Elementary French program may be stopped in St. James

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 27, 2000

DANIEL TYLER GOODEN / L’Observateur / May 27, 2000

LUTCHER – Five St. James Parish foreign language teachers will lose theirjobs if the school board accepts a staff recommendation to discontinue the elementary foreign language program.

The recommendation appeared in board president Kenneth Foret’s administrative report at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The program, which costs $142,011 in salaries and benefits, had been allocated for the teachers by the Minimum Foundation Program, which regulates what money school systems get from the state each year.

Currently the MFP allocations do not provide funds for the French teachers, but the state is giving all the money in a lump sum, said Millie Matherne, administrative director.

The elementary principals have concurred with the staff recommendation.

The teachers, Lucia DiPiatzza, Gui-Marcel Mbira, Damien Bruyndohcfx, Denis Courduries and Boubakary Diakite, are currently uncertified.

In another matter, the annual separation notice for uncertified teachers was presented and 18 teachers were given notice. With the push for morestate certified teachers, the 18 are being released, though some or all may be signed on again for next year, said Matherne. If the school systemcan’t fill all the positions with certified teachers it hires back the most qualified teachers, she added.

Also, a preliminary report on the Iowa Test Basic Skills and the LEAP test was submitted. Some scores were better and some were worse.In fourth grade LEAP language arts, the district rose from 23 percent unsatisfactory to 24 percent. However, in mathematics, the district fellfrom 38 percent to 25 percent unsatisfactory.

Eighth-grade language arts fell from 29 percent to 19 percent unsatisfactory. The math scores also fell from 60 percent to 48 percentunsatisfactory. School board members later expressed their pride in theirstudents while admitting there is still much more to do.

Also: The school board’s complaints and grievances policy was revised allowing the complaints to pass through the superintendent before reaching the board.

Parish Spelling Bee winners were awarded medals and trophies: first grade, Mallory Duhe’, Paulina Elementary; second grade, Lance Hymel, Vacherie Primary; third grade, Kayla Moses, Sixth Ward; fourth grade, Randall Reynolds, Paulina Elementary; fifth grade, Jasmine Nicholas, Paulina Elementary; seventh grade Tyran McCall, Lutcher Junior High; eighth grade, Jesse Saul, Vacherie Elementary; and high school division, Ashley Vicks, St James High.

The board awarded the St. James Parish Physical Fitness Meet winnersthat proceeded to the state championships. For the boys, Cade Fontenot,Paulina Elementary, took first in the parish; Kymest Williams, Lutcher Elementary, took second; and Tad Brock, Paulina Elementary, was the alternate. The winners in the girls categories were Katie Duhe, firstplace, Paulina Elementary; Joyce Gravois, second place, Paulina Elementary; and Erica Harry, Vacherie Elementary, alternate.

In the state championships Duhe took second place in the pull-ups event.

Williams also took a second-place medal in the shuttle run event. Over allthe parish ranked seventh out of 39 Louisiana parishes.

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