Tangipahoa Parish School Board starts new year

The Tangipahoa Parish School Board met for their regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 6:00 pm.

Sandra Bailey-Simmons arranged for Midway Elementary students to participate at the beginning of the meeting.  

Ashley Vicaro, a kindergarten student, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Ashley was also recognized for the letter she wrote to President Bush.  

"It was all her idea. It all started when Ashley saw a "Feed the Children" segment on t.v., and afterward, she wrote a letter to President Bush," said Janelle Vicaro, Ashley's mom. "She wrote it; I spelled some words for her. She wrote it this school year when she was still 5 years old. It was a simple letter it said, 'Dear Mr. President - Please feed all of the hungry children.  Love, Ashley.' "

"After I sent him the letter, President Bush wrote back and sent me an picture of him with a cowboy hat on," said Ashley.

"President Bush wrote back just after the election when we were studying about the election which gave our class a good learning experience," said Kristina Cornielle, Ashley's teacher. "He urged her to continue to be a leader in her community and to consider going into politics when she gets older."

"When I saw the envelope with the seal on it from the president addressed to Ashley, I read his letter to her which also said, 'Ashley is a good citizen and that she should continue sharing her ideas," Janelle Vicaro said at the meeting. "She told me what she wanted to write, and she wrote it in her own handwriting."

An election of officers was held with Danny Ridgel elected as the 2009 Board President and Ann Smith elected as the 2009 Board Vice President.

Leonard Genco nominated Danny Ridgel president with the board approving him. Rose Dominguez nominated Ann Smith for vice president with the board approving her.

"I thank my fellow Board members. This has been a trying year with the desegregation case, hurricanes, and even a snow storm," said Al Link, 2008 Sch. Bd. President. "I thank the Superintendent and his staff and I am confident that the individuals working for you will do whatever it takes to get the job done."

"I thank my fellow board members for their vote of confidence. I thank all of you," Ann Smith, 2009 Vice President said. "It has been an enjoyable time and look forward to continuing to work with all of the Board and staff."

Leonard Genco made a motion seconded by Robert Potts to keep the time for all of the School Board Regular meetings at 6:00 p.m. on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month with the Board approving this motion continuing this meeting pattern.

The Board approved the minutes of the December 9 and December 15, 2008 meetings.

Kentwood High School Principal sent a message stating that the students 1st day back Tuesday, Jan. 6 in their new temporary classrooms was a good day despite the weather and that the children were excited, upbeat, and yet on task with their new facilities since the fire.  

The recipients of the Enos F. "Jake Bailey, Jr. "Above and Beyond" Award were Kristy Rocquin and Melanie Sledge. Having taught for 6 years, Roquin is a 1st grade Tucker Elementary teacher. Having taught for 17 years, Sledge is a Tangi First Support/Mentor teacher and has been for the past 1 1/2 years.  

Roquin and Sledge put together a Power Point Presentation to help other teachers implement the new Reading Program.  

"She chose to do more and could have been an excellent teacher but she chose to assist other teachers," Linda Baker, Lang Arts Coordinator for the School System said of Roquin.

"I saw what Roquin was doing on her own, and I couldn't just let her do all of this on her own," said Sledge, Tangipahoa F.I.R.S.T Elementary Support Teacher based at the C.M. Fagan Special Services building. "I very humbly accept this recognition with the full knowledge that anything I accomplish is a team effort. I am surrounded by people everyday that go above and beyond."

"Tangi !st is a support program all new teachers go through. Each new teacher has a mentor support teacher to help. There is a network of mentors based at C.M. Fagan for the parish teachers," said Cindy Benitez, Parish Schools Information Officer. "These mentor teachers put on workshops for elementary, middle, and secondary teachers as well as offer techniques and tools for new teachers to use to help get the new teachers established. Karen Ellis, head of the Tangi 1st Program is the reason for a lot of the success of the program."

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