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Invitation to Cafe  TAP from 5-7 p.m. December 10 and 11 at 2900 Douglas Drive, Bossier CityBossier Educational Service Center is being transformed into a coffee house that will come alive with art, music and song and everyone is invited to swing by for a cup of joe and a fun-filled evening.

Bossier Schools’ Talented Arts Program will present Cafe’ TAP between 5-7 p.m. December 10 and 11 at BESC, located at 2900 Douglas Drive in Bossier City.

Student artwork will be on display, there will be student music and theater performances, the TAP Jazz and House Bands will be delighting visitors with a medley of tunes and refreshments will be served. And did we mention it is free to attend and everyone is invited?

Come spend an evening at Cafe’ TAP, where our Talented Arts students are sure to entertain you!

Posted 12/7/18

 

Bossier Parish School Board logoFor 25 years, Bossier Parish School Board has received an Award of Financial Reporting Achievement (AFRA) for its fiscal management. Make that 26 years.

Director of Finance Frank Rougeau recently got word from the Government Finance Officers Association the School Board has attained the Certificate of Achievement, which is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. It represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its money management practices.

When a Certificate of Achievement is awarded to a government, an Award of Financial Reporting Achievement is also presented to the individual or department designated by the government as primarily responsible for its having earned the Certificate.

This is a notable achievement earned by Rougeau and the Finance Department and they are to be commended for exhibiting fiduciary responsibility with Bossier Parish public funds for 26 consecutive years.

Posted 11/14/18

Photo of Stewart ThompsonJust as technology is ever evolving, so is Stewart Thompson.

His career began at Benton High where, during his 13 years teaching, he built one of the top AP calculus programs in the region. Thompson went on to continue his education, earning a Master’s degree in educational technology leadership. Then in July 2016, he was tapped to lead Bossier Schools’ Technology Department and has quickly become the technology guru of the fastest growing public school system in north Louisiana.

Thompson’s accomplishments are many. In just the first two years under his direction, the district has seen significant growth in the number of student devices, network infrastructure upgrades and the launch of an online applicant portal. The list goes on and on, and is why Bossier Schools’ Supervisor of Technology has been selected among the region’s 40 most dynamic and engaged young professionals.

Each year, the Greater Shreveport Chamber’s Young Professionals Initiative (YPI) has spotlighted the top 40 movers and shakers in the community. More than 400 individuals to date have been recognized for the honor of being in YPI’s “40 Under 40” class.  It is a chance to celebrate and highlight those who are both excelling in their profession and making an impact in the community.

That defines Stewart Thompson to a ‘T.’ Join Bossier Schools in congratulating him for this well-deserved honor and wishing him luck as he competes in December for the title of overall Young Professional of the Year.

 

Posted 11/13/18

Photo of Suanne McConathySuanne McConathy has been making a difference in Bossier Parish students’ lives for over 19 years. As coordinator and through her leadership, she manages the speech therapy program for the district’s 34 schools, encompassing every elementary, middle and high school.

While Bossier Schools has long known what a gem McConathy is, she is now being recognized in a different venue as one of 16 ATHENA Leadership Award nominees.

Each year, the Business Development Connection honors 16 area individuals that attain and personify the highest level of excellence and creativity in their business or profession, while continuing to devote time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community. Another criteria of ATHENA is that nominees actively assist other women in achieving their full leadership through service and mentorship.

McConathy develops and implements professional development for 35 Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP), provides assistance to them to enhance the speech therapy services indirectly impacting over 1,600 Bossier Parish students and participates in Child Find screening services.

She has served as an SLP in numerous schools, 13 of those years spent at Stockwell Place Elementary. McConathy is an experienced leader in speech language pathology, a mentor to up-and-coming SLPs, a wife and mother to two children.

The ATHENA Leadership Award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenments -- qualities embodied in the ATHENA Leadership Model. The award is unique in both scope -- local, national and international -- and the ATHENA mission upon which it is based.

Congratulations to ATHENA Award nominee Suanne McConathy!

Posted 11/13/18

 

Photo of Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott SmithNow that school report cards have been released by the Louisiana Department of Education, educators across the state are tasked with explaining to parents and stakeholders there is more to letter grades than meets the eye.

This year marks a seismic shift as the state raises the academic bar and ups the ante on how schools and districts are graded or measured. Though the increased rigor is aimed at making our children more competitive with their counterparts nationally, tougher standards will make it more difficult to attain and retain an ‘A’ letter grade.

In an effort to help interpret the changes, the state is issuing three letter grades. One will reflect a school or district’s 2016-17 overall performance rating under the old formula; another will show the 2017-18 letter grade using the new grading scale; and the third will show the score that would have been earned last year under the previous formula.

Take Bossier Schools, for example, which received an ‘A’ rating last year. Using the previous grading formula, our district would not only have maintained its ‘A’ letter grade, but would have also increased its 2017-18 district performance score. Under the new grading rubric, however, 13 of the 17 school districts around the state with A’s last year are receiving B’s, including Bossier Parish. That reflects a 76-percent drop in the number of A-rated schools in Louisiana.   

The same formula applies to your child’s school letter grade, yet let me stress there is plenty of good news to tout as 24 Bossier Parish schools retained the same grade as the previous year, and eight of 11 schools maintained their ‘A’ status. That is highly commendable.

Other bright spots to be pointed out are 13 were named Top Gains Schools; 18 received an ‘A’ if student growth alone was measured; the graduation rate across the district improved and was deemed an ‘A;’ and six schools were named Equity Honorees for efforts made to help struggling students and schools achieve.

The eight schools that went down a letter grade showed growth as well, and only dropped because of the new accountability system. Although a change in the grading formula was out of these schools’ control, what is within their control is growth and students showed improvement. For a complete list of school and district performance scores, as well as early childhood centers, click here and follow the prompts.

Make no mistake, Bossier Parish students are thriving and our district is steadily striving to further improve their educational outcomes. Do we have work to do? Absolutely, and Bossier Schools began making tweaks and fine tuning well before the academic year began.  

Yes, school accountability is a moving target and there is more to letter grades than meets the eye; but at Bossier Schools, we readily accept the challenge and have our sights set on being the highest performing school district in the state. Stay tuned and see.

 

~Scott Smith

Bossier Schools Superintendent

Posted 11/8/18

 

Photo of Lisa Burns, Dr. Kyle Machen and Jason RowlandBossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith is pleased to announce the three school administrators that will represent the district as the 2019-20 Principals of the Year.

Lisa Burns was chosen as Elementary Principal of the Year. Burns is principal at W.T. Lewis. Dr. Kyle Machen, principal at Benton Middle School, will represent Bossier Parish as Middle School Principal of the Year and Jason Rowland, Airline High School principal, was selected as the High School Principal of the Year.

Each of these educators met a stringent list of criteria, including demonstration of leadership, positively impacting student achievement, innovation in and outside of the school building walls, engaging with stakeholders and adding value to their profession. The Bossier Parish School Board District Principal of the Year Committee based its selections on the criteria established by the state Department of Education.

Burns, Machen and Rowland will now advance to the state level and compete among candidates from school districts throughout Louisiana for the overall title of 2019-20 Principal of the Year.

Bossier Schools commends these three educators for the excellence they exemplify, congratulates them for this honor and wishes them the best at State.

Posted 11/7/18

 

Photo of Joan Turek, winner of the October Gold Star awardJoan Turek can be called many things: Teacher. Learner. Volunteer. Dedicated. Even “Saint Joan.”

Turek is the Gifted and Talented Coordinator for Bossier Schools and both the district and state’s driving force behind Destination Imagination, a program that fosters students’ critical thinking skills. Her love for creative problem solving began more than 25 years ago, first as a parent volunteer.

That evolved to team manager, appraiser, trainer, school coordinator and currently, Regional Director of Louisiana Destination Imagination, a volunteer position Turek has held for several years now.

“I was hooked and I’ve volunteered ever since,”  Turek said.

How appropriate she is pursuing her doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership, with a focus on creativity and leadership. Always the teacher. Always the learner.

“It’s something I just do for fun,” Turek said. “I’ve learned a lot and really enjoy it.”

That is aside from her day job at Bossier Schools, where Turek works with the district’s 45 Gifted and Talented teachers and oversees a program that has grown to more than 1,500 students that exhibit exceptionalities in art, music and theater.

“Not many can say they monitor 1,500 students quite the way she does and she makes sure their teachers are serving them exceptionally well,” commented Debbie Gegg, Supervisor of Accountability and Assessment. “Not a single IEP is late due to Joan’s diligence with the paperwork.”

Gifted and Talented teachers sing Turek’s praises as well.

Jamie Kiihnl said, “Joan is the most dedicated, fair and loyal employee. Her patience and attention to detail are unmatched. She never complains and is always there to help with any challenge.” Kiihnl added, ”She puts her own needs at work last so that she is available to help us. As a result, her van is parked at the BESC until well after everyone has left. I have driven by at 7 o’clock and seen her car there. I adore her and feel very blessed to have her as my leader.”

It is for these attributes -- and the sentiments of so many that nominated her -- that Turek was selected as the recipient of Bossier Schools’ Gold Star employee award for October. Her colleagues crowded around her in support as Superintendent Scott Smith made the surprise announcement.

“I really like to be behind the scenes,” Turek later said. “I’m honored and humbled and give the credit to the teachers in this (Gifted and Talented) program and the opportunities they provide for our kids.” She added, “We are so fortunate to have these teachers. They are amazing. To have the talent these professionals have and be willing to come in and teach these kids and do all the paperwork ...”

Always gracious and humble.

So what compels Turek to give so much of herself? It is the success stories. Seeing the wheels turn in children’s brains and helping fellow educators meet students’ needs by tapping into their creativity and developing their potential.

“I’ve watched life stories unfold,” smiled Turek as she reflected. “Little ones who had inner skills but lacked the self confidence to share that with others, then to watch them learn and grow and blossom and gain confidence and share their creativity.”  

As for being called “Saint Joan,” Talented Arts Instructor Steve Porter summed it up like this.

“I could say a lot about Joan and the fact she puts in hours and hours of extra time to make sure things are right. I could talk about her helping find mentors or years of working with the DI teams … but instead I want to focus on something else -- one of the reasons I refer to her as Saint Joan,” Porter wrote. “She provided lunch for a student everyday for a year. Why? Because he had no lunch. So even on days she had no time to eat herself, that child had lunch. This is who she is. It is both an honor and a blessing to know her.”

Bossier Schools is, indeed, honored and blessed to call Joan Turek one of its own and a Gold Star.

 

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Bossier Federal Credit Union for sponsoring the Gold Star Award, which is now in its seventh year. Know someone exemplary that works for Bossier Schools and deserves a Gold Star? Nominate them by going to https://bit.ly/C1Gvhr

Posted 10/31/18

Photo of Karyn Flowers and Superintendent holding cookie cakeKaryn Flowers could easily sub as the main character in the book “Where’s Waldo?” because you just never know where she will pop up.

One minute the Instructional Services Supervisor is collaborating with the Curriculum department or attending to librarians’ needs across the district; the next, she is driving a forklift in heels and unloading pallets of textbooks. Fast forward a couple of hours and Flowers is then likely to be found pallet jacking a load of paper to the Print Shop, which she oversees for the district, as well as the Green Box. It is all in a day’s work for this former science teacher and librarian who wears many hats.

“Looking for Karyn Flowers in her office would be the last place to check,” said Instructional Services secretary Diane Pang. “When orders back up, you can find Karyn running deliveries to schools because she does not want any student or teacher to be without their materials. Karyn may be a supervisor, but she is also one who is not afraid to get her hands dirty.”

When asked what would surprise people most about her job, Flowers laughed and said “the sheer volume of materials that go out year-round to schools. In July and August, we are like FedEx at Christmas.”

Bossier Schools is a family affair for Flowers. Both of her parents are former BPSB educators. Her husband teaches at Airline Their two children attend Bossier Schools. And she thinks of all the kids in the district as being hers.

“If they don’t get materials, those could be my own kids,” Flowers answered when explaining why she oftentimes works nights and weekends to ensure everything is delivered to schools come Monday morning. “And my husband, as a teacher, I don’t want to go without, either. I try to put myself in their position.”

Her dedication and genuine concern for Bossier Schools are why dozens of submissions poured in to nominate Flowers as the first Gold Star winner of the 2018-19 school year. She was at a loss for words when Superintendent Scott Smith strolled in with an entourage to surprise her with the news she was the winner for August.

“Everything I do is behind the scenes, so I am amazed and overwhelmed that people thought about me at all,” Flowers said. “I’m humbled, honestly, and stunned and overwhelmed. I don’t know that I have the words.”

One of her biggest cheerleaders who was in on the surprise, Stockwell Place Elementary librarian Kim Howell, cannot say enough about Flowers’ role as a tireless advocate for Bossier Schools’ 36 librarians.

“Her previous title was as a librarian at Parkway High School, so she understands the life of a librarian. What a librarian faces each school day. The impact an excellent library program can have on our students.”

Howell went on to say, “We could use a whole parish full of Karyns. Big hearted, tougher than nails, beautiful inside and out, with a feisty spirit and a can-do attitude … cheering us on, screaming OUR names instead of her own, working overtime to make sure our ‘banners of praise’ are hanging just so.”

Plantation Park librarian Carrie Gauthier added, “She pushes for us to have meetings, change policies that are outdated, and just has our backs in any and all issues that may arise. And this on top of all the jobs she is assigned to do. She tries her best to put us first on her priority list. When your supervisor puts emphasis on your job above her other duties, (that) makes you feel important and want to work hard for her.”

And, as Lisa Neuman pointed out, “she does it with a smile on her face and love in her heart.”

Flowers said it is the people she works with that make the difference, then laughed and said “because I definitely don’t come to work to pick up boxes of books everyday!”  

The conversation then took on a serious tone as Flowers’ eyes teared up.

“I don’t think this Gold Star is just for me. It’s the department. They are the cogs in the wheel. I’ve always said I have the hardest working department in the district, even though Stacy Roge (BPSB Maintenance Supervisor) may argue about that.”

Karyn Flowers is, indeed, a stand-out at Bossier Schools with a heart of gold who now has a Gold Star award to match.


Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Bossier Federal Credit Union for sponsoring the Gold Star Award, which is now in its seventh year. Know someone exemplary that works for Bossier Schools and deserves a Gold Star? Nominate them by clicking here. 

Posted 8/13/18

Photo of 2019 LA Teacher of the Year Spencer KiperLook no farther than Elm Grove Middle School in Bossier Parish to find the 2019 Louisiana Teacher of the Year.

STEM educator Spencer Kiper was named the top educator in the state July 27 by the Louisiana Department of Education at the 12th annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Awards Gala in Baton Rouge. Kiper will now go on to represent Louisiana at the 2019 National Teacher of the Year competition.

This is the first time Bossier Parish has had the overall state Teacher of the Year winner. A proud graduate of Bossier Schools, Kiper teaches middle school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) enrichment and is heavily involved in building a stronger cyber presence in the region.

His accolades are many. Kiper has spent four summers as a professional development specialist for the Space Academy for Educators program at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He is also a Henry Ford Institute Innovator of the Year recipient; Civil Air Patrol National Aerospace Educator of the Year and was most recently tapped by STEM Revolution to travel to Dubai to train teachers from United Arab Emirates about innovative STEM instructional practices.

During his acceptance speech, Kiper praised the educators that have made an impact in his life and inspired him to be the teacher he is today. He also gave special recognition to Elm Grove Middle School Principal Jennifer Armond for being an exceptional team builder who has further contributed to his success in the classroom.

Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith, who attended the awards gala to cheer on Kiper, said “Over the next year, he will be a great ambassador for Bossier Parish and the Louisiana as he competes for our state at the national level. Spencer has a great chance nationally because of the excellence he brings to this profession every single minute of the day, both instructional and non-instructional.”

As part of his prize package, Kiper received keys to a new Mercedes Benz for the next year, Community Coffee for the teachers’ lounge at Elm Grove Middle for a year and more incentives, all made possible by the nonprofit organization Dream Teachers.

Posted 7/28/18