Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish School Board’ Category

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

02/03/2014

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, February 4, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street. Committee meetings begin at 5:30 PM. Here are the agendas:

Building & Grounds Committee – 5:30 PM
School Board – 6:00 PM

The B&G Committee will hear updates from architect Mike Walpole on ongoing projects, including lighting for the L. J. “Hoss” Garrett Stadium at Ruston High School (RHS), Dubach School, Cypress Springs, stadium improvements, and artificial turf.

The board will hear a report from auditor Margie Williamson, Partner in the Monroe accounting firm Allen, Green & Williamson. A clean audit is expected, as has been the norm for many years with Business Manager George Murphy and his team.

The financial reports will review sales tax collections for December 2013, and review the 12/31/13 fund balances. Compare the balances with 12/31/12 and 11/30/13.

Also, see here the 2014 committee assignments.

Jefferson Corner to Reopen Soon

01/11/2014
Jefferson Corner - Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jefferson Corner – Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tuesday’s Lincoln Parish School Board

01/10/2014

Tuesday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) spent a bit of time reviewing the upcoming projects as detailed in the Building and Grounds Committee meeting of the day before. The committee’s recommendation to advertise bids for turf and lighting at Ruston High School (RHS) was unanimously approved, as was permission to advertise the sale of bonds to finance the projects.

Also in New Business, the board approved participation in a class action lawsuit against the State Louisiana and the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education (BESE), regarding Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) funding for local schools.

See here the memo.

The lone no vote was Trott Hunt (District 7). Hunt is a business associate of BESE member Jay Guillot.

In Reports, Business Manager George Murphy noted the sales tax receipts had increased about 3 1/2% over the same month last year. For the first six months of FY 2013-2104, sales tax collections are almost $700 thousand greater than the same time period a year earlier.

See here the tax report.

LPSB Committee Reviews Upcoming Projects

01/07/2014

The Building and Grounds Committee of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) reviewed several upcoming projects during yesterday’s meeting. The projects are the fruits of a $20 million bond election passed by Ruston School District Voters last fall.

Ruston architect Mike Walpole described the three projects first to be undertaken: artificial turf installation at Ruston High School’s (RHS) James Field, improved lighting at RHS’s L. J. “Hoss” Garrett stadium, and six additional classrooms at Cypress Springs Elementary School.

All the projects are due to bid in early spring of this year, with completion scheduled for mid-summer. The three projects are budgeted at around $2 1/2 million, total.

Also discussed was a track facility at Choudrant High School. That project is estimated at about $1.9 million, and is just now in very preliminary planning stages.

Lincoln Parish School Board Meetings Monday and Tuesday

01/05/2014

It looks to be a busy week for the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB). There’s a Building and Grounds Committee meeting set for Noon Monday (1/6), and a lengthy agenda for the Tuesday, 6:00 PM regular meeting of the full board. Both meetings are at the Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.


Building and Grounds Committee Agenda

Regular Session Agenda

The committee meeting will discuss the capital improvement projects that will occur in the Ruston School District as a result of the voter’s approval of $20 million in property taxes. Also, the committee will discuss construction of a track at Choudrant High School (CHS).

First on the agenda of the regular meeting is election of officers. Next, there will be discussion and consideration of a resolution authorizing sale of $8 million in bonds for the capital projects.

Here is the memo and resolution.

Several significant items will be considered in New Business.

A change order for the Dubach School construction project, and solicitation for bids to demolish the Hico School main building and gymnasium will be reviewed.

See here the memo.

Also, the hiring of Riley Engineers for surveying and engineering work on the Choudrant High School track will be considered.

See here the memo.

Permission to advertise for bids for artificial turf installation and lighting improvements at Ruston High School’s L. J. “Hoss” Garrett stadium will be sought.

Here’s the memo.

A contingency fee arrangement with Louisiana School Board Association attorney’s will be reviewed and considered.

See here the memo.

Finally, in Reports, personnel status will be reviewed, and a financial update will review fund balances as of 11/30/2013. Compare that report with the 10/31/13 and 11/30/12 balances.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

12/02/2013

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, December 3, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

See here the agenda.

In Unfinished Business, bids will be reviewed for additions and renovations to the L. J. “Hoss” Garrett football stadium at Ruston High School (RHS).

Here is the memo and bid tabs.

Under New Business, the board will review the architect’s basic services agreement for the various construction projects that were approved with the passage of two bond proposals last month.

Here is the memo.

In Reports, personnel and finances will be reviewed.

Personnel

10/31/13 fund balances, compared to 9/30/13 and 10/31/12.

LPSB Rewards Principals – Charter Application Denied

11/06/2013
Principals Ricky Durrett, Simsboro; Lisa Bastion, Choudrant HS; Charles Hogan, Choudrant Elem

Principals Ricky Durrett, Simsboro; Lisa Bastion, Choudrant HS; Charles Hogan, Choudrant Elem

Last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) started out with a bit of ceremony for three Lincoln Parish school principals. But this time, instead of a plaque to hang on the wall, the recognition was bit more tangible – bonus money for improvements at their schools.

Simsboro K-12 Principal Ricky Durrett, Choudrant HS Principal Lisa Bastion, and Choudrant Elementary Principal Charles Hogan all received “salary performance increments” for improvements in their schools.

In presenting the awards, Improvements & Accountability Coordinator Donna Doss noted that Choudrant and Caddo Magnet were the only two “A” high schools in the state.

The board also heard a recommendation from Kimberly Williams of New Millennium Education regarding an application for Success Charter School. New Millennium is a third party charter evaluation consulting firm from Baton Rouge.

Williams recommended that the charter application be denied (the board agreed unanimously) because the application did not meet eligibility requirements. Among the shortfalls: lack of nonprofit status, no signed statement of assurance, and no certified teachers.

See here the recommendation.

During a public hearing held prior to the board meeting, no public comments were received relative to the charter application.

During reports, Doss reported upon the student performance scores for the district. She noted that there were no “D” or “F” schools in the district during 2013.

See here the school scores.

Business Manager George Murphy reported that sales tax collections continued their upward trend, up over $600 thousand for the first four months of FY 2013-2014, compared to the same period a year earlier.

See here the report.

Lincoln Parish School Board Tuesday

11/04/2013

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Tuesday, November 5, 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street. Prior to the full meeting, there will be a 5:30 PM public hearing regarding an application for a charter school.

Here are the agendas.

Among the several reports the board will hear is the monthly financial report (9/30/13 fund balance, compared to 8/31/13 and 9/30/12), and a report on personnel changes for the month.

Letter to the Editor about Common Core

11/02/2013

The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Jonesboro-Hodge High School English teacher Dusty Hampton.

As a new English teacher approaching the middle of my first year, I have the privilege of teaching under Louisiana’s newly-adopted curriculum referred to as “The Common Core State Standards” (CCSS), or just “Common Core”, as it is commonly called. Knowing I was getting into education at such a monumental transition period as this, I made sure to research this topic as thoroughly as I could before my first day at work, so that I would know exactly what would be expected of me, as a classroom teacher. At first I was overwhelmed by the amount of information available online concerning the CCSS; however, I knew that, in order to be the best teacher I could be, I needed to read as much as I could. Over a period of about two months I poured through every article, review, lesson guide, and resource manual that I could locate that covered Common Core. I watched YouTube videos published by the CCSS authors, I read first-hand accounts from teachers in New York and other states that had found positive classroom growth through Common Core, and I sat down with other educators to see what they considered of the proposed changes. What I found greatly impressed me. I felt fairly confident that Louisiana was moving in the right direction with Common Core, and that this would bring our state closer to addressing key educational reform issues that have long been neglected. My excitement over this program, however, was short-lived.

It is almost impossible to watch a local news station or read a local newspaper or go to any social network site without seeing Common Core being bashed from every angle, many times from across both sides of the political aisle. There are those out there who are against every part of the CCSS, and they have made it clear that they will fight with whatever power they can muster to see that this curriculum is removed from our school systems. What I have seen in my close observations is that, most often, these arguments are based on common misconceptions and misunderstandings about what Common Core really is. Many individuals are simply uninformed about how Common Core affects the classroom, and are only made aware of certain negative media that has been made available about teachers abusing or misusing Common Core in a way that hurts students. I feel that, as an educator directly affected by Common Core, I might be able to help clear up some of these issues and, in turn, help others see the CCSS in the same positive light that I still do.

The first issue that needs to be addressed is that Common Core is not necessarily Louisiana’s choice. The federal government mandated that states adopt a curriculum that has their students graduate from high school at a level that is considered to be “college-ready”. Louisiana has, unfortunately, failed at that in the past. Though our state had its own Grade-Level-Expectations (GLEs) in place for many years, these educational goals did not meet the level that had students truly prepared for college. Granted, some teachers went above and beyond and shaped their lessons in a way that would ensure a student’s college readiness, but this extra work fell on each educator, and at their choosing. Under these new federal mandates, Louisiana sought expert helping in revising their educational curriculum, and rather than to reinvent the wheel, they looked at programs that other states had found success with. That is where the CCSS came into play.

After seeing the achievements of states like New York, California, Tennessee, and many others, Governor Jindal, along with a number of other state governors, decided to adopt the same curriculum that these states had used to boost their school success: The Common Core State Standards. At its heart, the CCSS addresses one issue that is pivotal in Louisiana’s educational reform: poor reading ability. It took me one week in a classroom to realize just how far behind Louisiana students are in their reading skills. I know firsthand that this is a skill that needs to be addressed immediately, and Common Core does just that. It can easily be argued that reading is the foundation that all other subjects must build upon. How can a student that cannot read ever hope to follow the directions on their science projects? How can a poor reader ever comprehend The Constitution or Declaration of Independence, and hope to gain a better understanding of their country’s history? How can we expect students to ever learn to type when they can barely spell? The Common Core State Standards recognize and respond to these issues.

Being an English teacher, I can only speak on a personal level about how Common Core affects my subject; however, seeing that English is the subject affected most powerfully by Common Core, I believe that this is acceptable. The CCSS seek to push more reading on students, and this push no longer comes from just one course. Common Core requires that teachers of all subjects accompany their lessons with additional reading and writing activities that are geared to reinforce and add additional understanding to the topics being covered. I fail to see the problem here. A commonly-cited issue is that Louisiana has yet to adopt textbooks that align with Common Core, thereby leaving teachers with no clue how to proceed. I would encourage those teachers to seek outside sources. Magazines, journals, and online articles are all around us, and finding subject-appropriate material has never been easier than it is today.

As far as English as a subject, Common Core blows the doors of content wide open. Previous Louisiana GLEs required certain texts to be read at each grade level, regardless of student reading levels or cultural backgrounds. These previous guidelines gave no consideration to students, and required that every teacher in every classroom teach all students mostly the same material, without consideration of any extenuating circumstances. The CSSS, however, does not do this. Under Common Core, English teachers now have the world of literature at their disposal. No longer are we required to take a classroom full of students and force them to enjoy a book that they cannot relate to. Now we have the freedom of taking any book of our choosing and adapting it to fit the students in our classroom. The main theme in Common Core English is simply “close reading” of a text, followed by “text-dependent” questions. These two issues can be addressed with nearly every piece of literature in the world, from the longest novel to the shortest poem. Louisiana’s old GLEs sought to take a classroom full of students and bend them to fit within a predefined curriculum. Common Core, however, does just the opposite. It allows teachers to take an open-ended curriculum and mold it into a way that fits individual students on a level that they can actually learn at. This freedom in the classroom is welcomed by many. Now, though, is the time when I am reminded of that famous line from Spider-Man: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

One major issue that has been hounded upon by critics of Common Core is the subject matter that is being discussed in English classes within our own state. Books that cover topics ranging from drugs to murder to sex seem to taking the forefront now, as a few parents are finding them being introduced to their students at school. To those who support ending Common Core due to this, let me make one issue abundantly clear: THIS IS NOT COMMON CORE. This is simply a case of a very poor teacher choosing a very inappropriate book to teach in their classroom. Common Core does not call for these controversial books to be read, nor does it necessarily encourage teachers to use those exact texts. The CCSS give teachers the freedom to choose what texts their students read, all in order to teach the fundamental process of close reading. My argument would be that Common Core in a classroom is only successful if you have a teacher with common sense in the classroom. Perhaps we should just rename the program to “Common Sense”. I’ll see what I can do.

Before critics get too fired up about text content, it would do them well to remember that, for well over ten years now, Louisiana has required that texts such as Romeo & Juliet, The Crucible, and The Scarlet Letter be read in our schools. While those literary classics found on every library shelf seem innocent enough, we must be sure not to forget that they include the following topics: drug use, adultery, revenge, murder, teen sex, adult sex, witchcraft, blackmail, and, of course, teen suicide, among others. While arguing about the appropriateness of these topics is another issue altogether, we must remember that such subjects are not new to schools, but that they have, in fact, been mandated to be taught by our state’s old curriculum. I would encourage opponents of Common Core to avoid abusing a curriculum strictly based on those who abuse it, and would in fact encourage them to promote it based on those who use it wisely. To consider the other end of the spectrum, we must consider that the freedom that goes along with Common Core now allows teachers to use almost whatever texts they deem worthy in their lessons, including such books as The Holy Bible. Food for thought.

While I do not have the experience necessary to compare transitioning from GLEs to Common Core, I do feel that my experience under Common Core so far has been a good one. I look forward to the changes that the CCSS can make, and I feel that our state is well on its way to making great strides in educational reform by making these steps. I applaud Governor Jindal and State Superintendent John White on the changes that they have made, and I would encourage them to keep Common Core long enough to actually give it a chance to work. We are a little past our first year in the program, and I believe that the positive results will be coming very soon. To concerned parents and community members, I simply ask that you focus on the good that Common Core can do for your students, and try to see farther along down the road towards the results that I know are on their way. While every program has the power to fail, I have felt, and still feel, that The Common Core State Standards has a strong chance of succeeding in Louisiana. I am proud to be teaching under this program, and to have a child of my own currently learning under this curriculum. My name is Dusty Hampton, and I support Common Core. To learn more about Common Core for yourself, visit http://www.corestandards.org, http://www.achievethecore.org, or visit the Louisiana Department of Education’s website at http://www.louisianabelieves.com.

Lincoln Parish School Board Wednesday

10/15/2013

The Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) will meet Wednesday, October 16, 12:30 PM, Choudrant High School, 2555 Hwy 80 Choudrant.

Here is the agenda.

Among the action items is a request to declare surplus a quantity of equipment from Ruston High, Ruston Junior High, and Dubach.

See here the memo and list.

Under new business, the November salary supplement payments will be considered.

See here the memo.


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