National conference hosted by St. Charles a success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / October 18, 2000

LULING – A national conference of school system decision-makers, hosted by the St. Charles Parish School System, “went off without a hitch,” accordingto a spokesman.

The St. Charles Parish district played host to the 2000 National Federationof Urban and Suburban School District’s annual conference, Oct. 11-14.More than 150 participants from school districts across America, from Atlanta to Spokane, Wash., attended the NFUSSD conference, which includedseveral school tours as well as workshops and discussion sessions.

The conference was headquartered at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans.

“Some of the attendees had been going to these conferences for 17 years and said this was the best ever,” Public Information Officer Rochelle Touchard reported. “The networking was a great experience, especially fornew school board members.”The meat of the conference took place on Oct. 12, when LouisianaSuperintendent of Education Cecil Picard addressed the organization on the topic of school accountability.

Student groups provided special entertainment at various times during the course of the conference, including the Hahnville High Talented Drama group, the HHS band, the Eual J. Landry jazz band and the Allemands ElementaryCajun Dancers. There was also a presentation of the flag by the DestrehanHigh School ROTC Color Guard.

“You try to keep people entertained and keep them together,” Touchard added. “Bourbon Street is very tempting, but they kept together.”Local guest speakers included 29th Judicial District Judge Emile St. Pierreand Parish President Albert Laque.

Panel presentations highlighted topics including School-to-Career programs, district accountability standards, student counseling and guidance and at- risk students in reading and math skills.

The final day of the conference included tours of Destrehan and Hahnville high schools, J.B. Martin and Albert Cammon middle schools, LulingElementary School and the ADAPT and Court schools.

At Luling Elementary, for example, Peggy Jo Kennett, Jane Callister and Cheryl Phipps observed the phonemic awareness and reading recovery program, hosted by principal Rick Treuting and reading recovery teacher Jonni Gonzales.

To pay for it all, a host of local businesses and organizations chipped in, including AM-PM Temporary Services, Bunge Corp., CciComputer ServicesInc., Monsanto Company, Otto Candies LLC, Norco Refining, Rex HymelCompany, St. Charles Business Association, St. Charles Parish Hospital, St.Charles Herald-Guide, Union Carbide Corp., Zeringue’s Plumbing, SouthernCarpet and Interiors, Shell Chemical, Montell USA, Louisiana Insurance Service, L.C. Zeringue Builders, Crown Roofing Services Inc., TimelessImages, Babin Insurance Agency, BellSouth, and architects Glenn C. Higginsand Murray & Associates, besides several other .

Donations also came from Alex Patout’s Louisiana Restaurant, Crescent City Brewhouse, Cafe du Monde, Esperanza Restaurant, First American Bank, Hard Rock Cafe, Jackson Brewery, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Musee Conti Wax Museum, New Orleans Zephyrs, Planet Hollywood and Pat O’Brien’s.

Other donated items and services came from Port of South Louisiana, Willowdale Country Club, Occidental Chemical Corp., Landry Lumber Co.,District Attorney Harry Morel, Cox Communications and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., among others.”We were very proud and honored to host the conference,” Touchard said, after nearly two years of planning. She said the following year will seeNFUSSED meet in North Kansas City, Mo.

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