Block scheduling biggest change in St. John system

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 14, 1998

REBECCA BURK ELLIS / L’Observateur / August 14, 1998

RESERVE – Although the beginning of the school year means changes abundant, St. John the Baptist Parish Superintendent Cleveland Farloughpredicts the biggest change in the school system will be the switch to block scheduling at East St. John High School.”I think this is going to be a good thing for our students,” Farlough said.

“It’s going to give our teachers an opportunity to do more in-depth teaching. More time will be allotted for them to do this. “It will also reduce discipline problems because there will be less traveling between classes,” he continued. “I think we are going to get thepositive things we are looking for both from the teachers and the students.”The Alternative School will also be changed with the beginning of the new school year. Farlough said the school will be able to hold more students -over 100. “It’s for students who just can’t adapt to a regular schoolsetting,” he said. “They work better in settings with less students and oneon one attention from teachers. They are challenged more in that kind ofsetting.

“Also the number of discipline problems in the regular schools will decrease because these students will be at an alternative program,” he added. “That will be very positive. We can make the schools safe andorderly so students can go and feel good and learn and not feel threatened.”Not only is the alternative program good for students who can function in a regular classroom setting, but it is good for those who can’t. “It’sobvious to me we are doing something right over there,” Farlough said.

“Eventually other school systems will replicate it. It has changed thebehavior of the students. They have been more interested in learning. Andtheir test scores went up. They have been passing.”If it were not for this program,” he added, “these students may have dropped out of school.”Farlough also commented on the huge success of the welding program at the two high schools and said that he expected this year’s program to be even better. “The welding program has progressed beyond my fondesthope,” he said. “We enrolled more students in that course than we everhoped for and there aren’t enough welders in industry.”In addition to teaching welding and adding welders to the community for the future, Farlough said the program also teaches students other skills.

“It teaches them work ethic and a good attitude about work,” he said. “Italso teaches them to work with others in a cooperative way to get things done.”This all goes hand-in-hand with the School to Career movement. “We aretrying to prepare our students so that when they leave the things they know or what they are trying to do will have them prepared to go straight into the job market or to a post-secondary education school.”Farlough said his main goals for the school year is to increase the salary of the teachers, update the technology program and to continue replacing buses. But there are other things he has in mind too. “We are going to emphasize discipline and safety in all of the schools so students will be comfortable,” he said. “We want to get our students towhere they want to go by continuing to work with the School to Carer effort because the majority of the students don’t go to college.”Besides all of these changes and goals, Farlough is excited about the new John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School. “That’s going to be a verygood school,” he said. “I project its going to continue to climb to be notthe best, but one of the best in the school system. The teachers are verycompetent and have bought into the concept and the philosophy of the principal. It’s going to be one of the jewels in our crown.”John L. Ory, as well as the other magnet school – Garyville/Mt. Airy Mathand Science Magnet School – will also have another big change. Mandatoryuniforms will be worn by students. “It helps discipline,” Farlough said.”But it also gives the kids something to feel good about and identify with.

They feel proud wearing those uniforms with the insignia on them. And itstops all of the foolishness of trying to compete with clothes.”