St. John parents offer ideas, help for schools
Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005
By LEONARD GRAY
EDGARD – A virtually non-existant turnout of parents at West St. John High School resulted Thursday night in canceling the fifth of six strategic planning workshops held by St. John Parish Public Schools. The sixth and final workshop is set March 21 at West St. John High School in Edgard, starting at 6:30 p.m.
However, Superintendent Michael Coburn understood when told a Stations of the Cross was scheduled at the same time at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
Coburn said attendance has been good, from 50 or so at the first workshop to about 40 at Monday’s workshop at East St. John High School (see related story on Page 12A).
“This is their opportunity to have a voice in planning, and to tell us what they are looking for – what they like, what they don’t like,” Coburn commented Thursday.
The strategic planning sessions, which began in February, addresses the system’s purpose and mission, accomplishments, present situation and plans for the future.
Such future planning, Coburn said, is vital to address the needs of an ever-
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growing and shifting population. “There’s so much population on the east bank, especially in LaPlace. Right now, we’re in the beginning stages of redrawing tghe boundary lines for the school service districts.”
As population has increased in some areas, the local schools, especially LaPlace Elementary and East St. John Elementary, are packed with more than 1,000 students, in facilities built to accommodate 650-700 students.
The carefully-structured meetings review the context and purpose of the plan, the vision for the future, plans to encourage parental involvement and focused discussion, with Thursday’s meeting set to discuss communicating expectations and successes.
Board member Russ Wise, who pushed for the series of meetings even before Coburn began his tenure nearly four years ago, pointed out the vital need for such publlc discussions.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not sure if you will get to where you want to go,” Wise said.