LAFAYETTE — Only five of the 19 teachers displaced by the closure of N.P. Moss Middle School last month are still awaiting open positions within the school district.
“We’re trying to place them right now,” said Lawrence Lilly, deputy superintendent of Human Resources and Operations.
Moss closed in May based on a School Board decision to shutter the middle school because of repeated low school performance.
The school will reopen in August as the Thibodaux Career and Technical High School.
Thibodaux will retain the STEM Academy, which is focused on science, technology, engineering and math, that began at Moss last year.
Enrollment in the STEM Academy is near the district’s goal of 300 students in grades six through eight, Schools of Choice Director Burnell LeJeune told the School Board last week.
The students will have a chance to meet each other and their new teachers Saturday during a STEM Social, said Jeff Debetaz, Thibodaux’s principal.
Debetaz said enrollment in the STEM Academy is diverse with students coming from across the parish to attend the school.
The event will feature activities, including “Family Feud,” a scavenger hunt, quiz bowl competition and a hot dog luncheon, to help families and students mingle with their new community, he said.
Thibodaux began last year at a temporary site on the Acadiana Technical College campus with about 50 incoming freshmen. Another freshman class will be added in August.
LeJeune said enrollment goals are 100 students in the sophomore class and 150 for the freshman class.
Marketing and Student Recruitment Director Angela Simoneaux stated in an email Monday that sophomore classes are full and about 60 spots are open in the ninth grade.
Applications will be accepted for Thibodaux and all Schools of Choice programs until October.
As of Monday, Debetaz said, he had his high school staff in place, but because students continue to enroll in the school, it’s likely that more teachers may be needed.
Moss teachers had the option to be displaced or to reapply to work at Thibodaux.
At least a dozen former Moss STEM Academy staffers were rehired, Lilly said.
Three teaching slots are unfilled at the STEM Academy, he said.
Displaced teachers have the option to select open positions based on seniority.
Districtwide, there was a total of 87 teachers displaced after this school year ended, and as of Monday, 60 had selected their reassignments, Lilly said.
Lilly said he did not anticipate any issues with finding assignments for the remaining 27.
“I don’t foresee anyone losing their job,” Lilly said. “All during the summer we have people retiring or resigning.”
Teachers report to work on Aug. 9 for a mandatory in-service prior to students’ return on Aug. 15.
Lilly said if teachers are still displaced when school begins in August, he’d like to hire the remaining teachers as permanent substitute teachers.
A similar plan was discussed last year when 77 teachers were displaced, but it was not necessary to implement it.