LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Louisiana Department of Education announced six additional pilot programs for several schools and school systems across the state to help strengthen the state’s overall education system.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved these pilot programs aimed to increase access to early childhood education and improve quality. The first pilot programs were announced earlier this year.
Three of the pilot programs are coming to some Southwest Louisiana School Systems.
Infant CLASS Support
The Jeff Davis Parish School System is getting just over $9,000, and the Calcasieu Parish School System is getting $50,000.
“Basically what it looks at is the teacher-child interactions and so with that what we do is we provide the teachers with hands on training on what they will be evaluated on," Early Childhood Director Michelle Joubert for Calcasieu Parish said. "We have them come in and they have an opportunity to receive professional development on those particular strategies that they should be implementing with the students on a consistent basis.”
Joubert says the program will allow them to work with the 39 childcare centers in the Parish, teaching techniques to use in the classroom.
According to the Department of Education, the purpose of Infant CLASS Support is ‘to support teachers in infant classrooms, the Louisiana Department of Education will offer lead agencies the opportunity to provide teachers and directors with high-quality, evidence-based professional development specifically targeted toward infant-teacher interactions. The Preschool Development Grant will fund 87% of these allocations, and the Kellogg grant will fund the remaining 13%’.
Ready Start Networks Cohort 2
The Calcasieu Parish School System is getting $100,000.
According to the Department of Education, ‘during the 2018 legislative session, RS 17.407.23 was amended to authorize the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish pilot programs to implement new strategies for increasing access to and improving the quality of publicly-funded early childhood care and education. This is the second cohort of Ready Start Early Childhood Community Networks. Cohort 1 launched in January 2019. Results of the activities undertaken by these pilots will inform the Department, BESE, the Early Childhood Commission, and the Legislature about the influence of structured, shared decision making on improving quality and access for publicly-funded early childhood programs'.
“That grant allows us to collaborate with various entities so that we can hopefully solicit funding, as well as support, and coming up with our local governance for our early childhood program in Calcasieu.” Joubert said.
This board will be made up of local stakeholders from charter schools, non-public schools, local businesses, and childcare centers.
They will help make decisions that affect the students in the Parish.
Joubert says they have already began selecting members for this board, which would report to the School Board.
School Redesign Grant
According to the Department of Education, ‘The Every Student Succeeds Act requires school systems to build plans to improve struggling schools. The state must use 7 percent of the state’s Title I funds to support high quality improvement plans. In Louisiana, these funds will be competitively awarded to school systems that build the strongest plans for improvement'.
The Calcasieu Parish School Board released a statement regarding the School Redesign Grant saying, ‘In year one of the School Redesign Grant, Calcasieu Parish School Board received over $2 million dollars. With those funds, CPSB developed the R3 Zone targeting persistently struggling schools. In year two, our current year, we pieced together several grants to continue to fund the R3 Zone. With these grants, we are also planning to add an additional school, Oak Park Elementary, to the R3 Zone this school year. As we prepare to enter year three next year, funding sources have yet to be fully determined’.
According to the Department of Education, schools and school systems have to apply to be selected for the pilot programs, which are funded through a federal grant Louisiana won at the start of the year.