Multiple agencies collaborate; exemplify school board motto of ‘Together We Can’

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NRMC CEO Kirk Soieau, right, and staff members, from left, Jami Bryant, Infection Preventionist, Kirby Peddy, Director of Case Management and Sarah LaCour, VP Quality and Safety, addressed the school board Thursday night during their regular meeting. NRMC administered COVID vaccines to NPSB faculty and staff. Natchitoches Parish educators were the first, and only ones, in the state to receive the vaccine. It was made possible by the hospital and those listed above. Photo by Juanice Gray

School Board members and others exemplified the Together We Can motto at the committee meeting Tuesday. NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio spoke on the numerous programs the school district and the university are working on together to get qualified teachers in the classroom and students in some form of higher education.

Maggio said his team met with juniors and seniors concerning NSU scholarships, mentioned the addition of two STEM teachers in the parish, one at Fairview Alpha and one at Marthaville, and their efforts to help uncertified teachers pass the Praxis. Supt. Grant Eloi said 33 employees have logged 81 hours of study time in efforts to pass the Praxis.

Maggio said the dual enrollment program had 75 fall semester students with 86 expected for the spring semester. Starting next year their goal is to have dual enrollment students achieve their 60 hour associate degree upon graduation from high school.

In addition to Maggio, Parish President John Richmond addressed the board Tuesday. He discussed how the road conditions affect busses and private motorists getting to and from school. He advocated the need to pass the solid waste tax on the April ballot. Surplus funds from that tax go to roads. Board members Billy Benefield and Steven Harris publicly supported the tax.

Eloi said in his report the COVID-19 vaccine was offered to staff and the parish has less than a 10% positivity rate. He said quarantines have been ordered “at a high degree of caution” in some cases. In addition, RN Brandi Fredieu, has been added to staff to trace COVID cases and communicate directly with families.

The board introduced their vision, Persistant Pursuit of Progress, this week.

Eloi updated the board on the unitary status court case. Three years ago the district achieved unitary status with the stipulation it be maintained for a period of three years, which it did. Unitary status proves the system is cognizant of equality. Since the district achieved and maintained the status, if the application is approved, a federal judge will no longer have to oversee the system. “We still are going to abide by the philosophy and ideals behind the desegregation case, which is to treat students with equity no matter race, creed, color, religion, etc.,” Eloi said.

In weekend print edition Feb. 6-7, 2021