Leaders of the ongoing effort to rewrite the East Baton Rouge Parish school system’s six-year-old strategic plan say they want to hear more from people in the community.
“Here’s an opportunity for people to come to table, and discuss with other folks how can we improve the system, and what should our goals be,” School Board President Barbara Freiberg said.
Last week, the school system put out a list of 20 separate meetings planned by six different subcommittees assembled around six different topics, or “objectives.”
The Early Childhood Development subcommittee meeting is at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Capital Area United Way, 700 Laurel St., while the Neighborhood Schooling/School Choice/Parental Involvement subcommittee’s meeting is 30 minutes later at Southern University.
The Academic Expectations subcommittee met Monday, the Culture and Safety/School Climate and Human Capital subcommittee met Tuesday, and the Community and Parental Involvement subcommittee met Wednesday.
The Governance/Financial Efficiency/Accountability subcommittee will meet July 18 at Faulk & Winkler, 6811 Jefferson Highway.
Each subcommittee has been given until the end of the month to come up with a report filled with strategies, and beneath that tactics that will be used to address the “objective” of that subcommittee.
Those reports will be examined by a committee of business, community and school leaders called the EBR Committee for Educational Excellence, which is planning its next meeting for July 26.
In June, that committee settled on a bold goal that the school system will be a top 10 Louisiana district by 2020. The latest district performance scores from 2010 showed East Baton Rouge Parish as 51st of 71 districts with a score of 82.2.
Freiberg said she hopes that that committee can have a “pretty good draft” for the School Board to consider when it holds its regular meeting in August. Then she wants to have some community forums to shop the document around, and then vote on a revised plan by the board’s regular meeting in September, she said.
“Of I course I wanted to have a strategic plan done by May,” Freiberg said. “But I do want to make sure we get this right.”
At Wednesday’s Community and Parental Involvement subcommittee, Kimberly Williams, legal director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, passed out a list of possible strategies for improving parental and community engagement.
One strategy was to have customer service training for all the front end staff at schools, including instruction in a universal greeting.
“Just make us feel welcome,” parent Barbara Varmall said. “Not just at open houses, but when you see me walking down the hall.”
Northdale Magnet Academy Principal Leroy Helire said schools have different personalities, so uniform greetings could look forced and inauthentic. “It can be the opposite of what you want,” he said.
Eric Lewis of Sable Communications said Helire is right that the school system should foster the individual identities of schools. When he visits schools, he said, he doesn’t see the kind of culture he remembers from when he went to Glen Oaks High School.
“What’s really missing is that sense of pride,” he said.
ON THE INTERNET: