LIVINGSTON SCHOOLS IMPROVE OVERALL PERFORMANCE THROUGH COVID CHALLENGES
Livingston Parish Public Schools improved its overall performance score to 90.2 for 2021, an increase of 1.7 points as compared to the pre-COVID scores released in 2019, according to the Louisiana Department of Education’s accountability report released earlier this month.
Livingston Parish schools finished fifth out of 69 districts statewide and is one of only three districts in the top ten to increase the simulated district performance score from 2019. In 2019, Livingston Parish Schools finished tenth out of the state’s 69 districts.
“We know that having our students return to our campuses as quickly as they did and having our campuses offer hybrid configurations and creative alternatives that allowed our students to be in face-to-face learning environments with our teachers was the key to minimizing learning deficits created by the COVID pandemic,” Superintendent Joe Murphy said. “Often this effort put an undue burden on our teachers and curriculum leaders, but it was necessary to overcome the challenges.”
The state report showed that the district’s high schools improved their overall cohort graduation rate by 12.4 index points and their overall Strength of Diploma index score by 8.3 points. Also, the progress index for grades 3-12 increased 2 points, while the progress index for grades 3-8 increased 3.3 points.
At the same time, the report showed 32 of the district’s schools were named Top Gains Honorees, which were recognized for a student progress score of 90 or greater from one year to the next, and 12 schools were named Equity Honorees, which were recognized for excellence in educating students with disabilities, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students. Nine schools received both honors.
DISTRICT ANNOUNCES TOP PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS OF THE YEAR
The Livingston Parish School Board on Dec. 9 recognized those teachers and principals in the parish who will advance to the state’s regional competition to be evaluated as potential finalists for this year’s state principal and teacher of the year awards.
The district’s top teachers include Elementary Teacher of the Year Dana Thames, a fifth-grade English/language arts teacher at Levi Milton Elementary; Middle School Teacher of the Year Christina Landon, an eighth-grade math teacher at Live Oak Junior High School; and High School Teacher of the Year Gary Mitchell, a history teacher at Live Oak High School.
The district’s top principals of the year include Elementary Principal of the Year Ginger Bishop, principal of Northside Elementary; Middle School Principal of the Year Carolyn Wilkinson, principal of North Corbin Junior High; and High School Principal of the Year Beth Jones, principal of Live Oak High School.
“All of these winners are outstanding individuals who make our district better every day. The work they do is integral to our school system being highly respected across the state. I want to thank them for their professionalism, for being great educators, and dedicating themselves to the children of Livingston Parish,” Superintendent Joe Murphy said.
WALKER ELEMENTARY STAFF SPREADS CHRISTMAS CHEER
Staff from Walker Elementary School spent an evening spreading Christmas cheer to the students, families, and community members in their school district. They loaded up on district buses to visit several locations where they sang Christmas carols and handed out small gifts to students. One of Santa’s helpers, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Officer Deontony Williams, also participated in the visits.
The group made stops at St. Mark’s Baptist Church on Dunn Street, Punk Smith Park on Burgess Avenue, Country Village Apartments on Burgess Avenue, and a green area along Alex Box Boulevard.
Principal Kerma Luzier said school employees visited with nearly 100 students and their families. The gifts that were distributed to the kids were purchased and donated by the school’s staff and teachers.
“It’s important that we connect with our students on and off the campus. We want them to know that we’re invested in their well-being in all that they do,” Luzier said. “We all loved this time with our families, and we want to make it a Walker Elementary tradition.”
DSHS STEM STUDENT WINS CONGRESSIONAL APP CHALLENGE
Denham Springs High School junior Kameron Arceneaux has been named the winner of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District. U.S. Congressman Garret Graves visited the STEM & Robotics Center to present him with the news.
Graves said the contest challenges students to develop an app product that can provide a needed service. Arceneaux took up the challenge earlier this year – asking his father to purchase books on how to write code and working through financial concepts for in his program with help from his mother – to develop a money management app called “InPocket.” Graves said a team of computer scientists and programmers reviewed the many entries to determine that Arceneaux’s app was the best.
Arceneaux has also taken courses at the STEM & Robotics Centers in computational thinking, cybersecurity and data manipulation and analysis.
“I wanted to develop something to help people become more financially responsible, because I know many people have problems with that,” Arceneaux said.
Graves presented Arceneaux with a framed certificate and encased American flag that had previously flown over the capitol. He said Arceneaux will receive an additional prize to be presented by the competition organizers, and he will have his work put on display in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.