LAFAYETTE — The American School Board Journal’s database of “best practices” school programs now includes two Lafayette Parish school system initiatives, the school system reported Thursday.
The district’s Environmental Sciences Academy at Lafayette Middle School and its virtual learning program, eCampus, made a list of 81 programs included in the American School Board Journal’s 2012 Magna Awards Best Practices Database.
The district submitted the programs for consideration for the journal’s Magna Awards, which recognizes innovative “best practices” in school programming. Programs are scored with recognition given to grand prize, winner and honorable mention entries. Other high-scoring entries are also included in the database as “notable programs,” according to the journal’s website.
The two Lafayette programs are listed as “notable programs,” while the district’s Students Making a Remarkable Transition program, created to turn around Alice Boucher Elementary, received an honorable mention. Funding for the SMART program, which included a stipend incentive to recruit and retain teachers if the school’s scores improved, ended this school year based on its scores.
The Magna database “provides the educational community with valuable resources about innovative new ideas, best practices and proven and practical solutions for big- and small-district problems,” the release stated.
The district’s eCampus program started in 2009 and provides students the opportunity to help students stay on track for graduation or take elective courses not offered at their school. Last year, more than 100 juniors and seniors fulfilled their graduation requirements through the program, said Jarrett Coutee, the eCampus administrator in a recent email.
The program serves as a model for other districts in the state, “but now we can help out-of-state schools who are facing similar problems,” stated Coutee in the release.
The district’s Environmental Sciences Academy at Lafayette Middle School began in 2005 with 15 students and now enrolls more than 150 students, according to the release.
The hands-on learning curriculum focuses on environmental sciences and the academy’s students work on projects that have direct impact on the Acadiana community, such as growing black mangrove seedlings and planting them on Grand Isle, and growing cypress seedlings to help reforest black bear habitats on Avery Island.
“This program has changed our school’s culture, and has impacted our community. It’s a privilege to share what we’ve learned with schools in other parts of the country,” said Monique Magee, the school’s principal.