Schools select new site

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 25, 2006

Elementary school to be built near East St. John


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board voted 10-1 Thursday in favor of putting the new planned East St. John ninth grade academy on land owned by the school board on the west side of East St. John High School.

Russ Wise was the only dissenting vote, though both Dr. Gerald Keller and John Ory expressed concern that the school size could be a problem.

&#8220I am reluctantly voting in favor of the placement of the ninth grade center because of the immediate need for space at East St. John High School after reviewing the survey and research submitted by school administration and staff who are overwhelmingly in favor of an on campus facility,” Ory said.

Debra Schum, principal of East St. John said putting the ninth grade academy on campus will allow for the expansion of other programs if the freshmen have their own complex.

&#8220It would be a campus contained within a campus where all science, computer and math labs and a library would be in one building while still being a part of high school activities while having their own identity,” Schum said.

The parcel of land which is also adjacent to the New Millennium residential development, scheduled to bring 1,000 homes to the area, is 275 feet wide and 1565 feet long.

The drawings presented to the board for the on campus site was a building 125 feet wide and 300 feet long which could be easily built on the site.

&#8220We owned a bigger piece of land on the site of development than we thought. After we contacted Duplantis Designers to ask how much land we owned there we realized that we had enough land to put the ninth grade center on the East St. John campus,” said Superintendent Michael Coburn.

The other option the board had been considering was to build a the ninth grade center on a separate campus on 33.33 acres of land in front of East St. John Elementary

The board also recognized its teachers of the year at each school for the 2006 school year. On the elementary school level the teachers of the year are:

Leslie Hamilton- LaPlace Elementary, Tonya Kennedy- John L. Ory Magnet, Shanna Beber- Lake Pontchartrain Elementary, and Willie Mae Smith- Garyville/ Mt. Airy Magnet.

The teachers of the year on the middle school grade levels are:

Erica Jayne Smith- John L. Ory Magnet, Paulette Eilers- East St. John Elementary, Malika Brown- Lake Pontchartrain Elementary, Patty Catoire- LaPlace Elementary, and Rosalind-Weber Davis- Fifth Ward Elementary.

In the high school grades, the teacher honorees are Yong Suk Lowery- East. St. High School and Armand Richard- West St. John High School.

All teachers of the year were awarded plaques by their school principals.

The district competitors who will compete in regional competition will be Shanna Beber of LaPlace Elementary who will represent the elementary grade teachers, Erica Jayne Smith of John L. Ory Magnet representing the middle grades and Yong Suk Lowery from East St. John High School representing high schools.

The superintendent report highlighted the efforts of Josie Clement Director of early childhood and adult education on winning two separate grants equaling about $700,000 to provide buses, playground equipment and rubber playground surfaces for the Head Start program.

The school board also voted to waive policy for discussion of finance distributions enabling the board to approve a request to grant East St. John High School band $30,000 to help them be able to participate in the Cotton Bowl halftime show in Dallas in January. The band has raised nearly $30,000 on its own through various fundraisers, donations and activities, including a contribution by West St. John High School of $1300.