Multimedia program back on St. John school agenda

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2006


Staff Reporter

RESERVE-A proposal to put new multimedia production equipment at West St. John High and West St. John Elementary will be back on the agenda for this week’s school board meeting. The vote to implement the program was put on hold at the Oct. 19 meeting.

The discussion fueled an emotionally heated debate between board members when board member Elexia Henderson suggested a waive in policy to vote on the implementation of the program.

Board member Matthew Ory was in support of the motion to waive, &#8220I think it is unfair to tell the communities on the West Bank that we cannot approve this program because we haven’t looked at it hard enough when we could have done something on this 12 months ago. The West Bank has done their research and all the footwork in order to get complete information about the program.”

&#8220Every time the West Bank has asked for something, we have told them no because they don’t have research and when they have the research we still tell them no and that is not right,” Ory said.

Ory also applauded the West Bank residents for coming together to try and get something done for their community.

The West Bank has had several meetings about getting the multimedia production package, which includes a dvd/vcr player, a laptop computer equipped with microphones and a document camera.

&#8220Nobody has told the East Bank they have to wait for more research, when approving money for a new school or land”, board member Russel Jack said.

&#8220We have done our research and we have talked with people to see how it would work in our school and it’s what they want for their school,” Jack said.

The board decided not to waive policy and vote because the motion to waive did not pass with a 2/3 majority vote from the 11 member board.

&#8220I have never been invited to any kind of meeting on the West Bank about this technology program and had we voted tonight I would have voted no, but I would have thoroughly enjoyed participating in anything that would benefit our students,” said school board member Russ Wise.

&#8220I am not against putting this program at West St. John, but I think we need to know more about it,” said school board member Clarence Triche.

Russel Jack told members after the failed motion that maybe he should have let members know more about the meetings so they could be better informed.

Members then agreed that looking at the multimedia program not as East or West Bank, but as a whole system was the better course of action.

West St. John principal, Elton Oubre said to put this program into the school would give West. St. John the opportunity to be a pioneer in classroom technology, and if successful it could be a pilot program for a multimedia and production design career track.

West St. John currently has one classroom with the multimedia package they received through a grant application.

Superintendent Michael Coburn said that he would visit other parish school systems with similar programs to better familiarize himself with options available for implementing this type of program.

&#8220I don’t want to deny anyone anything in our schools,” he said.

Terry Lawrence, an instructional design consultant said the program she has put together for the West Bank was top of the line technology that included distance learning opportunities and that it lets teachers take a more integrated approach to technology in their classes.

The board is scheduled to vote on the technology program on Thursday night.