River Views: River Parishes to celebrate Independence Day on July 3 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--New River Parish columnist Lori Lyons in New Orleans, La. Monday, April 20, 2015.

The St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District has begun a new summer remediation program aimed at helping students advance to the next grade, who otherwise would have been held back because they were behind on their coursework. Previously, summer instruction has mainly targeted students who scored poorly on standardized tests and parents had to foot the bill.

“This is an awesome opportunity for our students because we are providing transportation, meals and instruction that will allow students to be promoted, all at no cost to them,” said Serina Duke, summer school principal. “In the past, parents had to seek out a state-approved, accredited summer school program and pay up to $360 per course, provide transportation and pay for meals.”

The St. John School District’s curriculum team developed lessons for elementary and middle school students, geared specifically toward power, or the most important Common Core State Standards. High school students are working within a computer-based program to gain credits for graduation and to achieve End-of-Course Test remediation. High school students and those in the district’s Connections Program are attending summer remediation on the temporary Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School campus. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade are taking classes at East St. John Elementary School.

As an added support for students and teachers, the St. John School District has partnered with the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators to bring in 11 teacher practitioners who are working toward teacher certification. The new program is part of the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District’s goal to become a top 10 school district in the next five years.

St. Charles uniform giveaway

Assistance for Single Parents (AFSP), a nonprofit organization, recently received a $5,000 donation from ADM Growmark, a $1,000 donation from Bunge North America and $300 from the St. Charles Women’s Club for its first communitywide Back to School Uniform Giveaway, to be held Saturday, July 11, at the St. Charles United Methodist Church in Destrehan. The funds will be used to purchase new school uniforms and to help organize the event.

“We are truly thankful for every donation we receive and to have this kind of community support,” said Debra Rieder, executive director of Assistance for Single Parents. “The money will be used to coordinate our ‘gently used’ school uniform, belts, shoes and backpack collection drive, as well as purchase brand-new uniforms for the children of single parents. Our goal is to help ease the financial burden on single parents at the start of a new school year.”

AFSP is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose emphasis is to provide a “hand up” rather than a “handout” for working single parents. They are dedicated to assisting, equipping and empowering single-parent families with support, services and fellowship.

“We realize we may not be able to make all things better for single parents, but we intend to provide a better environment for all to flourish with life skills training, job employment opportunities, legal workshops, financial management, life coaching, emotional support, resourceful information and financial ‘relief,’ ” Reider said.

For more information or to register, visit AssistanceForSingleParents.org; follow its Facebook page: Assistance for Single Parents; call (985) 233-1173; or email AssistanceForSingleParents@gmail.com.

Lori Lyons reports on the River Parishes. Send information on news, events, accomplishments and story ideas to her at sportslyons@gmail.com.