Success evident at Leon Godchaux

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 25, 2009

By David Vitrano


RESERVE—According to a report delivered by Precious Joseph, director of the Leon Godchaux Accelerated Program, the program for at-risk youth has seen improved results every year.

“There had to be a special program to deal with that sort of child,” said Joseph.

In its initial year, 2004 – 05, the program took in 47 students who had fallen behind severely in their studies. Of those, 32 have either graduated or are continuing their studies in one form or another. Of those original 47, four did not pass the LEAP test. In total, that is a 74 percent success rate for that class of students.

According to Joseph, “The teachers were really upset with themselves.”

In contrast, for the 2008 – 09 school year, 35 students entered the program, and all remain active in their pursuit of education. The report states 32 of them are currently in the ninth grade while two others are taking classes at either a vocational college or adult education center. The remaining student transferred out of the district.

The results from 2007 – 08 show an identical 100 percent success rate. Of the 19 students who entered the program that year, all passed the LEAP and are in either ninth or 10th grade. Three of them have transferred.

The trend of the report is clear. Each year since its inception, the program has increased its rate of success.

Joseph even pointed out two children who have since leaving the program gone on to represent West St. John High School at the district social studies fair.

Joseph also commended the teachers at Leon Godchaux, who she said often go to great lengths to provide individualized instruction for the students.

“They deserve to be recognized,” said Joseph.

One of the teachers, Elizabeth Michellini, spoke to the school board about the mornings she spends providing individualized reading instruction to those students willing to participate.

Said Michellini, “I really enjoy being associated with the program.”

After the report, which is presented annually to the board, Russ Wise, who represents District 8, praised the work of Joseph and her associates.

“This is one of the most successful programs I have seen this school system involve itself with,” he said, adding that without the program most of these children would end up on the streets.