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BPSB logoBossier Schools is excited about forthcoming changes to its virtual learning program and thanks you for entrusting the district with your child’s education.  

Holly George, formerly the Assistant Principal at Airline High School, has been selected as administrator of Bossier Schools' Virtual Learning Program (BSVLP) and she is eager to help your student achieve academic success by increasing engagement, communication and accountability. 

Certified teachers from Bossier Schools are currently being trained as virtual educators to provide the best instruction possible. Because of the tasks needed to ensure a smooth transition from the current platform, the timeline for Bossier Schools’ Virtual Learning Program is being altered.

The start date for grades K-5 will be November 12 and for grades 6-8 it will be November 16.

Virtual teachers will contact parents/students and complete an orientation meeting with them prior to BSVLP going live. Until then, your child’s current teachers who have been providing virtual instruction to support their learning will continue to do so.  

Bossier Schools’ Virtual Learning Program looks forward to working with your family and appreciates your partnership.

Posted 10/29/20

 

 

Group photo in front of iPadsTechnology is at the heart of 21st century learning, and that could not be more evident than these last few months as schools across America educate children during a pandemic. But it does not come cheap and is often beyond a school system’s grasp due to financial constraints.  

Bossier Schools is beyond grateful to be on the receiving end of 40 iPads donated by Altice USA/Suddenlink to connect students to virtual learning platforms. A special thanks to Community Engagement Specialist Candace Kirkendoll, who facilitated the donation.

Altice USA, the parent company of Suddenlink, contributed a total of $1 million to 30 school districts as part of its COVID-19 response initiatives to support the communities it serves as they recover from the impact of the pandemic. These contributions were made in the form of iPads and monetary donations to increase students from Bossier Schools’ access to virtual classrooms opportunities, connectivity and online curriculum.

“At Suddenlink, we are proud to support the communities we serve and their school districts, who play a critical role in helping to develop the innovators and technologists of tomorrow,” said Robbie Lee, Regional Vice President, Midsouth Region.

Altice USA is committed to ensuring broadband access for all and understands that now, more than ever, having the right tools to remain connected is just as critical as access itself. With this contribution, Altice USA hopes students and schools can continue learning in this new, virtual environment.

Posted 10/22/20

Photo of Nicia Bamburg

Bossier Schools’ finances are in excellent hands, earning the highest forms of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting for the 27th consecutive year. 

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (CAFR) is awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association. The Association of School Business Officials International also awarded Bossier Schools an International Certificate of Excellence.

Chief Financial Officer Nicia Bamburg and the Bossier Parish School Board Finance Department received these certifications for the district’s comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. It represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its money management practices.

The CAFR is judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR. 

This is a notable achievement earned by Bamburg and the Finance Department and they are to be commended for exhibiting fiduciary responsibility with Bossier Parish public funds for 27 consecutive years.

Posted 10/19/20

Photo of Clarrissa Stephens on stage with awardFour familiar faces -- and an honorary member of Bossier Schools -- took center stage at Patriots of the Pandemic, an awards ceremony hosted by the Bossier Chamber of Commerce to recognize individuals that went above and beyond to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Bossier Schools’ own Bitsy Cliburn, Jenny Gulett, Ruth Hill and Karla Horton were each nominated for the meaningful ways they reached out when our schools shut down and thousands of people were sent home while front line workers waged battle against COVID. 

Clarrissa Stephens, the Outreach Minister at Northpoint Community Church who helped coordinate volunteers for Bossier Schools’ emergency feeding program, was named one of three overall Patriots of the Pandemic winners.  

 

Here is a snapshot of their outreach efforts: 

 

Bitsy Cliburn teaches Family and Consumer Science for 10th-12th graders at Haughton High. She has been sewing for nearly 40 years and when the pandemic hit, Cliburn knew what she must do; put her talents to use.

After getting permission from Haughton High’s principal, Cliburn enlisted the help of her students to sew face masks for healthcare professionals. Cliburn created video tutorials for her students so they could make face masks at home. She inspired them to help make a difference for the frontline workers that were putting their lives on the line every day. At a time when face masks were in short supply, Cliburn and her students made over 400 for workers in the healthcare community. 

 

Jennifer “Jenny” Gulett sees the needs in Bossier’s Hispanic community more so than most. As an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Central Park Elementary, Gulett has formed deep relationships not just with her students, but their families as well. Those connections became a lifeline for many of them during COVID.  

When schools shut down, Gulett was quick to reach out to her students and their families to see how she could help. After realizing how tremendous their needs for basic necessities were, she reached into her own pocket and partnered with her church to fulfill them. Then, as those needs grew and the school shutdown continued, Gulett reached out to another area church to connect those families with the food and supplies they needed. 

Gulett and another teacher also worked to sort the food, diapers, toilet paper and household supplies, then deliver them. This was necessary due to these families’ transportation limitations. This happened nearly every week from the time schools were closed. 

Her giving spirit did not end there. On Mondays and Wednesdays, Gulett volunteered to serve meals at Central Park, which was an emergency feeding site. This was another way she was able to stay connected with her students and families, whose faces would light up when they saw her. 

It goes to show no matter what language we speak, the human connection is universal and transcends all barriers.  

 

Ruth Hill did not let COVID stop her from making sure her English Learners’  needs at Princeton Elementary were still being met. Even though the school doors were shuttered, Hill remained a beacon of light and went to each of her students’ homes with books and care packages. 

Many of her students’ parents work in the service industry and lost their jobs, so Hill challenged her friends to donate gift cards to help those families put food on their tables. Knowing very few of her students had internet or consistent access to technology, Hill also conducted a book drive to keep them reading while away from school. And she Zoomed each day with those that could connect to keep them engaged.  

Though the spring months were a time of change and uncertainty, Ruth Hill’s love and concern for her students remained a constant and an inspiration to everyone at Bossier Schools. She is a true Patriot of the Pandemic.

 

Karla Horton knows in order for a child to thrive, proper nutrition is critical. Thousands of Bossier Parish children depend each day on the breakfasts and lunches served at schools, so when the mandatory school shutdown was ordered in March, the Child Nutrition Supervisor sprang into action to ensure no child went hungry. 

In a matter of days, Horton coordinated a parish-wide emergency curbside feeding program. This was no small feat. Eight sites were established where any child 18 years of age and younger could pick up “grab and go” meals for the week.  By the end of those 10 weeks, more than 180,000 meals had been served and that does not count for the number of meals delivered to households by the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, which Horton also established.    

Throughout the shutdown, Horton continued to work each day coordinating food deliveries at school serving sites, staying on top of the mountain of paperwork required for emergency feeding programs, working with parents trying to secure services and doing whatever was needed to make sure children were fed. 

Knowing that COVID is still a threat today as it was in the spring, Horton has also put emergency plans in place to ensure continuity in feeding programs should schools be shut down again.  Thanks to Karla Horton, no Bossier Parish child will go hungry. 


 

Clarrissa Stephens is the Outreach Minister at Northpoint Community Church, but what she does for Bossier Schools and the Bossier community as a whole far exceeds her job title. 

When the governor ordered all Louisiana schools to close, Bossier Schools had to turn on a dime and establish emergency feeding sites without the benefit of having full staffing to serve those meals. That’s where Stephens and her team at Northpoint Community Church stepped in. 

Stephens served as the point person and garnered volunteers from several churches in the Bossier community to staff eight serving sites twice a week for two and a half months. During those 10 weeks, volunteers served more than 180,000 meals to Bossier Parish children. Not only did these church partners fulfill Bossier Parish children’s nutritional needs, but they also connected with our families, providing invaluable engagement for the children and emotional support for their parents.  

In addition to staffing the emergency feeding sites, Stephens and her church members provided students in need with backpacks of food for the weekend. 

That is still not where Stephens’ work ended. When the school year officially came to a close, children’s needs did not vanish. Again, under Stephens’ leadership, Northpoint Community Church worked with the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana and two other churches to distribute meals to children throughout the summer. By July 31, the three churches had served nearly 4,000 meals, not counting the food the church gave away every Friday to families needing assistance. 

Additionally, for the past seven years, Northpoint has hosted a back-to-school school uniform giveaway for Bossier City families. Even though the large public giveaway could not happen this year because of COVID, under Stephens’ leadership her church purchased thousands of new uniforms and school supplies and provided them to four Bossier schools with the greatest needs: Bossier Elementary, Central Park Elementary, Plantation Park Elementary and Rusheon Middle School. Another 20 boxes of new uniforms were donated to Bossier Schools’ Homeless and Migrant program to assist those families unable to afford uniforms and school supplies for their children. 

Clarrissa Stephens is the epitome of a “Patriot of the Pandemic.” Though she was surrounded by an army of volunteers, she was integral in recruiting, organizing and motivating that army and Bossier Schools is eternally grateful. 

Posted 9/29/20

Photo of Lt. Col. Dave Hadden in front of a school busFor almost 14,000 students, each day starts and ends with Bossier Schools’ Transportation department. It is no easy feat overseeing 302 buses and a nearly-equal number of bus operators, along with 40 activity drivers, but Lt. Col. (retired) Dave Hadden gets it done -- and adeptly so, even with a smile.

Hadden’s years of military service shaped his philosophy, previously as an ROTC instructor for Parkway High School and now as the district’s Transportation Director. It has served him well.   

“It instilled in me a set of core values that I try to live by every day,” Hadden said. “That is to do what’s right, even when no one is looking; serve others first; and strive for continual improvement.” 

This school year has been a particular challenge. Already faced with a bus operator shortage and an undersized staff, Hadden had to re-design routes to meet COVID passenger capacity limitations. It was a huge undertaking and one that did not go unnoticed by his colleagues. 

“Every employee has worked so hard at getting ready for the 2020-21 school year and each deserves the award,” wrote Shannon Pilkinton, who nominated Hadden for Bossier Schools’ Gold Star employee award. “I believe Colonel has done an exceptional job preparing all of us at Transportation for this school year. We all know it’s not an easy job prepping 250+ buses, operators, aides and mechanics, along with being front and center with the media. I give Colonel an A+ for a job well-handled and executed, along with keeping it positive.” 

Assistant Superintendent of Administration Jason Rowland also sings Col. Hadden’s praises. The two worked hand-in-hand navigating the opening of school amid a pandemic. 

“STRONG Start 2020 starts and stops with Colonel,” Rowland said. “Transportation is key to everything we do. He never says ‘we can’t do that, but rather ‘we will find a way.’ The responsibility Col. Hadden bears is great, but he doesn’t back away from that. He’s just an incredible employee and is a Gold Star every month to me.” 

Mornings start early with a 6 o’clock dispatcher update that gives the Transportation staff an overview of what they are up against; maintenance deficiencies, road hazards, how to cover routes with no drivers. Hadden puts together a game plan, then monitors routes to ensure students make it to school. The rest of the morning is spent problem-solving and returning phone calls, which are not always, shall we say, pleasant. Still, Col. Hadden looks on the bright side and finds gratification in how his entire team comes together. 

“Seeing and hearing the level of effort put forth by bus operators to ensure students are safely transported to and from school,” Hadden explained. “When a bus goes down or a driver is not available that day, operators work together to ensure no student is left behind.” 

“The thing about Col. Hadden is he’s always positive, he doesn’t complain, he doesn’t gripe, he figures out a way to get things done,” added Superintendent Mitch Downey. “He never wants any attention given to him. He’s one of the most humble people I know. He’s an inspiration to me because of his attitude and everyday how he goes about the tasks and things he’s trying to accomplish. I just think he’s incredible and we are tremendously blessed to have him everyday and he deserves to get every ounce of recognition that he gets.” 

With Hadden at the helm, Rowland and Downey are quick to attest that he has transformed the Transportation department, seeking grants and ways to achieve efficiencies. Rather than looking in the rearview mirror, he is always looking and thinking forward.

Bossier Schools and award sponsor Bossier Federal Credit Union are proud to name Col. Hadden as the first Gold Star recipient of the 2020-21 year, although he is quick to give credit where he says the real credit is due. 

“I appreciate the operators submitting this nomination, but this is more about what they do to get 13,800 students to school each day with an impressive safety and service record,” Hadden remarked. “It’s also a tribute to our mechanics that are consistently improving maintenance practices, and for a staff that strives each day to become an even more effective and efficient operation.” 

 

Editor’s note: Know someone who works for Bossier Schools that is deserving of recognition for going above and beyond? Nominate them for the Gold Star award, proudly sponsored for the last nine years by Bossier Federal Credit Union. Just go to https://www.bossierschools.org/goldstarnews and tell us what sets them apart. 

Posted 9/24/20

BPSB logoStarting Monday, September 14 all Bossier Parish middle school students on the A/B hybrid schedule will transition to daily in-school learning following Governor John Bel Edwards’ announcement that the state is shifting into Phase 3. 

This affects all 6th-8th graders. High school students will remain on the A/B schedule for now to allow our schools and transportation department time to adjust and ensure the safest transition possible for our children. An announcement for high school students will be forthcoming. This does not impact students who are 100-percent virtual learners. 

Parents able to transport their children of all ages to and from school are still being asked to do so to assist with the reduced capacity limits on buses that will remain in place. Please note all mitigation efforts will remain in effect at our schools, which include wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, heightened hand hygiene, increased cleaning and disinfection, and an emphasis on keeping children home when they are sick.  

We look forward to seeing our middle schoolers on Monday and know they are equally excited to see their friends and classmates.

Posted 9/10/20

P-EBT informational graphicFamilies whose children attended Bossier Schools during the 2019-20 school year and received free or reduced meals are being given another chance to apply for a one-time Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program if they did not already apply and receive it. 

This includes all children who attended a Community Eligibility Provision school where all children receive free meals regardless of income. These one-time benefits total $285 per child and cover the cost of meals for school days missed March through May. It is estimated the families of 264,000 students who are eligible for the benefit did not apply.  

The application window is now open and the parent portal can be accessed here. The deadline to apply is September 29.

Posted 9/9/20

BPSB logoAll Bossier schools and centers will reopen at their normal times Monday, August 31. Monday will also mark the first day for our Kindergarten students.

For families who remain without power and whose students are learning remotely, please contact your child’s school principal who will work with you on an individual basis.

Posted 8/30/20

Graphic of top things to know About COVID and when to keep kids home

  • Children should NOT be sent to school while a household member is in isolation at home for a positive case of COVID. The positive household member is infectious and can transmit COVID up until their 10th day of isolation.
  • After a COVID positive household member spends 10 days in isolation, other household members will then need to begin 14 days of quarantine to allow time for symptoms to appear or not.
  • If other household members show COVID symptoms during quarantine, they begin 10 days of isolation and are not to go in public or return to school or work until they are symptom-free.
  • A person cannot test out of quarantine, even with a negative COVID test result.  
  • If you are in direct contact with someone awaiting test results, you must quarantine.
  • Following a COVID positive diagnosis and 10 days isolation, repeat testing is not recommended due to the possibility of false positive results.
  • If direct contact is made outside of the home with someone COVID positive, and there is prolonged contact for more than 15 minutes and less than 6-feet of physical distance, quarantining is necessary for 14 days.
Posted 8/25/20

BPSB logoThe Bossier Parish School Board will hold an Insurance Committee Town Hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, August 20 at Bossier Instructional Center, 2719 Airline Drive in Bossier City to discuss potential health insurance alternatives, answer questions and seek comments from those currently on the district’s health plan.

This meeting will provide active employees and retirees the opportunity to learn more about the different alternatives currently being considered for the current group insurance plan, which include: 

*Medicare Advantage Plan 

*Closed Formulary  

*Employer Group Waiver Plan 

Due to COVID group size restrictions, the Insurance Committee Town Hall meeting will be livestreamed in various spaces throughout Bossier Instructional Center. It can also be viewed at https://www.bossierschools.org/bpsblivestream

Health plan participants who wish to make comments or ask questions can do so in person at the Town Hall meeting or by submitting them to bit.ly/BPSBInsuranceTownHall

Bossier Parish School Board encourages its retirees and employees to attend this important meeting and lend their input.

Posted 8/13/20