Program helps student behavior, performance at Ralph Wilson

Program helps students behavior and grades at Ralph Wilson

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - In December, the Calcasieu Parish School Board heard recommendations on possible school closures to help ease a projected $10 million shortfall in the 2014-2015 budget.

Reynaud Middle, John F. Kennedy Elementary and Ralph Wilson Elementary are on the list.

Ralph Wilson Principal Wynetta Proctor said it's disheartening to hear they are once again being considered and she hopes board members will recognize their efforts.

One such effort is the program "I am; You are; We can".

Proctor said the program, implemented last year, has helped students and she hopes it will change the mind of board members.

"It's a mentoring (and) self-esteem building program that helps with both academics and behavior," Proctor said.

Fifth-grader Jaylin Williams said it is something he's happy to do.

"We go to the classes every Monday morning and we always encourage the younger grades to be the best of their ability," Williams said.

As part of the program, students wear lanyards.

"And they get their papers and they can write whatever words they want and they can color it also," explained another fifth grade student, Kaya Garriet.

While Ry'n Guillory said she's seen changes, "there's no bullying, there's no suspensions, fights or none of that."

"This also has helped them to focus more academically, to be able to concentrate, and have high expectations for their grades and work habits," Proctor said.

Despite the success, the school still faces possible closure.

The Calcasieu Parish School Board was expected to discuss the issue next Tuesday, but members will now hold a separate meeting sometime in the future.

Even the possibility has had an impact on students. Kaya reflects it on her lanyard, writing the words determined and unstoppable on this particular day.

"I have determined and unstoppable because I am determined to keep our school open and I am very unstoppable," Kaya said.

"A school is a vital entity within a community and when you close a school you begin to diminish a community," Proctor said.

Proctor said they'll be at that special meeting to try and keep their doors open.

Wilson has been up for closure in the past, but Proctor said it was based on low enrollment.

Calcasieu Parish school officials say no date has been set for the special meeting, but they expect it to happen within the next two weeks.