Aug 17, 2010 5:03 PM by Melissa Canone

13 School Board Candidates' Responses to Issues in the Races-Question 4

What programs/ approaches do you recommend to improve low performing schools and to increase readiness for school for preschool children?

Lafayette Parish School Board
District 9

Rae B. Trahan is running unopposed
(No response offered.)

Lafayette Parish School Board
District 2

Greg Davis
All low performing schools in Lafayette parish have high poverty rates. Low performing children of poverty are not unique to these schools. This is a district-wide problem. High quality early childhood education is essential to address this challenge. We should strive for LA3 and LA4 standards in preschools throughout the parish. We should make them available to all children of poverty. Under the leadership of a superintendent who has high expectations for all children, we should empower our principals and teachers to pursue BOLD education reform that gives them the flexibility to pursue risk-taking, forward-thinking, innovative initiatives such as charter schools, year round schools, diagnostic prescriptive remediation and coordinated school health.

Tommy Angelle
I support the current LA4 program and expansion of the LA4 program because not all children who are in need of early childhood education assistance are receiving it due to lack of funding. I would also support continued piloting of a 3 year old program as current data suggests that interventions as early as 3 years old are producing very positive gains in performance when the children reach kindergarten. Increasing parental involvement in a school community is important. Enlisting assistance of local businesses, support groups, churches, University of Lafayette, etc. to become active participants in the schools can benefit the students by providing mentoring, guidance, counseling, and additional educational resources.

Lafayette Parish School Board
District 3

Shelton J. Cobb is running unopposed
(No response offered.)

Lafayette Parish School Board
District 4

Tehmi Chassion
The foundation of a child's education begins long before they enter a classroom. All children need to be "school ready", being properly taught at home how to behave and the basics of learning to assist the transition into school. If the community can join together, low performing schools can be eradicated by helping produce children ready and eager to learn. Also, students need to be tested more often to assess whether or not they are performing at grade level. This technique would allow teachers to intervene and identify lacking area in a student's progress. By identifying these at risk kids, extra time and resources can be devoted to preventing their progression through the system unprepared and uneducated.

Gwen Harris
I applaud the Lafayette Parish School Board System for financially supporting their employees who supply services to our school community. This is an example of the state shifting financial responsibility for state mandated programs to the local educational agency.

Lafayette Parish School Board
District 5

Junius "June" Andres
Most if not all of the low performing schools are staffed by teachers new to the system. These teachers are working to attain tenure and don‘t have the training to identify with the student population that they are teaching.

To improve low performing schools I would recommend the following:
A. Utilize the early childhood development programs.
B. Staff low performing schools with experienced educators beginning with the Principal. Compensate these educators for their experience.
C. Develop an educational working relationship between teachers and parents.

I firmly believe that every child can learn, but children learn differently.

Kermit Bouillion
I am a strong advocate of early childhood intervention. The Lafayette Parish Early Intervention Program Statistics support my position. We must build upon what we have done in this regard. Additionally, I have a plan for academic and social intervention which targets early identification of potential at-risk students. My plan protects these at-risk children while allowing teachers to teach and academically able students to learn. The plan would not necessitate any additional funding at present because it would utilize the talents of employees currently in place. It would simply be a system of reorganization of current talent and resources.


Dean Landry
We need energetic, results-oriented principals to turn things around in low-performing schools. To attract them, we should implement merit pay for principals. A principal whose school improves significantly will receive a bonus; a principal whose scores stagnate or fall will make less and will be dismissed. Let's refocus on the core curriculum: learning Chinese and performing arts is fine, but make sure our students can pass math and English first. Let's reinstitute daily test preparation and give standardized midterms to identify struggling students and target test prep efforts. Let's also improve our efforts at implementing current plans, including 8(g) Student Enhancement, LA4 Early Childhood & Non Public School Early Childhood Development Program.

Lafayette Parish School Board
District 6

Greg Awbrey

As far as we have been able to afford, we have implemented Pre-K3 (without state funds) and 4 year old programs (with some state funds) to ensure as many students as possible are prepared for Kindergarten. Alice Boucher's test scores have improved since these programs were implemented in just one school year. We are looking forward to continued improvement in scores as the children from the pre-K programs enter Kindergarten. We also have:

* Summer reading programs at many schools
* Lowered student/teacher ratio which helps low performing schools
* Incentive pay for teachers to go to and stay with low performing schools

Dudley E. LaBauve, III
The LA3 program needs to continue in concert with the LA4 program, in spite of the fact that stimulus funds will not be available to support this program, so ALL children are ready to succeed when entering Kindergarten. I would advocate for community involvement in the education of its children and the importance of that involvement to the success of the community. I would try persistent advertising of this message for years to come. I agree with and will quote Greg Davis on the following recommendation: ‘Recruit an experienced Superintendent that believes all children can learn, no matter their race or income, and, who has a demonstrated ability to reform and then operate a school system that achieves high graduation rates and achievement rates.'

Lafayette Parish School Board
District 7

Mark Cockerham
Remain funding the three year old programs that increase readiness for preschool. To provide mentors to kids who are lacking in parental involvement. And give teachers more authority in the classroom.

Thomas Brown
To improve low performing schools and increase readiness for preschool children, I recommend reducing the class size and giving the most successful, experienced, certified and qualified teachers an incentive to work at low performing schools. That incentive could be 10% of their salary. An additional percentage, based on the amount of growth shown by the class, could be added. Continue to fund the LA-4 program and possibly an additional 3 year old program. These programs have been successful. Research the feasibility of having an extended year program for low performing schools and preschool programs.

Lafayette Parish School Board
District 8

Hunter Beasley
Continue to fund the three year old programs for children who are at risk and to increase the number of these programs when the school system has the resources to do so. Also, highly effective administrators need to be assigned to those schools that are performing at low levels. Finally, supports (including, but not limited to, opportunities for collaboration between faculty, parental involvement, meaningful professional development, effective central office staff that can provide needed training and resources) need to be provided to teachers in the low performing schools.

Arlecia Hill
Working in low performing schools requires a certain mindset to handle the situations that are not described in detail in college or in the job description. Students in these environments may not have the same quality educational experience if their physical and emotional needs are not addressed. My preschool readiness approach requires parenting workshops to educate parents about the effects of long term positive school habits. I would like to see homework time scheduled in the school day to give all students the support as well as develop talents. My priority is to increase access to technology in homes and to strengthen basic literacy and numeracy behavior programs across all grade levels.

Lafayette Parish School Board
District 9

Rae B. Trahan is running unopposed
(No response offered.)



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