April 2018


Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard recently spoke to the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce about his concerns on how to best handle school safety.

At the request of school officials, Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard says he is considering asking voters to approve a new half-cent sales tax on the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot to fund the placement of school resource officers at each of the district’s 46 campuses.

The school system currently has seven resource officers who are responsible for all campuses parishwide. One officer each from the Denham Springs and Walker police departments serves the schools within city limits, while the other five are sheriff’s deputies assigned to geographic zones across the parish. The school district pays about half the cost of the officers through agreements with the law enforcement agencies.

Ard says the parish would need at least 50 SROs to meet the current demand, and he estimates the cost for each SRO to be approximately $111,000 annually, which includes wages, benefits, equipment and a mobile unit. Current sales tax estimates suggest a half-cent sales tax could raise between $8 million and $10 million.



Pictured, left to right, are 2017 National Winner Gabriel Garland, Albany Middle School; 2018 State Winner James Weedman, Albany Middle School; Teacher Christina McKay; 2018 State Winner Solomon Toney, Albany Middle School; Teacher Karen Pourciau, 2018 State Winner Colin Schultz, Live Oak High School; and Speech Therapist Allison Richardson. Not pictured are 2017 National Winner Zachary Yang, Southside Elementary; and 2017 State Winner Isaiah Johnson, Freshwater Elementary.

Livingston Parish Public School administrators, board members and faculty recently recognized the parish’s top winners in the “Yes I Can” competition at the state and national levels for 2017 and 2018.

The “Yes I Can” awards program, which is sponsored by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), recently recognized Livingston Parish students with exceptionalities for their outstanding achievements. The program recognizes accomplishments in six categories:  academics, arts, school and community activities, self-advocacy, technology and transition; as well as those education professionals who work with the children and youth.



The Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce recently awarded scholarships to 17 parish seniors during its annual State of Education meeting. Each scholarship, valued at $500, is made possible through contributions from member businesses.

Winners of this year’s scholarships included: pictured left to right, (standing) Ryan Bishop, Madison Milton, Shelly Ardonne, Luke Seguin, Marian Luzier, Emily Otken, Alana Chandler, Superintendent Rick Wentzel, Trevor Ray, Halee Morris, (seated) Hannah Delatte, Hannah Gautreau, Taylor Alleman, Rebecca Judge, Sara Hazleton, Nathalie Danie, and Aimee Ardonne.





For the remainder of the month of April, the Livingston Parish Library’s Albany-Springfield Branch will showcase the 15th Annual Talented Visual Art Show featuring artwork from K-12 gifted and talented art students from across the parish. The library is located at 26941 La. Hwy. 43 in Albany. Photo courtesy of the Livingston Parish News.





Pictured from right to left are: (top row) Teacher Sara Young, Rylla Gautreau, Carmelo Morris, Justice Deer, Jackson Poe, Abby Washburn, Autumn Stafford, Maddox Thompson, Teacher Melanie Hickman; (middle row) Morgan Scott, Charlie Jo Walters, Lailah Sylve, Myles White, Garrett Inman, Cohen Johnson, Hayden Wilson, Collin Christian; (bottom row) BraLynn White and Chloe LaCost.

First graders at Doyle Elementary recently celebrated World Down Syndrome Day with a special lesson that illustrated how children with Down syndrome are more alike other children than they might appear.

The most interesting moment of the lesson came when the teacher asked the students if they knew someone with Down syndrome and they all answered “no.” That’s because one of their classmates, Myles White, is a child with Down syndrome.

“What a beautiful demonstration of inclusion,” said Elise White, Myles’ mother and a teacher at Doyle Elementary. “Our family is so thankful Myles attends a school that places value on an inclusive education. We strongly believe when children are educated together every child benefits and learns to accept their peers regardless of differences.”

The lesson included a story about a Down syndrome boy and emphasized how children with Down syndrome can accomplish many of the same things as other children, but maybe with a little help and support to get it done.

At the end of class, the students participated in a demonstration that allowed the students to experience what it might be like for a Down syndrome student learning to write and talk. The students put socks on their writing hands and tried to write a sentence, and then they stuffed marshmallows in their mouth and tried to talk.