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Salvation Army, Baton Rouge organizations to assist families Saturday preparing for school year

The Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge, with the help of other local service organizations, will provide backpacks stuffed with school supplies Saturday to families preparing for the new school year. The Salvation Army’s Back-to-School Bash will distribute resources and health information from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its Corps Community Center, 7361 Airline Highway.… Continue reading →

State revokes license of Baton Rouge child care center after reports of 2-year-old child left behind on field trip

The state has launched action to revoke the license of a Baton Rouge child care center after a complaint that its employees left behind a 2-year-old at a restaurant during a field trip, officials said Friday. The facility is the Our Blessings Christian Daycare Learning Center, 9835 Old Hammond Highway. Officials of the state Department of… Continue reading →

LSU student media leaders consider cutting Reveille print frequency

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- People walk by a Daily Reveille newspaper bin in LSU quadrangle. LSU's Daily Reveille student newspaper may discontinue its printed edition.

LSU student media leaders are weighing proposals for potentially drastic changes to campus news offerings, including possibly cutting the print frequency of LSU’s Daily Reveille student newspaper. Steve Buttry, who became LSU’s student media director in May and is leading the ongoing discussion, said the ideas are being driven by an industrywide shift toward digital… Continue reading →

LSU’s King, Superintendent Drake work on plans to bring district’s sixth graders to tour campus

LSU is planning to open its doors on successive Fridays this fall so sixth-graders from public middle schools in Baton Rouge can get a taste of what college is like in hopes that they will later pursue higher education. New East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Warren Drake and LSU Chancellor and President F. King Alexander agreed… Continue reading →

It’s hot out there: Tangipahoa schools to allow all students to wear shorts

Photo provided by WWL-TV -- A group of Tangipahoa Parish women have started an online petition asking schools delay the start of classes because of the intense heat.

In response to the recent outcry from parents about sending their children to school amid the intense summer heat, Tangipahoa Parish school administrators amended the district’s uniform policies to allow students to wear shorts. Effective immediately, all students will be allowed to wear “khaki or navy, twill, loose-fitting walking… Continue reading →

Report: Despite gains in Louisiana and nationwide, African American students lag on ACT, even when they take key classes

African-American students are less likely than their peers to meet college readiness benchmarks even when they complete the recommended high school courses, according to a national report issued Monday. “The report shows that even when they are doing what they are supposed to do in terms of taking the recommended college preparatory curriculum and earning a high… Continue reading →

Southern University eyes iPads as replacement for textbooks

In just a few years, bulky textbooks will likely be a thing of the past for Southern University students. In an effort to lighten the load — and expense — on students, the university is embracing the iPad. Starting with the fall 2016 semester, every entering freshman at Southern University will be required to have one of… Continue reading →

Some parents say it's 'entirely too hot' for school in early August; Tangipahoa board open to future changes

Advocate staff photo by CHRISTINE MORGAN ARCENEAUX - Brock Jackson, 12, carries his school supplies off the bus after arriving Thursday at Ponchatoula Middle School for the first day of school in Tangipahoa Parish.

A petition to delay the start date for Tangipahoa Parish schools due to excessive heat has drawn thousands of supporters — and similar requests are being made across the state — but it won’t change the parish’s school calendar just yet. The online petition, which seeks to move the parish’s… Continue reading →

New Southern U leader: ‘I think we have a great story to tell’

Advocate Photo by ELIZABETH CRISP -- Newly installed Southern University President and Chancellor Ray Belton addresses the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, July 20, 2015.

Three weeks into his new role as president and chancellor of Southern University, Ray Belton said he is looking for ways to enhance the system’s campuses and highlight the historically black college’s relevancy today. “I’m not sure if we are telling our story, because I think we have a great story to tell,” Belton said during a… Continue reading →

LSU athletics to transfer $10 million to university to provide 'vital resources'

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Aerial of LSU showing the track, PMAC, Tiger Stadium and new Alex Box Stadium.

. LSU's athletic department announced Monday that it'll transfer $10 million to the university -- about $3 million more than its required payment. LSU’s main campus receives a guaranteed $7.2 million from its athletics program each year, according to the athletics funds transfer policy approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2012. In a news release,… Continue reading →

Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White hopes part of state's public school overhaul goes national

Wading into a coast-to-coast debate, state Superintendent of Education John White hopes to nationalize a Louisiana education program that has sparked a lawsuit and other controversy. The program, dubbed “course choice,” was part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 2012 public schools overhaul. It was touted as a way for students to be able to take… Continue reading →

Gubernatorial rivals find common ground concerning criticisms of Bobby Jindal

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, left, and John Bel Edwards speak, Friday, July 17, 2015, during a forum hosted by the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (A+PEL) during their 2015 Summer Conference Gubernatorial Candidate Forum at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge, La.

Two candidates for governor, a Republican and a Democrat, found common ground Friday in blasting what they called the failings of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s nearly eight years in office. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who like Jindal is a Republican, said he was serving his roughly 70th day this year as “acting governor” — Dardenne’s designation Continue reading →

East Baton Rouge School Board agrees to expand Manners of the Heart program to 15 schools, but one educator has reservations

Without discussion, the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on Thursday approved expanding a Baton Rouge-based character education program this fall from two to 15 schools. New Superintendent Warren Drake has pressed the board to adopt Manners of the Heart, a program he used early on in his tenure as Zachary schools superintendent and for which… Continue reading →

ACT scores rise in Louisiana to 19.4

Advocate Photo by WILL SENTELL -- State Superintendent of Education John White said Thursday July 16, 2015 that this year's ACT results are most notable because of the increase in the number of Louisiana seniors who scored well enough to attend a college without having to take remedial courses.

While still low nationally, the average composite score in Louisiana for a test of college readiness rose in 2015, officials said Thursday. The ACT exam shows how public and private high school students fared on questions about English, math, reading and science. The state’s average composite score is 19.4, up from 19.2 last… Continue reading →

Baker school district belt-tightening claims 17 positions already with another 10 to go this week, along with furloughs for administrative staff

Dutchtown High physics teacher receives presidential award; to be honored in Washington, D.C.

Photo provided by Jackie Tisdell  Ascension Public Schools teacher Michael Brenden Simoneaux won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.   The Dutchtown High School physics teacher is one of only two in Louisiana to receive the national honor.

A physics teacher at Dutchtown High School in Geismar received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, a national honor announced by President Barack Obama. Michael “Brenden” Simoneaux, who has taught science at the high school since 2003, is one of only two teachers in the state to receive the award. “These teachers… Continue reading →

East Baton Rouge Superintendent Warren Drake gets warm reception from conservatives as he outlines plans to improve the school system

Advocate staff photo by CHARLES LUSSIER -- EBR School Superintendent Warren Drake speaks local Republicans at the Reagan Luncheon on Tuesday.

Warren Drake, East Baton Rouge Parish’s new school superintendent, told an audience of local conservative leaders Tuesday that he is making changes to improve public schools enough to stem the historic outflow of students to private and public charter schools. While there are “beacons of excellence,” Drake acknowledged the East Baton Rouge Parish school system is… Continue reading →

Central School Board extends contract of Superintendent Michael Faulk

The Central School Board on Monday gave Superintendent Michael Faulk another near-perfect job evaluation and agreed to extend his contract for 2½ years, meaning it won’t expire until June 30, 2019. Faulk is the only superintendent Central has had since it broke away from the East Baton Rouge Parish school system in 2007. During his eight-year… Continue reading →

St. Tammany educator named state Teacher of the Year

Photo provided by St. Tammany Parish Public School SystemAt the elementary school level, the St. Tammany Parish teacher of the year is Kelly Stomps, a music teacher at Woodlake Elementary School in Mandeville.

An elementary school teacher in the St. Tammany Parish school system was named the 2016 state Teacher of the Year on Saturday night. Kelly Stomps, who teaches music and strings for students from kindergarten through third grade at Woodlake Elementary School in Mandeville, won the honor during the ninth annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence… Continue reading →

Teachers taught lessons to drive more students to science and technology careers

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- From left,  teachers Shawn Marburger (Brookstown Middle), Shannon Groll (Park Forest Middle), Carolyn Feinberg (Baton Rouge High) and Rebecca Holloway (Park Forest Middle) work on their team's calculations and bungee length, as their 'Ken' doll awaits his adventure, during a math exercise called 'Barbie Doll Bungee Jumping' at Capitol Middle School Friday.

A succession of middle and high school science teachers on Friday climbed the bleachers at Capitol Middle School carrying Barbie or Ken dolls tied to long strands of strung-together rubber bands and proceeded to drop them to the gym floor. The winning doll managed to come within 4 centimeters of the floor without hitting. Other… Continue reading →

American Association of University Professors backs fired LSU professor, provides money for her legal defense

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU professor Teresa Buchanan says she was dismissed in a 'witchhunt' over her occasional use of profanity in the classroom.

Stepping up its criticism of LSU, a top national organization of university professors on Thursday announced it will publish a report critical of the university’s recent firing of associate professor Teresa Buchanan for alleged sexual harassment and pledged money to help with her legal defense. The report known as a “supplementary report” will be only the… Continue reading →

Online portal set up by Department of Education allows public to comment on Common Core subject standards

Parents and others can begin offering comments on Common Core through an online portal that is the first step in the review of the standards, officials of the state Department of Education said Wednesday. The portal allows those using it to review each standard in math, reading and writing, to make suggestions and to say whether it… Continue reading →

Wasting no time, new Pointe Coupee superintendent sets ambitious agenda for improving parish’s schools

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- New Pointe Coupee Parish Schools superintendent Kevin Lemoine, left, talks Wednesday about physical changes occurring to the Livonia High School cafeteria, and possible procedural changes in the flow of students through the cafeteria, during a site tour with school principal Stacy Gueho, right, on Lemoine's first official day as the new superintendent.

In his first week as Pointe Coupee Parish’s new school superintendent, Kevin Lemoine has already toured all five of the district’s campuses, met with principals and key staff and started crunching numbers for the district’s next fiscal year budget. And it looks like things won’t be slowing down any time soon for the 51-year-old educator.… Continue reading →

Warren Drake: 'I don’t see myself as that savior' to mend discontent at center of St. George movement

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- The ascension of Warren Drake to EBR School Superintendent has raised hopes anew that he can do what others have failed to, to heal the breach in this city over public education that led to the St. George incorporation movement. Unlike past superintendents, Drake is a local son, a respected educator, a former principal of BR high school and former supt. of the top-rated Zachary school district.

As the fight over St. George shifts to the courts, many local leaders are pinning their hopes on new East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Warren Drake to reverse the discontent over the schools that led to the push to create a new city with an independent school system. They’re hoping the 63-year-old Drake will be able to… Continue reading →

Feud simmering between four-year and two-year colleges over state funding distribution

State funding for Louisiana’s colleges and universities became a unifying force in the most recent legislative session, but behind the scenes, animosity has been simmering over a disparity in the way two-year and four-year institutions are funded. Leaders on the community college level say the state funds have been distributed to “keep doors open” at four-year colleges,… Continue reading →

LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack Weiss to step down in August, cites 'major policy differences with a vocal segment of the faculty'

Advocate Photo by April Buffington --  Jack Weiss, chancellor of the LSU Law Center, speaks to the board of supervisors in April 2010.

Jack Weiss, head of the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, is stepping down as law chancellor and dean in August in the wake of conflicts with faculty, some of whom had advocated for his ouster. “I am proud of the many positive developments at the Law Center during my eight years as chancellor and look… Continue reading →

East Baton Rouge School Board gives initial nod to expanding Manners of the Heart character education program to 15 schools

A Baton Rouge-based character education program got a boost Thursday as the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board recommended expanding it from two to 15 schools this fall. The expansion would cost about $500,000 a year, of which about $300,000 would be paid for by the school system. The initiative has the support… Continue reading →

LSU breaks its silence on fired professor, says verbal abuse and intimidation were the reasons for the firing, not only her use of vulgar language

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU professor Teresa Buchanan says she was dismissed in a 'witchhunt' over her occasional use of profanity in the classroom.

LSU broke its silence Wednesday about the June 19 firing of associate professor Teresa Buchanan, saying she was fired not only for isolated incidents of using curse words and making sexually themed jokes but also because of “documented evidence of a history of inappropriate behavior that included verbal abuse, intimidation and harassment of our students.” In… Continue reading →

Special ed diploma plan unveiled by the Louisiana Department of Education

Students with significant disabilities would have a pathway to a high school diploma under a plan unveiled Tuesday by the state Department of Education. The proposal is in the form of a waiver request submitted by the state to federal officials, who review changes to ensure compliance with federal law. If approved, it would, for the… Continue reading →

National organization defends LSU professor fired for spicy language, risqué jokes

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU professor Teresa Buchanan says she was dismissed in a 'witchhunt' over her occasional use of profanity in the classroom.

The top national organization of university professors on Tuesday urged LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander to reconsider the recent firing of associate professor Teresa Buchanan, saying it places the university well outside of the “mainstream of our secular research universities.” The LSU Board of Supervisors on June 19 carried out Alexander’s recommendationContinue reading →

Governor candidate John Bel Edwards says schools chief John White needs to go

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH--John Bel Edwards answers questions during the Louisiana gubernatorial candidate forum at the Alario Center in Westwego on Wednesday, June 18, 2015.

Democrat John Bel Edwards said Sunday night that, if he is elected governor, he would oppose state Superintendent of Education John White remaining in his post. “I have no intention of allowing John White, who isn’t qualified to be a middle school principal, to remain as superintendent when I am governor,” Edwards said in a prepared… Continue reading →

LSU professor fired for using salty language in classroom claims she's ‘witch hunt’ victim, plans suit

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU professor Teresa Buchanan sorts the trash from the treasure as she packs up the office she's had at LSU for the past 14 years. She was dismissed after she was accused of sexual harassment of students but says the allegations aren't true.

An LSU associate professor has been fired for using curse words and for telling the occasional sexually-themed joke to undergraduate students, creating what university administrators describe as a “hostile learning environment” that amounted to sexual harassment. A faculty committee that reviewed her case gave a few “notable” examples: Saying “F*** no” repeatedly in the presence of… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee School Board halts pending lawsuit against the state, bids farewell to Superintendent Linda D’Amico

Advocate  Staff Photo by  Mark Saltz   August 4, 2009  Trax # 00018156a Super Search Linda D'Amico mugshot as the Pointe Coupee School Board interviews five finalist for the Superintendent job on August 4, 2009.

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board on Thursday put the brakes on pending litigation to recoup more than $1 million from the state’s Recovery School District, which the school district intended to use for much-needed repairs at Pointe Coupee Central High School. The board made the unanimous decision after… Continue reading →

Radical changes to Louisiana public schools under Bobby Jindal, but what have been the impacts?

Republican presidential candidate, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks with Stephen Rodrigueze during a campaign stop at Saint Anselm College, Thursday, June 25, 2015, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Gov. Bobby Jindal radically overhauled Louisiana’s public schools, but disputes remain on the impact. Jindal, who is touting his education record in his bid for the 2016 presidential nomination, spent much of his second-term political capital in 2012 when he rammed three sweeping bills through the Legislature that changed the way public schools operate in… Continue reading →

Why new Lee High tied to LSU will be 'something no one has seen' in Louisiana, looks more like slick office complex than school

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Earl Kern, right,  program manager fro CSRS/Tillage Construction, chats with Principal Nan McCann, left and Warren Drake, acting Schools Superintendent during  a tour of the new Lee High School construction site Monday.

Still months away from completion and more than a year from opening, the new Lee High School is resembling less a high school and more a Silicon Valley office complex. The plans for what will happen inside the four large buildings sprouting up along Lee Drive, though, could prove even more unusual. Organizers are developing what… Continue reading →

Officials in early talks to toughen academic standards for public schools to earn 'A' rating

State education leaders Friday began preliminary talks on how to toughen academic standards and make it harder for public schools to earn an A rating. “We do need to figure out what is that path,” said Jessica Baghian, assistant superintendent for assessments and accountability. Baghian made her comments to the Accountability Commission, a panel of educators,… Continue reading →

East Baton Rouge School Board adopts Warren Drake’s budget; major changes coming to school district

The East Baton Rouge Parish school system on Thursday unanimously approved a $461 million general operating budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, in the process spending some $30 million more than the school system expects to take in. Incoming Superintendent Warren Drake, however, is looking into ways to cut costs. The first cut, his Continue reading →