Board gives Do-Re-ME! another year
April Briscoe thanks the board for the opportunity, being named principal of Richard Elementary School.
The debate into Do-Re-ME! was finally settled at the Acadia Parish School Board, for now anyway.
At Monday’s May meeting of the Acadia Parish School Board, the decision was made to give the Do-Re-ME! program another year, but this time the board will have to foot the bill.
Do-Re-ME! was implemented as a pilot program in five Acadia Parish elementary schools, the schools with the lowest test scores in each area of the parish. To re-implement the program at the schools – Church Point Elementary, Central Rayne Kindergarten, Iota Elementary, Crowley Kindergarten and Estherwood Elementary – the board has pledged $140,000 for two teachers and two aides.
Before approving the program’s funding, discussion amongst the board continued from its committee meetings.
Superintendent John Bourque explained the school board plans to look toward grants to help defray some of the cost and maybe even add it to other schools in the future.
“It’s something I would like to see in all our schools, but we have to focus first on the most at-risk schools,” said Bourque.
The superintendent applauded the program for not only its teaching, but for giving teachers new ways of teaching and giving students something to look forward to each week.
“You have to find something for these kids to want to go to school for in most cases,” said Bourque. “And, I’ve even had some teachers tell me they forgot about some of these ways to teach the kids.”
Bourque explained that he would like one more year, especially for the pre-kindergarten students that had it this year to be able to have two full years in the program.
But, for board members like Lynn Shamsie and Milton Simar, it was hard to give $140,000 to a program that only benefits a few and not the whole parish.
“I have no problem investing in something that helps our students and giving it a year, but I also have no problem pulling the plug on it if it is not,” said Simar.
Executive Director of the Acadiana Symphony & Conservatory of Music, Jenny Krueger expressed her understanding and explained that the independent research data should be available by June or July.
Shamsie expressed his concerns that were echoed by Simar that how can the data show it was the 30 minute class sessions that led to the increase in test scores, if there is an increase, and not the teachers.
“You can’t convince me that 30 minutes here is making more of a difference than the teacher that is with them five days a week,” said Shamsie.
Krueger, as well as other board members, said that ideally it is a continued collaboration with Do-Re-ME! helping teachers.
Eventually, however, the board approved the funding for a year.
The board also received reports of retirements and new job placements, including the introduction of Richard Elementary’s new principal, April Briscoe. She was one of five applicants for the job.