 5 seed.

Doyle is the parish’s “Cinderella” team in the playoffs. Ranked No. 12, the team upset a perennial powerhouse to earn one of the eight spots in the Class 2A championship tournament.

March 2016

SOUTH LIVE OAK ELEMENTARY STUDENT COMPETING FOR LOUISIANA’S STUDENT OF THE YEAR

Keagan Rabalais

Keagan Rabalais

Keagan Rabalais, a fifth grader at South Live Oak Elementary School, has been named a regional finalist in the state’s annual Student of the Year competition that is sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Education.  One student in 5th, 8th and 12th grade is selected from each of the state’s six regions to compete for the state’s top award at each grade level.  Rabalais and the other finalists will convene at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge on April 13 for an awards ceremony and to have the winners announced.  The Livingston Parish Public School System will honor Rabalais and all the Student of the Year nominees from each school at the Special Education Building, located next to the School Board Office in Livingston, on April 21.

 

 

VOTERS IN ALBANY AND SPRINGFIELD SCHOOL TAX DISTRICTS ASKED TO SUPPORT FUNDING PROPOSITIONS

april9The Livingston Parish School Board is asking voters in the Albany and Springfield school tax districts to support major improvement plans proposed for local schools in those communities. Both districts are seeking school bond issues on the April 9 election ballot.  The Early Voting period for the election is March 26-April 2.  Voters in both districts have paid ZERO DOLLARS in school construction taxes for the last four years!

 

The new Springfield High School will be equipped with 24-hour security, efficient carpool lanes and student parking, an air-conditioned gym, and a cafeteria constructed to also serve as a fully functioning auditorium.

The new Springfield High School will be equipped with 24-hour security, efficient carpool lanes and student parking, an air-conditioned gym, and a cafeteria constructed to also serve as a fully functioning auditorium.

Voters in the Springfield School Tax District are seeking to bond up to $14.25 million to construct a new Springfield High School.  The new school will be designed after the original high school that was destroyed in a 1971 fire, and it will be built on 88 acres that was purchased several years ago on the south side of La. Highway 42 at the intersection of George Settlement Road.  The new campus will allow the Springfield school system to transform from a three-school configuration to four schools, and will immediately alleviate overcrowding at all existing campuses.

The new elementary will be located on 13 acres that already has been purchased on La. Highway 43.

The new elementary will be located on 13 acres that already has been purchased on La. Highway 43.

Voters in the Albany School Tax District will vote to bond up to $13.4 million to construct a new elementary school, a new middle school gym and additional high school classrooms.  The proposed improvement plan also includes renovations and technology upgrades to the upper elementary school library.

 

 

 SPRINGFIELD HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK

2016-02 SHS Jungle Book PosterStudents in the Springfield High School Theatre Class will perform The Jungle Book in this year’s live stage production, which will be held April 11-15, with a Youth Night on April 6 and Talent Show on April 8.  The students will also host a dinner theater night on April 15.

This year’s play is based on Rudyard Kipling’s book about Mowgli, an abandoned child raised by wolves, who has his peaceful existence threatened by a man-eating tiger. To survive, Mowgli must overcome his reluctance to leave his wolf family and return to the “man village” with the aid of his panther and bear friends.  Tickets are on sale now.

 

 

HOLDEN AND DENHAM SPRINGS GIRLS’ BASKETBALL TEAMS COMPETE IN STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

Holden High School’s Kaitlyn Kropog is awarded a plaque for being named the 2016 Class B State Championship Game’s Outstanding Player.

Holden High School’s Kaitlyn Kropog is awarded a plaque for being named the 2016 Class B State Championship Game’s Outstanding Player.

Two Livingston Parish girls’ high school basketball teams competed for top honors earlier this month at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Girls Basketball State Championships, which were held at Southeastern Louisiana University. Holden’s team, which is coached by Craig and Pam Forbes, defeated top-ranked Florien in the final game, 42 to 34, to win the Class B State Title.  Sophomore Kaitlyn Kropog, who scored 13 points in the championship win, was named the game’s Outstanding Player.  Denham Springs’ team, which is coached by Shelly LaPrarie, fell short against Mount Carmel Academy, 59 to 48, to be named the Class 5A State Runner Up.

 

 

 

DANCE TEAM PAVED WAY TO NATIONALS WITH 6,900 PAIRS OF SHOES

The Live Oak Middle School Eagle Pizazz Dance Team collected 6,900 pairs of shoes.

The Live Oak Middle School Eagle Pizazz Dance Team collected 6,900 pairs of shoes.

The Live Oak Middle School Eagle Pizazz Dance Team found a way to help others and help themselves compete in the National Dance Team Championships at Walt Disney World in Orlando earlier this year. The dancers collected 6,900 pairs of new and used shoes and donated them to the Funds2Orgs, which is a fundraising organization that works with organizations to help impoverished people start, maintain and grow micro-enterprises in countries such as Haiti, Honduras and nations in Central America and Africa. The shoes help to create a sustainable economic impact in the countries by being shipped to on-the-ground business operators there who clean and make minor repairs to the shoes.  This enables individuals in those communities to feed, clothe and house their families.

 

MAUREPAS BETA CLUB RECOGNIZED AT STATE CONVENTION

Maurepas High School’s Senior Beta Club recently competed at the State Convention in Lafayette earlier this year where it received the designation of Champion Philanthropy for its sponsorship of a community Bike-A-Thon.  The money raised by the event helped to fund a state charity that supports families with children battling cancer.  Club Sponsor Yvette Hill, pictured center, received the award on behalf of the students.  Also pictured are Chaz Montaldo, left, who received 2nd place in the agriculture test, and Ava Borskey, right, who won third place in the creative writing contest.

Maurepas High School’s Senior Beta Club recently competed at the State Convention in Lafayette earlier this year where it received the designation of Champion Philanthropy for its sponsorship of a community Bike-A-Thon. The money raised by the event helped to fund a state charity that supports families with children battling cancer. Club Sponsor Yvette Hill, pictured center, received the award on behalf of the students. Also pictured are Chaz Montaldo, left, who received 2nd place in the agriculture test, and Ava Borskey, right, who won third place in the creative writing contest.

 

 

February 2016

NEW BAND ROOM AND GYM IMPROVEMENTS APPROVED FOR SOUTHSIDE JUNIOR HIGH

new_buclogo2The Livingston Parish School Board recently approved a new $558,000 band room that will be built at Southside Junior High as the result of an expansion and improvement of the campus gym.

School leaders recently decided to expand the gym to accommodate the school’s growing student body, but to do so, they must demolish the existing band room to make space.

School Board Member Buddy Mincey, Jr., said the current gym has bleachers only along one side of the building, allowing seating for about 500 people.  By expanding the building, the school be will able to install bleachers along another wall, bringing the seating capacity up to 900 or 950 people, enabling the school to seat its entire assembly for special presentations, awards programs and pep rallies.  Work crews will also install a new heating and air conditioning system in the gym.

The specifics of the new band room have not yet been finalized, but Mincey said the facility will feature more space and better acoustics.

 

LIVINGSTON PARISH OBSERVATORY MAKES WAVES

LIGOScientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, which is located north of Livingston, have reported observing ripples in the fabric of space and time, confirming a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity.

The ripples, called gravitational waves, were detected on Sept. 14 by both of the twin LIGO detectors in Livingston and in Hanford, Washington. Physicists conclude that the detected waves were produced during the merger of two black holes, which took place 1.3 billion years ago.

The announcement, which has been reported worldwide, is being hailed by scientists as a major breakthrough in better understanding the nature of gravity and the origins of the universe.

 

WALKER HIGH’S CREDIT UNION OFFERS “REAL WORLD” CONNECTION

Students at Walker High School are learning first-hand about banking and personal finance thanks to a “real world classroom” they share with Neighbors Federal Credit Union (NFCU). The high school houses a student-run Walker Wildcat Branch of NFCU.

Neighbors Federal Credit Union Member Service Office Jacquie Tillman, pictured far right, works with Walker High School students Chase Swann, Brianna Tullier and Mallory Duncan, pictured left to right, to manage the day’s financial activities at the Walker Wildcat Branch Neighbors Federal Credit Union.

Neighbors Federal Credit Union Member Service Officer Jacquie Tillman, pictured far right, works with Walker High School students Chase Swann, Brianna Tullier and Mallory Duncan, pictured left to right, to manage the day’s financial activities at the Walker Wildcat Branch Neighbors Federal Credit Union.

Space within the high school’s business education building accommodates two teller windows equipped with PCs, printers, and modems for member services. Daily activities include student and faculty withdrawals, deposits, account transfers, loan payments, and opening of new accounts to name a few. Student workers must complete a summer employee training and orientation to prepare them for their jobs.

“Our students do everything that needs to be done. They are basically learning on the job, and that is making school relevant for them,” Walker High School Principal Jason St. Pierre said.

St. Pierre said the credit union offers customers a Walker Wildcat debit card, and with every purchase made with it, NFCU makes a donation to Walker High School.

 

MAUREPAS HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY CLUB MEMBERS HONORED AT STATE CONFERENCE

Pictured, standing from left to right, are Maurepas High School Library Club members Sophia Salinas, Ava Borskey, Chaz Montaldo, Kayleigh Kuykendall, Cassie Wesley, Megan Alexis, and seated from left to right, Rebecca Weir and Cayla Breland.

Pictured, standing from left to right, are Maurepas High School Library Club members Sophia Salinas, Ava Borskey, Chaz Montaldo, Kayleigh Kuykendall, Cassie Wesley, Megan Alexis, and seated from left to right, Rebecca Weir and Cayla Breland.

The Maurepas High School Library Club recently attended the annual state library club convention held by the Louisiana Teenage Librarians Association (LTLA).  Cayla Breland was chosen as LTLA Secretary for 2016 – 2017, Sophie Salinas and Rebecca Weir won first place in the Wes Smith Essay Contest, and Ava Borskey received third place in the essay contest.  The school club also received first place in the Senior Bulletin Board contest.

The LTLA is a state organization composed of individual library club members from throughout the state. It has a full slate of student-elected officers and an executive committee that conducts business under the sponsorships of a branch of the Louisiana Library Associations (LLA) called the Louisiana Association of School Librarians (LASL). The Maurepas High School Library Club is sponsored by librarian Cindy Stilley.

 

LIVE OAK HIGH CHEER TEAM WINS GOLD AT NATIONALS, MIDDLE SCHOOL TEAM TAKES SILVER

The Live Oak High School squad includes seniors captain Gabbi Brown, Olivia Nesom and Ashleigh Ramsey; juniors Kolby Bond, Kendall Calmes, Julia Davis, Emily Hiestand, Carlie Hill, Bailee Klein, Georgia Langlois and co-captain Ally Mitchell; sophomores Laci Baldwin, Mason Bonura, Holland Hardison, Morgan King, Mandy Seale, Shelby Summers; and freshmen Kaitlyn Couvillion, Landyn Curtis, Aubrie Lewis, Ashlynn McFadden, Callie Prestridge.

The Live Oak High School squad includes seniors captain Gabbi Brown, Olivia Nesom and Ashleigh Ramsey; juniors Kolby Bond, Kendall Calmes, Julia Davis, Emily Hiestand, Carlie Hill, Bailee Klein, Georgia Langlois and co-captain Ally Mitchell; sophomores Laci Baldwin, Mason Bonura, Holland Hardison, Morgan King, Mandy Seale, Shelby Summers; and freshmen Kaitlyn Couvillion, Landyn Curtis, Aubrie Lewis, Ashlynn McFadden and Callie Prestridge.

Two Live Oak cheerleading squads came home with hardware after competing in the National High School Cheerleading Championship at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The Live Oak High School squad captured the national championship title in the Medium Varsity Division I and Super Varsity Game Day contests. The contests were produced by the Universal Cheerleaders Association.

The team from Live Oak Middle School walked away with a silver medal for a second place win in the Large Junior High Division.

The competitions showcased nearly 5,400 dancers from 345 teams and nearly 13,000 cheerleaders from 667 teams. Varsity Spirit will post segments of each performance on www.varsity.com and the competitions also will air on ESPNU and ESPN2 starting in March and will continue through mid-April.

 

CALENDAR SET FOR 2016-2017 SCHOOL YEAR

The Livingston Parish School Board School recently approved next year’s academic calendar, placing the first day of school on Aug. 4 and the last day on May 23.

Teachers will return for their first full day on Aug. 2 and work through May 24.

Students will have ample vacation time at Christmas, spring break, Thanksgiving and other holidays, plus an extra day off for next fall’s presidential election, since so many campuses double as voting precincts.

View the approved calendar at www.lpsb.org.

 

January 2016

 

CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS PLENTIFUL ACROSS DISTRICT

The Livingston Parish School Board has approved bid proposals and funding for construction projects throughout the district to address much-needed renovations and expansions to keep up with the parish’s growth. Here’s a brief report:

The board will put out bid requests soon for the new academic building at Walker High School, which is part of a major campus expansion that is estimated to cost about $23 million and will include more than 30 classrooms, a library, vocational training area, a cafeteria, band room and athletic facilities.  Voters in the Walker School District approved the funding for the improvements in a special election in May 2014.  Work has already begun on a new parent pickup area, utility upgrades and improvements to the field house, including lockers, a wrestling room, offices and areas for trainers.  Phase I of the construction also includes preparation work for the main classroom building.  The field house work is expected to be ready in August.  All the improvements are expected to be completed sometime in late 2017 or early 2018.

WALKER HIGH RENDER

At the same time, the board approved a $1.2 million bid for an eight-classroom expansion at Denham Springs High School.  The new expansion will include an on-campus credit union for students and faculty, a school store and choir room.

Construction crews also have been working to convert the old, unused Live Oak High School to a campus for students in 7th and 8th grades, freeing up space at the local middle and elementary schools.  Crews are putting in new floors, ceiling tiles and lights, as well as rewiring the school for increased computer and wireless Internet access. They are expanding the cafeteria dining room and changing bus and drop-off lanes, and upgrades are being made to the gym in hopes of making it a designated FEMA emergency shelter.  Federal monies have been allocated to replace the gym roof and add storm shutters.  School officials are hoping the $4.5 million project will be completed before the end of 2016.

Other improvements include a new cafeteria and classrooms at Southside Elementary; a new band room with a gym expansion and possibly a new library at Southside Junior High; and three classrooms and a multipurpose building at South Fork Elementary, which is in addition to four new classrooms that opened earlier this year.

On the east side of the parish, major renovations are underway at Holden High School.  New roofs are being built for the school’s cafeteria, special education building and gymnasium.  Improvements will also be made to the interior of the school’s historic gym, which was built in 1950 at a cost of $34,640 with the help of local community members, including many of the family members of recently retired principal Paula Green.  Those improvements will include new insulation and a vaulted ceiling, new lighting and improvements to the locker rooms and concession area.

Voters in the Springfield and Albany School Districts will go to the polls on April 9 to vote on two separate and independent funding proposals for construction projects to manage the continued growth in both of these communities.

2016-01 SHS drawing

Architectural rendering of new Springfield High School main building.

School officials are proposing to construct a new Springfield High School on land that has already been purchased for the purpose of a new school.  The current high school has run out of classroom space, as well as room on the campus for additional temporary buildings.  If voters approve a new $14 million bond proposition, officials will build a new high school on 88 acres south of La. Highway 42 at George Settlement Road.  The new school’s design will honor the community high school building that was destroyed in a 1971 fire.  Upon completion, the middle school will be moved to the current high school campus, where air conditioning is also being installed in the gym.

Albany school officials and community leaders are proposing to build a new elementary school on 13 acres north of town, off La. Highway 42, a new gym at the middle school and additional classrooms at the high school.  The $13 million project also includes renovations and technology upgrades to the upper elementary school library.

 

STUDENTS CONTRIBUTE MORE THAN $1,000 TO SHERIFF’S CRUSADE

2015-12 Albany Pie Throwing for Xmas Crusade

Albany Upper Elementary Fourth Grader Brayden Blackwell throws a whip cream pie in the face of his principal, Lisa Sessions.

Students at Albany Upper Elementary raised more than $1,000 for Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard’s Christmas Crusade, which works with local organizations and families to provide Christmas gifts to the children of needy families.

For their effort, the students were able to put a pie in the face of Principal Lisa Sessions and Assistant Principal Jeanna Saucier.

 

LIVINGSTON PARISH HOSTS REGIONAL STUDENT OF THE YEAR COMPETITION

Slouisianachool officials in Livingston Parish will host the state’s 5th Grade Student of the Year competition next month for a 15-District region that includes Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Bogalusa, St. Helena, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana and Livingston parishes, as well as the community school districts of Baker, Central and Zachary and the Baton Rouge Charter Academy at Mid City.

School Administrator Debbie Kropog said student winners from each school district will go before a panel of judges for an interview and to review their portfolios.   South Fork Elementary will host the competition, and Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor and Livingston Parish Federal Credit Union are helping to sponsor the event.

 

 

 

December 2015

LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOLS MAINTAIN STATE’S A RATING

copy-of-rank-a-logoLivingston Parish Schools continue to be among the state’s top performers, even with the introduction of new, more rigorous tests last school year, according to the Louisiana Department of Education’s latest accountability report released this month.  The district earned a District Performance Score of 102.5 to maintain its overall “A” rating, and 38 of the district’s 41 schools received an A or B.  The district has no D or F schools.

Superintendent John Watson noted that tremendous gains were made at the high school level, with improvements noted in virtually all areas, including End of Course exams, ACT scores and strength of diploma measurements, which include greater participation in dual credit, Advanced Placement and Industry-Based Certification courses. Parish students in grades 3-8 scored a high number of progress points on this year’s report.  The state awards progress points to schools who successfully push at-risk or struggling students to meet or exceed the learning goals set for them. Watson credits the progress to the district’s professional development efforts that have better equipped teachers with strategies to individualize instruction for their students.

 

SCHOOL BOARD CALLS FOR TAX ELECTIONS IN APRIL TO BENEFIT SPRINGFIELD AND ALBANY SCHOOL DISTRICTS

vote-button-md

VOTE APRIL 9

The Livingston Parish School Board recently approved two requests to call for school tax elections on April 9 to issue construction bonds to build a new high school in Springfield and a new elementary school in Albany, as well as major upgrades at the upper, middle and high schools in Albany. The two issues will be voted on separately by voters in their respective school districts.

Voters in the Springfield School District are asked to approve a 36.25-mill property tax that will pay for a 20-year, $14.25 million bond issue to fund the construction of a new high school campus. School Board Member Jim Richardson said the current campus has run out of room with its many temporary buildings on site.  The new school would be built on 88 acres south of La. Hwy 42 at George Settlement Road.  Once the new high school campus is completed, the current campus would be used to house students in grades 6-8.  At that time, the current middle school would be used to house grades 3-5, freeing up additional room at the lower grade levels.

Voters in the Albany School District will vote on a 45.26-mill property tax to pay for a 20-year, $13.4 million bond issue to build a new elementary school on 13 acres north of town off Highway 43,  a new gym at the middle school and additional classrooms at the high school. The construction improvement plan also includes renovations and technology upgrades to the upper elementary school library.  School Board Member Sid Kinchen said the improvements are needed to help alleviate overcrowding.

 

WALKER CHORAL STUDENTS WIN TOP STATE HONORS

Pictured from left to right are Kayla Spearman, Elizabeth Watkins, and Marian Luzier, choral students from Walker High School.

Three Walker High School sophomores were recently selected to the American Choral Directors Association All State Choir. Kayla Spearman, Elizabeth Watkins, and Marian Luzier performed in New Orleans at the Jefferson Parish Performing Arts Centre as part of their all-state selection.  Also, Luzier, who sings alto, was chosen to participate in the Louisiana Music Educators Association All State Choir.  Luzier competed in two rounds of auditions to qualify for the selection.  The first round of auditions were held at Catholic High School.  The top five singers in each voice part moved on to compete in round two of auditions at Lafayette High School.  Participants had to perform prepared selections and sight-read short selections.  The top five singers from each state district were chosen after the second round of auditions for the All State Choir.  Cathy McManus is the choral students’ Talented Music Teacher at Walker High School.

 

JUBAN PARC STUDENT WINS LOGO CONTEST

Pride of the Parish LogoThe Pride of the Parish Tournament Committee named 7th grader Grace Fruge’ of Juban Parc Junior High as the winner of the tournament logo contest. The annual, four-night middle school soccer tournament includes Southside Junior High, Live Oak Middle School and the parish team, LP Express.

Fruge’s logo was chosen from numerous other submittals for its originality and artistic creativity. The design will be used in all tournament publicity. Additionally, Lizbeth Fruge’ received a $50 Raising Cane’s Gift Card and certificate and will be recognized on Jan. 14 at DSHS Yellow Jacket Stadium during the Championship Games on the final night of the Pride of the Parish Tournament.

 

HIGH SCHOOL JUNIORS “CONNECT TO SUCCESS” WITH CHAMBER

2015-12 Chamber Connecting to Success Committee Members

Pictured are those Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce education committee members, speakers and school officials who participated in the “Connecting to Success” conference. They include, from left to right, (front row) Jamie Seal, LeAnn Stelly, Leesha Gleber, Delaine Hood, Trixie Sheffield, Amie Barton, Shannon Bernard, Regina Scott, Staci Polozola, Genevieve Howard, Chris Vaccaro, (back row) Margot May and John Watson.

More than 140 high school juniors from Springfield, Holden and Maurepas high schools participated in the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce’s “Connecting to Success” business conference at Carter Plantation on Dec. 1.  The students were exposed to topics on ethics, team building and personal presentation, and they spent time sharing with local business leaders.

Speakers and presenters included: James Cathey of North Oaks Health System; Lisa Roache of Gainey’s Concrete; Brian Abels of Boyer, Hebert, Abels, & Angelle; Tab Lobell, newly elected to the Livingston Parish Council; Josh Randall, Speaker; Jill Wyble of Our Lady of the Lake; Shannon Bernard of Primerica; Regina Scott of North Oaks Health System; Jamie Seal of Quality Engineering & Surveying; April Wehrs of Livingston Parish Chamber; John Blount of Blount General Contractors; Chad Bacas of Forte & Tablada; Trixie Sheffield of eLearningK12; Bob Toepher of Springfield Drug Store; Kay Landry of Covington & Associates; Leesha Gleber of Livingston Parish News; Dr. Ron McMorris of Elite Chiropractic; and Mike Fulmer of Berryland Campers.