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Photos of Shelby Ledet, Zach Cryer and Shannon MathersA National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist and award-winning debater; an aspiring Cyber Engineer and president of his school’s Student Council; and a young lady who loves acting and dreams of helping animals by becoming a veterinarian. That is a small glimpse at the three students surprised today by Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey with the news they were selected as the 2019-20 Bossier Parish Students of the Year.

Shelby Ledet is a fifth grader at Stockwell Place Elementary and is the Bossier Parish Elementary Student of the Year. Her talents run the gamut, from being a gymnast and playing Dorothy in a school performance to being a community volunteer and member of her school’s world-winning archery team, Ledet is excited to advance to regionals and represent Bossier Schools at the Louisiana Student of the Year competition. 

Middle School Student of the Year Zach Cryer is in eighth grade at Benton Middle and President of the Student Council. He is also Team Captain for Math Counts and Cyber Patriots, participates in archery, 4-H and plans to pursue a degree in Cyber Engineering. Cryer is no stranger to the Student of the Year competition. When in fifth grade, he was named the 2017 Louisiana Elementary Student of the Year. 

Airline High School senior Shannon Mathers is the district’s High School Student of the Year. The accomplished 12th grader is a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist, President of math honor society Mu Alpha Theta and Vice President of Airline’s debate team. Mathers is also an AP Scholar of Distinction whose career goal is to improve the quality of life through innovative machines in mechanical engineering, and to better the accessibility and prevalence of renewable energy sources. 

“These three students are nothing short of amazing. Not only are they academically on top of their game, but I am in awe of how involved they are at their schools and in the community,” said Superintendent Downey. “Bossier Schools will be represented well at the regional level of the Louisiana Student of the Year competition and we have high hopes Shelby, Zach and Shannon will advance to State. We could not be more proud to call them Bossier’s own.”

Posted 1/14/20

 

Photo of Dennis Bamburg with wifeA new leader is taking the reins as 2020 Bossier Parish School Board President and it is District 12 representative Dennis Bamburg, Jr. 

After reflecting on accomplishments made in 2019, BPSB President Shane Cheatham passed the gavel to Bamburg at the BPSB meeting held January 9. District 3 BPSB representative Tammy Smith took over as Vice President.  

The following is a transcript of President Bamburg’s speech he gave.  

 

I would like to first thank Shane for his leadership in 2019. You find out about your leader during the times when things don't go your way. We had some setbacks in 2019 and you rose to every occasion and led us with wisdom and courage. Job well done. I only hope I can fill the shoes you are leaving behind.. 

Secondly, I would like to thank God for this system and all He has done to bless it. 

I would be remiss if I didn't thank the great SOBO community for allowing me to serve them in this capacity and represent them on the BPSB. It is truly an honor to represent you. I would also like to thank my fellow board members for their confidence in me to serve as President in 2020. Congratulations to Tammy Smith on serving as Vice President. I look forward to working with you and our board in the upcoming year. 

I would like to take this time to introduce family that is here tonight supporting me in this role. This position does take away some evenings at home with my family and I truly thank them for understanding and allowing me to miss movie night every once in a while. My wife of 25 years this June, Lauren, is a TAP teacher in our system and a graduate of Airline High School. My children, Victoria and Olivia, are both products of Bossier Parish. Victoria is currently a sophomore at Ole Miss where she is studying to become an elementary teacher. Olivia is currently a junior at Parkway High School. 

Ok … 2020. What can I say about 2020? 2020 is going to be a fantastic year. We are already set to accomplish some big things in 2020. Finally ..... Haughton High School will be funded for a much needed renovation. We will be tearing down some dilapidated areas of that campus and replacing with a new wing to accommodate that growing population. Benton Middle campus will be a split campus serving 5-6 and 7-8. We will be funding a wing project at the Benton Middle campus to accommodate that community and the massive growth that is happening there. We will be funding a much needed wing at Cope Middle School. During 2020, we will be selling the last of the 2012 construction bond money. These projects are needed because of the continued growth in Bossier Parish. And I personally believe that the reason Bossier Parish is growing is because of the Bossier Parish school system. 

To the teachers, paras,, bus drivers,, counselors,, administrators,, food service,, central office, (let’s just say every employee in our system). Thank you for what you do on a daily basis. I have said in many settings that you are not only educating and transporting these students .... You are raising some of these students. You are in some cases the brightest thing they have in their day or their life. Thank you for always going above and beyond to be that light of hope for these students. Please know that you are teaching way more than math and English. You are teaching LIFE. I hope that you know that you are truly changing the trajectory of students’ lives with what you do and that is the reason this parish is the best system in the state. 

We, as a board, are committed to this parish. We have set the bar for the state for teachers and students to be able to teach and learn in a safe environment. Our commitment remains to keep a School Resource Officer at each of our locations so that the staff and students are as safe as they can be while in our schools. We are also committed to continue to look into any idea that will allow us to move the needle in the way of a pay raise. I commit to continually work with our business community, property owners, Chamber, citizens, and within our budget to find an option that works for all parties.

Posted 1/10/20

A huge thanks to everyone who dropped money in the red kettles December 7 during the Bossier Schools vs. Caddo Schools Red Kettle Challenge.

The Salvation Army has counted all the coins and the results are in. Bossier Schools WON the friendly competition this year between the two school districts, collecting a record amount of donations in a day.

Generous donors dropped $6,893.40 in red kettles on the Bossier side and $6,123.43 in Caddo for a total of $13,016.83.

Best of all, every dollar raised during Bossier vs. Caddo Schools’ Red Kettle Challenge stays in our local community, benefiting The Salvation Army programs including the Merkle Center of Hope, the Boys and Girls Club and senior citizen and veteran programs.

A big thanks to everyone who volunteered to ring with us and those that gave so generously from their hearts!

Posted 12/20/19

 

Group photo of grant winnersSanta is a busy guy this time of year at the North Pole, yet he and Mrs. Claus took the time to travel 

December 9, 2019 to Bossier Parish with $60,000 piled in the sleigh for 29 teachers on the “nice” list. 

Thanks to the support of the Biedenharn Foundation, 24 grant projects are being funded by the Sydney Biedenharn Educators Endowment. Established six years ago, the grant program is in memory of the late educator whose children attended Bossier Schools and whose family first owned Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Shreveport.

This year marks 101 classroom grants totaling $215,000 that have been awarded to Bossier Parish teachers by the Biedenharn Foundation. Sydney Biedenharn’s daughter, Reina Walker Bailey, attended the awards reception held in the recipients’ honor and was impressed by the innovative ways they planned to put the grant money to use to increase student engagement and learning.

Some of them included incorporating science take-out kits and Little Bits circuitry in class; starting an after-school carpentry and construction program at one school and offering an after-hours program for special needs students at another; offering more reading resources for English Learners; and adding pottery wheels and a kiln to work with 3D dimensions.  

It was those projects centering around art that took special meaning for Bailey, given her mother’s love for the arts. 

Elementary winners of the 2019 Sydney Biedenharn Educators Endowment are: Ashley Concilio and Jan Rogers, Bellaire; Christy Scott, Elm Grove; Tiffani Maddox, Kingston; and Lynn Gabbard, Meadowview. 

Middle school recipients are: Rebekka Gibbs, Elm Grove; Kelly Birdson, Cope; Robert Gallant, Greenacres; Lynn Blumentritt, Cope; Khara Simpkins, Benton; Matt Mangum, Elm Grove; Hannah Cruz, Elm Grove; Belvia Brock, Patricia Kimbrough and Adam Edwards, Butler Educational Complex; Amy Keel and Sharon Pollock, Elm Grove; Jamie Hill and Lane Raley, Elm Grove; Brandi Dye, Cope; and Shawna Creamer, Rusheon.

Winners from the high school level are: Morgan Farmer, Airline; Marie Kalmback, Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning (BPSTIL); Becky Trammel, BPSTIL; Kellie Harper, Benton; Chyrissee Moore, Benton; Christie LeCompte, Haughton; Kym Klaus, Parkway; and Debi Jacobi, Parkway.

“We are beyond grateful to the Biedenharn Foundation for choosing to continue investing in our educators and students,” said Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey. “We see the difference their support makes. There are more positive outcomes, which only increase as time goes on. On behalf of Bossier Schools, we are honored and humbled to carry on Sydney Biedenharn’s legacy and love for learning.”

Posted 12/10/19

Students carry a banner proclaiming Bossier High s B letter gradeState report cards are out for 2018-19 and Bossier Parish is making the grade. The district received an ‘A’ for student growth from the Louisiana Department of Education, three schools improved their letter grades, 17 received the distinction as Top Gains schools or Equity Honorees, and Bossier Schools’ Early Childhood Network earned top marks for preparing our youngest learners for kindergarten.

“I am incredibly proud of the gains seen in nearly every category, which is attributable to our teachers’ love for their profession,” said Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey. “By offering them innovative professional development opportunities, our educators are on fire and eager to inject that excitement into their classrooms. It only makes sense. When teachers feel energized and elevated, their enthusiasm is contagious, and that impacts not only student engagement and achievement, but leads to a positive change in school culture.”

Bossier Schools improved in a number of performance areas and a community pep rally was held at Bossier High School to celebrate. Though its ‘B’ letter grade remained the same, the overall district performance score improved and Bossier earned an ‘A’ for student growth. Students who graduated from high school in four years increased significantly to 85.7-percent; LEAP results propelled Bossier Parish to lead the northern region in district math scores;  and the high school progress index made a huge jump, moving Bossier Schools from 19th in the state to the top 10. 

Three schools’ remarkable gains thrust them in the spotlight. Benton Elementary, Bossier High and Greenacres Middle Schools moved up to a ‘B’ letter grade. Schools earning an ‘A’ in the growth index and attaining Top Gains distinction are: Airline, Benton, Haughton and Parkway High Schools; Benton Middle; and Apollo, Benton, Haughton, Kingston, Legacy, Plantation Park, Stockwell Place and W.T. Lewis Elementary Schools. Four elementary schools received Equity Honoree status for scoring in the 90th percentile among special subgroup populations. They are: Kingston, Legacy, Stockwell Place and W.T. Lewis.

Performance profiles for early childhood education were also released and 100-percent of Bossier Schools’ pre-kindergarten classrooms rated proficient, with 81-percent being deemed highly proficient. Bossier Early Childhood Community Network, which includes partner sites that collaborate with Bossier Schools, saw dramatic improvement. The number of sites earning a proficient or highly proficient rating jumped 19-percent to reflect 94-percent of all four-year-olds being served in the network as attending high-quality sites. Those sites include public school, Head Start and licensed child care centers. Three were also included on the Early Childhood Education Honor Roll. First Friends Learning Center, All About Kids and Bossier Office of Community Services Early Head Start were cited for demonstrating high performance for Louisiana’s youngest learners.

For a complete list of results by school and district, visit Louisiana School and Center Finder.

Posted 11/6/19

 

Photos of Rebekah Gibbs and Connie MillerBossier educators are always impressing us by learning and leading.

Case in point, Rebekah Gibbs and Connie Miller have been chosen by the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE) as Regional Award Winners. Gibbs is the Region 7 Middle/Junior High Teacher of the Year for grades 6-8 and Miller is the Region 7 Leader of the Year.

These ladies will attend the LACUE conference in December in New Orleans. Miller will be presenting LACUE's first Google Certified Educator Level I Boot Camp, while Gibbs will be learning exciting new ways to integrate technology in her AIM classroom at Elm Grove Middle School.

Way to lead in Bossier Parish and beyond! 

Posted 10/29/19

Group photo of Superintendent Downey with students that earned perfect LEAP scoresA big shout-out to the students that earned 76 perfect LEAP scores in one or more content areas of the spring 2019 state assessment.

 

These students were recognized in a special way at the September 19 Bossier Parish School Board meeting. Superintendent Mitch Downey gave them passes to Dixie Maze Farms as part of his first Superintendent Shout-Out award.

 

Special thanks to Mike Billings from Dixie Maze Farms and Cumulus Radio for sponsoring this Superintendent Shout-Out, which is a special pat on the back given to Bossier Parish students and employees for doing something exceptional. These students definitely did that!

Posted 9/23/19

 

 

Photo of National Merit Semi-FinalistsShrieks of excitement undoubtedly echoed in the halls at three Bossier Parish high schools as principals received and delivered the news that three of their students advanced as National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalists. 

Dario Cosic from Parkway; Shannon Mathers from Airline; and Cameron Thomas from Benton were among the 16,000 students in the nation recognized for their outstanding academic achievements. To put it in perspective, more than 1.6 million students apply each year for the National Merit Scholarship Program. 

Cosic is the secretary of the senior class at Parkway and is Vice President of the National Honor Society. He is also enrolled in the prestigious SMART program through Bossier Schools. 

Mathers is currently ranked number one in her class and involved in a number of school clubs and extracurricular activities. She is the Vice President of Airline’s Debate team and has won numerous awards at debate competitions. 

Thomas is also number one in his class at Benton, where he is the squad leader in Band; a member of the National Honor Society; and medalist in chemistry at Literary Rally. 

Cosic, Mathers and Thomas are now in contention as National Merit Scholar Finalists, with the National Merit Scholarship being the most prestigious honor bestowed on high school seniors. 

Bossier Schools congratulates these three exceptional students! 

Posted 9/13/19

 

Banner of BPSB vision and mission statementBossier Schools is raising the bar on student achievement and making impressive gains across the district, as seen today by the 2019 Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) student progress measure released by the state Department of Education. 

This measure is a component of Louisiana’s accountability system designed to provide students, parents, educators and the public with information on the growth students make from one year to the next. 

An admirable 70-percent of Bossier schools increased the percentage of students earning mastery or advanced in grades 3-8 math, Algebra I and geometry, the largest gains being made at Benton, Curtis and Legacy Elementary Schools. Stockwell Place Elementary, Benton Middle and Benton High are the district pacesetters in the percent of students earning mastery or above on the math portion of the LEAP. 

Significant strides were also made in the percent of students earning mastery or advanced on the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the assessment, with the largest growth gains at Benton, Elm Grove and Sun City Elementary Schools; Greenacres and Haughton Middle Schools; and Haughton and Parkway High Schools. The schools with the highest percentage of students earning mastery or above on the ELA and science sections are Kingston Elementary, Benton Middle and Benton High. 

Another area to spotlight is the district’s Top Growth status, which shows over half of Bossier schools scoring in the top two levels of the progress index, representing the 60th to 99th percentile relative to similar peers across the state. Raising the bar by at least six-percent growth in math and/or ELA are Apollo Elementary, Central Park Elementary, Elm Grove Elementary, Legacy Elementary, W.T. Lewis Elementary, Greenacres Middle and Haughton High. 

Additionally impressive is, when ELA and math scores are combined, a third of the Top Growth schools in northwest Louisiana are in Bossier Parish. They are: Kingston Elementary; Stockwell Place Elementary; Apollo Elementary; Central Park Elementary; and Parkway High School. 

Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey said, “Taking the leap to invest in and implement Tier 1 curriculum that aligns with state standards has not been easy by any stretch for our teachers or students, but seeing these significant gains in student growth and achievement proves their efforts have been more than worthwhile.”

Posted 8/27/19