A Louisiana Model of Excellence was lauded Friday, in a ceremony at East Feliciana High School that was one-half scholarly achievement and one-half pep rally, complete with dancers and a drum line.

Louisiana's top superintendent Cade Brumley applauded the East Feliciana School District before presenting the Model of Excellence Award to the system for the successful execution of EF Accelerate, a summer learning program.

Brumley acknowledged the unique challenges the state has faced before addressing the EF Accelerate successes. Those challenges include multiple hurricanes, social and political unrest, and numerous other adversities. “But guess what, I would put the educational community above any other in this country for the job you all have done to keep kids safe and to make sure they are well taken care of in this state,” he said.

The Louisiana Models of Excellence initiative was created a little over a year ago to shine a positive light on school systems in the state that serve as models for implementing the Department’s Believe to Achieve educational priorities in ways that lead to student success.

The Louisiana Department of Education recognizes three main goals of the initiative: to celebrate excellence in Louisiana schools, to share stories of success and provide models for others to see, and to create high-impact partnerships across school systems.

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Brumley noted several successful aspects of EF Accelerate including the impressive level of voluntary participation it had outside of the regular school year. There are about 1,400 students in the East Feliciana School System, and they had about 40% of their entire student body participating, Brumley said. "That's tremendous and a transformation from previous years beyond just the numbers — they changed the program.”

Brumley explained that the program used state academic guidance tools and provided the opportunity for students to have math tutoring and exposure to instruction in art, physical education and theater. “All of a sudden, they have summer camp, and they had kids smiling while having 40% of their student body,” he said. “So basically, an additional month of instruction for students. We just can't help at our agency but acknowledge the phenomenal work that took place here over the summer.”

Parish officials explained that EF Accelerate was a comprehensive summer program open to all students completing pre-K through those completing 11th grade. It was partially funded through an after-school and summer programming grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

The program ran during June and daily offered two hours of math instruction, two hours of English language arts instruction, and two hours of enrichment learning. Each Friday, students attended field trips.

East Feliciana Parish Schools Superintendent Keisha Netterville received the award and acknowledged what a massive team effort it represented. “This is a labor of love and a collaborative effort,” she said. “I'm so grateful for our team of staff members and for the students who are onboard. This is a mission, and I'm so grateful for your support today.”