St. Charles HOSTS program will include language arts

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 17, 1998

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / July 17, 1998

LULING – Coming off a successful year with its HOSTS (Helping One Student To Succeed) Math program, the St. Charles Parish School Boardvoted to expand the program to include Language Arts for the 1998-99 school year.

The HOSTS Language Arts program will be implemented at each of the four middle schools in the parish, in the Teenagers in Middle Education (T.I.M.E.)programs at Eual J. Landry and Cammon middle schools and in theTransitional Ninth Grade program at Destrehan and Hahnville high schools.

The program is designed to strengthen students’ vocabulary development, comprehension skills, written expression and critical thinking abilities.

The HOSTS Math program was implemented at Landry Middle School during the 1996-97 school year and expanded to all four middle schools last year.

For the first time during the 1997-98 school year, with the HOSTS program being the only intervention in the school mathematics curriculum, 94 percent of the students passed the Math LEAP test, a 5 percent increase over the district’s previous high. And Landry was recentlyrecognized by the national organization for exemplary performance.

Carolyn Woods said the Language Arts program has been in place somewhere for over 20 years and that the school district has purchased the most current program. The administration looked at programs in otherdistricts with the one in Vancouver, Canada, being the one that best matched the district’s high expectations for students.

When asked about the cost of the program, Woods said the district is being allowed to spread the payments over three years and is really getting six programs for the price of four with it getting the T-Nine and T.I.M.E.components for free. Woods also emphasize that the current staff will beused and that additional personnel will not be needed.

The backbone of the HOSTS program are mentors from the community who volunteer their time to work with students. They not only provide tutoringbut also serve as role models. Last year, 381 mentors from 32 localbusinesses participated in the program. Woods emphasized theirimportance Wednesday night.

“This is an opportunity to match up caring adults with students entering adolescence,” Woods said.

Board member Mary Bergeron asked why the district is waiting until the middle school level to implement the program. Woods said the district hasprograms in place for the lower levels, such as Reading Recovery and the 4-year-old program. Superintendent Rodney Lafon also said that is wherethey thought was the greatest need and that they can always look at implementing it at the elementary level in the future.

Board member Michael Henderson asked about identifying the effectiveness of the program. Lafon said students are tested at thebeginning of the year to see where they are and again at the end of the year to see the progress they have made. The district also administers itsown tests. Lafon also said the HOSTS organization measures the successof its program in terms of student gains.

Board president Wayne Roussel inquired into how many students would be in the program. Woods estimated that 60 T.I.M.E. students, 40 students inTransitional Nine and 20 students per grade at each of the middle schools would be involved.

Board member Alfred Green pointed out that the program is not just for those students considered “at-risk.””It is for academic students as well,” Green said. “It goes across theboard.”In other business, Lafon reminded the community that school opens Aug.

12 for students at Destrehan High School and Aug. 17 for the other schoolsin the district.

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