EBR school board representative Dawn Chanet Collins hosted a New Year’s reception for the principals in East Baton Rouge Parish School System, District 4, with more than 50 residents and community stakeholders present on Jan. 18.
Collins said participation in this Moving District 4 Forward event was “better than anticipated…The purpose of the event was to begin building a strong relationship between the schools in the area and the community – the village – because that is the only way the schools will truly prosper,” she said.
“I promise to bring this type of event to the district at least once a year. It’s so important. Many parents in this area would like to see these schools enhanced so that some of the best programs the district has to offer are right here in their own back yards. Right now, many parents feel compelled to send their kids to options on the other side of town,” Collins said. “I’m excited about moving forward, and I believe this is something Superintendent Drake is eager to do as well.”
Some highlights from the meeting included attendees being made aware that though both North Louisiana and South Louisiana experienced cataclysmic flooding in 2016, the Louisiana Department of Education has not made any provisions to accommodate students who have not been able to prepare for the state’s first mandatory computer-based testing this Spring. Drake has already reached out to the state for a waiver, and State Senator Regina Ashford-Barrow committed to working with her colleagues to address the issue.
Some attendees committed to assisting District 4 schools by donating books and revisiting a partnership with Belair High to bring back the DECA Club. “I know other partnerships will soon follow,” Collins said.
The district includes Belair High School, Brookstown Middle Magnet, Greenbrier Elementary, Howell Park Elementary, La Belle Aire Elementary, Northdale Superintendent’s Academy, Park Forest Elementary, Park Forest Middle, and Villa Del Rey Elementary. Six of them were damaged by the August 2016 flood.
City Councilpersons Donna Collins-Lewis, Erika Green, and LaMont Cole; business owners Jason Gardner of Vivid Images, Jeremy Jackson of State Farm Insurance, and Denise Harris of REMAX Preferred Choice; public education advocates Rev. Reginald Pitcher and Anthony Troy Dennis; Johnny Anderson, deputy chief of staff for Governor John Bel Edwards; and Darlene Fields, Congressman Cedric Richmond’s representative for the Baton Rouge area attended the event at Baby Dolls Café on Greenwell Springs Road.
Collins said she is planning to host meetings specifically for parents and caregivers who reside in or send their children to schools in District 4.