Community was the theme as St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District administrators and School Board members hosted a Pastoral Luncheon Meeting on April 5.
The luncheon is part of ongoing outreach efforts to keep the community informed about what is happening in their public schools and was born out of a meeting with religious leaders during the recent tax election. During the meeting, school district staff and board members spoke about several new initiatives and programs.
Terran Perry, principal at Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School, told pastors about a plan to mold his school into a STEM-based magnet school. The focus on science, technology, engineering and math would help prepare students for in-demand careers and allow them to get a jumpstart on earning credits for high school, which would later give them a jumpstart on earning college credit during their high school years.
Superintendent Kevin George also explained a plan going into effect next school year that will reconfigure East St. John Elementary into a fifth through 8th-grade school and Fifth Ward Elementary into a pre-K through fourth-grade school. The goal of the plan is to allow educators to narrow their focus on fewer grade levels and curriculum to improve literacy and math skills in lower grade levels to give students a strong foundation for their later years.
Erica Merrick, coordinator of federal and state programs, shared an update on the Assistance for Single Parents program the district is sponsoring. Seventeen parents attended the first meeting earlier in the week, along with 26 children. The next meeting will feature presenters who have been single parents and have been successful. The group is designed to offer support and resources to single parents in the community. Several churches have also donated to the program.
“We do more than just teach kids during the day,” Superintendent Kevin George said. “Anything we can do to reach the community we do it.”
Assessor Lucien Gauff praised the district for its open-door policy.
“One thing we do have here and he (superintendent) has implemented is an open-door policy,” he said. “I’ve gone to many schools and have seen what they’re doing and been welcomed in and taken around.”