St. James Parish getting wired

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 28, 2001


VACHERIE – A new technology initiative in St James Parish promises to make educational information more easily accessible over the web to teachers, students, parents, and other community members. Last summer, parish voters renewed a 6-mill obligation fund to generate $1.5 million for enhanced technology in St James Parish public schools. On April 24, the St James Parish School Board approved the first phase of a three-phase project to design a web-based student information system. “The school board,” said software designer at Stargazer Technology, Ryan Roussel, “has contracted us to come in and develop a web information system in order to put the classroom online, to get the information in the home, and to the parents.” Sonny Zeringue, a computer technician for the school board, explained that creating a web-page is normally cumbersome, as one has to convert documents to Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and download from and upload to a server. But with the new software developed by Ryan Roussel and Neville Laiche, HTML is not needed. “We decided if we made it simple enough, an average person could change content easily,” said Roussel, who estimated that the project would take about 20 weeks to finish. “It is not a complete project. It is a work in progress.” When the web-based student information system is in place, it will allow parents to check homework assignments, as well as a calendar of events and news articles. Teachers will also be able to share lesson plans and advice about educational materials. According to Rhonda Lee, technology coordinator for the school board, this is only the first project under the new technology funding. “It will cost only $47,000 of the million and a half,” Lee said. In other business, the school board authorized negotiations to extend a road at St James High School, re-surface a parking lot at Lutcher High School, and seek provision of a parish-wide maintenance program. It also declared April 26 as St James Parish Retired Teachers Day.