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Ory becomes magnet school

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

LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish will have another magnet schoolbeginning in the fall.

Students who attend the John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School inthe fall will have an edge over other students.

They will learn all subjects, but a special emphasis will be placed on written and oral communication skills.

Magnet school advisory committee members define communication arts as a program “that uses the communication skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking to teach basic skills. Writing is used in conjunctionwith reading in the context of studying science, social studies, literature and mathematics.”The magnet school committee, made up of parents, teachers, school board members, administrators, business representatives and Principal Teri Noel, was formed to study the different types of magnet schools available and to select the type that would best accommodate the students in St.

John Parish.

The reason the committee chose the communication arts magnet school, Noel said, is because, although students were passing LEAP tests, they were scoring low on the reading comprehension part of the test.

The committee researched elementary schools in Miami who were implementing the same type of magnet program and discovered big improvements in reading scores.

Students are already prepared to fit into the magnet setting, by completing activities requiring the usage of the two points of communication arts that students will be using in the fall.

To sharpen oral communication skills, each class had the opportunity to be the leaders during the morning assembly for a week or two, allowing students to share different forms of communication including songs, skits, plays and sign language.

Written communication has been practiced through the school’s post office, Wee Deliver, which is run by the second-graders. But second-graders weren’t the only ones to benefit. Students wrote letters to peersand teachers through the mail system.

The school also has a newspaper club that put out an issue each month.

Also, a music program was offered to all students, giving them the opportunity to write their own songs.

The school now not only implements Writing to Write in second and third grades, but in fourth through seventh as well. Writing to Write is availablefor second- and third-graders parish-wide. The program is computersoftware that teaches students the steps to go through in researching a topic and writing a paper.

These programs and many more, including a radio station, closed circuit broadcast station, and many writing activities such as newspaper, journal and book writing will be available to students who attend the school in the fall.