Former educator's determination paying off
Audry Spencer, a former Acadia Parish teacher with 30 years of experience, was frustrated and wanted to do something about it.
“I have noticed with great heartache the failure of so many of our Crowley students to meet educational standards to move on to the next grade,” she said. “The student’s ability to learn is not the problem. Lack of interest and discipline problems are only two of the problems that we are facing today.
“I have prayed about this and decided to do something about it. Last year I began a program called ‘Empowering the Community for Excellence.’ The mission of the program is to tutor underprivileged students who are at risk of failure.”
The students that Spencer, who serves as the group’s director, began to target were the ones who live in public housing who mainly attend Ross Elementary and South Crowley Elementary.
“Our aim is to bring tutoring on wheels to their neighborhoods and tutor them after school on Mondays through Fridays,” said Spencer. “The tutors for the program are certified teachers with a wealth of experience in teaching students in different grade levels.”
The idea was introduced at a meeting at Crowley High School last year and despite some initial support, it didn’t get the support that Spencer needed. That all changed with the help of Rep. Jack Montoucet.
“With Jack’s help, we have been approved for a grant from the State Department of Education and have also been approved to purchase materials and supplies from state surplus,” said Spencer. “We have received donations from banks, churches, organizations of Crowley to give back to the community by making a donation to our program. When our children do well, our city benefits and so do our businesses because these students become productive citizens.”
Aside from the vehicle to make the program mobile (Spencer is currently using a building as a temporary location) the group needs computers, novels, an internet connection, student incentives and cash donations.
Spencer wanted to be sure to express her appreciation to anyone who has donated as well as those who intend on supporting the program.