This letter is in response to an article by Charles Lussier published on March 26 under the headline: “East Baton Rouge school officials grapple with parents’ concerns about Baton Rouge arts school; funding and leadership questioned,”which misconstrues many of the facts about our fine school and propagates misleading and inaccurate information about Baton Rouge Center for the Visual and Performing Arts.
The issues raised by a small minority of parents of students at our school have been effectively addressed on several occasions by me and recently by Superintendent Dr. Bernard Taylor Jr., who personally met with members of our Parent Teachers Organization and dispelled allegations that the school’s arts focus was being threatened by budget reductions and inadequate leadership.
It is important for everyone to know that our main focus is on academic achievement, which is the case at all East Baton Rouge Parish School System schools. That being said, the visual and performing arts programs at our school continue to excel despite budget reductions that have affected all district schools due to state funding cuts. And we continue to attract many parents and students who want to be part of the learning environment here.
Several of the minority of parents who have taken issue with certain aspects of how our school is being managed under the new leadership have questioned my record at other district schools where I served as principal in the past. The fact is, most of the schools I led have experienced documented increases in student academic achievement. In instances in the past where the achievement of some schools I have led has not been maintained, this has mainly been the result of circumstances beyond my control, including the sudden influx of low-performing students from other schools.
It should be noted there are often occasions where some parents disagree with decisions made by the leadership at schools, but most of the time these disagreements involve matters that are not directly related to the overall quality and academic performance of the school. Such is the case here at our school, which has earned and continues to maintain an A grade from the state and also continues to flourish in an educational setting that not only emphasizes academic success but also creativity and fun in an active and engaging performing and visual arts setting and focus.
Lastly, a group of 80 parents and faculty members from our school read and signed a signature page supporting the contents of this letter.
principal, Baton Rouge Center for the Visual and Performing Arts