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West bank leaders create plan to help students

L’Observateur / October 28, 1998

EDGARD – Ministers and representatives of most west bank St. John the BaptistParish churches met with school officials and community leaders Oct. 22 atWest St. John Elementary School. They met to brainstorm ideas and create plansfor the benefit of students of the parish.

“If the ministers and church leaders work together with the schools we have a better chance to get important messages across to the families of this parish, and we have a better chance to gain parental involvement in education,” said WSJE principal Shelton Smith.

Smith, his staff and students hosted more than an important summit. They puton quite a show. Jairen Fiffie, a seventh-grade student, opened with a prayerfollowed by a welcome from Vanita Perry, a sixth-grader. After a self-introduction of each guest, the West St. John Elementary School Chorusperformed a stirring gospel selection.

Then came the brainstorming of ideas between the school administrators and church representatives. The result were the following five action steps to befollowed: Awards Programs. Each church will plan during the school year to recognizeWSJE students who are members of that church for achievements each has made.

This will be particularly helpful in recognizing student improvements.

A Calendar of Events will be provided to each church by the school, and activities can be shared with the community about upcoming events with which parents may become involved.

Bring your report card to church. Periodically throughout the year, studentswill be encouraged to bring their report cards to church to be shared with the congregation. This is designed to recognize successful students and to openavenues of help for others.

Tutoring and mentoring by church members. This is designed to broaden thebase of support for students struggling to learn.

Communication from church to school. The school will help the churches getinformation to families about upcoming activities which can benefit their children The idea for this program began with Smith.

“When our children are babies, we are careful to teach them how to stand, how to walk and how to talk,” said Smith. “Why can’t that same kind of attention andsupport help their growth now that they are older? That’s what we are trying to create here.”

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