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After-school care, Saturday detention programs being studied

STACEY PLAISANCE / L’Observateur / October 21, 1998

LAPLACE – A districtwide Saturday detention program and after-school care are two services the St. John Parish School Board is aiming toinstitute in parish schools.

Both programs are still in planning stages and are currently under committee discussion by the board, said Elton Oubre, coordinator of the Safe and Drug-Free Program for the parish school system. Board action onthe proposals will be taken at a later date.

Currently, East St. John High and the St. John Redirectional School haveSaturday detention programs, but they are not congruent, Oubre said, and the board wants to implement a comprehensive, uniform standard for all Saturday detention programs in the school district.

“There would be a program for schools to follow specific guidelines as far as the number of kids, criteria and other guidelines so that there’s no confusion from one school location to the next,” Oubre said. “This wouldset a standard of how students will be handled and a standard of behavior.”A survey was conducted to determine the amount of need by the community for public after-school care. Oubre said certain communitiesdidn’t have interest in the program, but elementary school communities did respond with interest.

Associate Superintendent Chris Donaldson said he projects greater need for after-school care among parents of elementary school children, and the survey results will weigh heavily on the board’s decision.

“Depending on the need from the parent response will determine the grades and age levels of the students provided with after school care,” Donaldson said. “We were targeting elementary students, but it depends onwhere the need is.”Donaldson said this is not the first time discussion of after-school care has been initiated, and the survey will provide a concrete evaluation of where the interest and need lies.

“It’s been mentioned before, so the parents of all St. John Parish studentswere surveyed and teachers, also,” Donaldson said. He said the teacherswere proposed to serve as the after-school care-takers, but other options are also being discussed.

“I don’t think the teacher response will be as great as the parent response because after the teachers spend all day with the students, I don’t think many are going to want to stay even longer,” Donaldson said. “Butinterested teachers will be employed to stay after school with the students.”Donaldson said this program is intended to be beneficial to the students as well as their parents. It is intended to serve as a continued educationalopportunity for students, and the teachers will assist the students with homework and other studies, Donaldson said.

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