St. John schools looks ahead

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 22, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE – Fresh off its semi-annual retreat, the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board met Thursday night and highlighted progress in several areas of the school district.

In his report, Superintendent Kevin George announced the district recently acquired a Head Start grant, which will award $80,000 to focus on early childhood programs. George thanked several local daycare owners and district employees for their hard work in securing the grant.

Pamelyn Smith, director of Head Start and the district’s early childhood programs, said the grant would aid the district in “creating a community network to make sure that all at-risk children will enter school kindergarten ready.”

Also at the March 20 meeting, Page Eschette, the school district’s human resources director, presented three new job descriptions before the board: account coordinator, instructional technology facilitator and curriculum facilitator.

The board was quick to approve all three positions, which have been discussed at length at previous meetings. George pointed out the three new positions will not cost the school district any additional money because of personnel changes and shuffling.

Director of Child Welfare and Attendance Elton Oubre presented the board with a truancy report. The report indicated attendance has either remained relatively the same or improved at district schools and that dropout rates at East. St. John High School, West St. John High School and St. John Alternative School have all decreased so far in the 2013-2014 school year when compared to 2012-2013 rates.

Board member Russ Wise said, “What people are hearing about our schools being ‘drop out mills’ isn’t true.”

Last year, a total of 43 students dropped out from the three high schools, and so far this school year there have only been 17 dropouts.