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Local author hosts book signing

LAPLACE — The teacher is the heart of the classroom and the paraprofessional represents the lungs, working in unison to help the children of St. John the Baptist Parish thrive.

Reserve native and novelist Sanovia Coleman Nelson sees a need for open communication for more effective teamwork in local schools.

Her new book, published last week, elevates classrooms in need of resuscitation via C.P.R. – Communication, Purpose and Relationship.

Nelson is hosting a book signing for “Teachers and Paraprofessionals: Understanding Each Other’s Roles Using C.P.R.” from 10 a.m. to noon July 13 at Chung’s Heavenly Café, located at 607 Belle Terre Blvd. in LaPlace.

Books will be available for $15, and those who pre-order on Eventbrite will receive a free gift.

Nelson has worked on the novel for a year to address ongoing needs within the school system, including teacher retention.

“I think the current need is for teachers to keep their passion and not become burned out with having so many tasks on hand,” Nelson said. “Once C.P.R. is applied, it will cut down the chaos, and it will cut down on teachers feeling so overwhelmed with too many burdens.”

Nelson started out as a substitute teacher in St. John Parish around 2004 to spend more time with family. She fell in love with the school system and became a certified paraprofessional in 2008, working at East St. John Elementary for one year and LaPlace Elementary for the next seven.

“I became more involved in the school system, and I saw the need that the children had, not just for substitute teachers and teachers, but for people who have a passion and care about them,” Nelson said.

Tragedy struck in 2016, when Nelson’s family home was destroyed by a tornado. She relocated to Ascension Parish along with her husband and children to start anew.

However, the trauma had lingering effects. The stress of the situation led to cancerous flare-ups and took Nelson out of work. While at home recovering, she turned to writing.

Her first novel was an autobiography about her experiences growing up in Reserve. Another novel about purposeful breathing, written simultaneously with her teachers and paraprofessionals book, published this month.

Reaching out to St. John schools is especially important to Nelson, who said there are several simple steps school leaders can bring to classrooms.

One tip is to avoid assumption by taking time once a week to have one-on-one communication between teachers and paraprofessionals.

Once the teacher and paraprofessionals discuss their strengths and weaknesses, they can help one another grow.

Establishing a relationship between teachers and paraprofessionals has a positive impact on communication with students and parents, according to Nelson. She believes C.P.R. also decreases behavioral issues in classrooms.

“My ultimate goal is to be able to go into the schools and workshop so that at the beginning of the school year, it can eliminate all the chaos and confusion that may transpire within the classrooms,” Nelson said.

Nelson encourages anyone who has a passion to see children succeed in the classroom to register for the book signing at eventbrite.com/e/book-signing-15-teachers-and-paraprofessionals-tickets-62417188491.

Nelson can be reached at sav_nelson@yahoo.com or at 985-703-1114. Books will be available to purchase on Amazon following the July 13 signing.