Feb 2, 2012 11:25 PM by Maddie Garrett
Lafayette School Board members and administrators hit the ground running Thursday at Northside High School, just a day after passage of a plan to revamp the school and turn around its failing academic status.
With a new face leading the school, there's a new way of doing things at Northside High.
"The faculty were very, very receptive. There are going to be a lot of changes especially in routine and procedures," said new Interim Principal Melinda Voorhies. "I didn't find anything except what I thought I would, which was open arms and saying they're ready to work together."
Voorhies brought with her a team of administrators that will focus on everything from discipline to student and teacher morale and parental involvement.
With this new "A" team going into the school as soon as Friday, there's going to be some changes immediately, such as a more structured routine and stricter discipline.
"There are far more great kids at Northside than not so great kids as far as misbehavior and we're going to allow those great kids to flourish," said Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper.
Cooper said while trouble students will be removed, they won't be expelled but rather put in a separate environment meant to be more nurturing and targeted on improvement.
While administrators work on the academics, things will start to look different too.
"This is the English wing but it's called the dungeon," said one custodian on Thursday. He said it earned that name a long time ago because of poor lighting and shabby conditions.
New tile, new bathrooms, better lighting and tearing out old, unusable lockers are just a few components of the plan to repair and renovate the school.
The School Board says it has the money for the plan at Northside, and no current or budgeted projects will be affected by funding the turnaround. Part of the money will come from the self funded construction fund, as well as extra money left over from already completed projects and vacant positions that are already in the budget.
Dr. Cooper says Northside is only the beginning, and has his eye on four other schools in just as poor academic standing. They are J.W. Faulk Elementary, Alice Boucher Elementary, Carencro Middle School and Acadian Middle School. Cooper says he wants to tackle those schools in the fall using the same plan being implemented at Northside High.