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Dignitaries cut ribbon as crowd looks onThe sun was shining on Sun City Elementary even before the 2019-20 school year began as Principal Kim Tuminello and Assistant Principal Lea Clark snipped the ribbon on a new third grade classroom wing. The recent construction will replace a fleet of aging temporary buildings. 

It has been a long time coming, as Bossier Parish School Board President Shane Cheatham told a large audience gathered for the occasion. He remembers attending classes in the temporary buildings, affectionately referred to as “T buildings,” as a kindergarten student decades ago. Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey chimed in, remembering them from as far back as 1978. 

The classroom addition was made possible by passage of a $210 million bond construction program to address growth throughout Bossier Parish. Bossier Schools is currently in year seven of the 10-year construction program. 

Tuminello was beaming as visitors toured the new wing following the ribbon cutting ceremony. Teachers were also eager to show off their bright, cheery classrooms they decorated to the nines. Not only did the 12-classroom addition energize educators, but it is sure to excite children about their new learning environment. 

Posted 8/7/19

Invitation to attend the archery celebration 5 30 p.m. July 30 at Benton Middle SchoolBossier Parish archery teams did it again; not once, not twice, but three times. They are bringing home three world titles after competing over the weekend in the 2019 Open Championship NASP Tournament in Nashville, TN. 

For the first time, Stockwell Place Elementary grabbed hold of the first place finish in the Bullseye Championship, earning the Stallions the title of Elementary World Champions. 

Benton Middle School also hit the bullseye, both literally and figuratively. The Tigers shot their way to first place and the middle school world titles in both the Bullseye and the IBO 3-D Championships. 

Close on their heels were other Bossier Parish archery teams. Benton Elementary took second place and Haughton Middle placed fourth in the Bullseye competition. In the IBO 3-D contest, Stockwell Place Elementary pinned second place and Benton Elementary, the fourth place spot; and Haughton Middle landed a third place finish among all middle schools. 

One contender who was singled out individually as the best of the best was Ethan Isaksen, a Benton Middle School student who placed as the fifth overall middle school male in the world.  

“What a huge victory and cause for celebration!” exclaimed Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey. “Congratulations to these schools, students and their coaches. All the time, effort, focus and passion paid off and we could not be more proud and excited.” 

A victory party for Bossier Parish archery teams will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 30 in the Benton Middle School gym, 6140 Hwy 3, Benton, LA. Everyone is invited to attend the celebration. 

Posted 7/29/19

 

Photo of Lisa Burns holding Principal of the Year plaqueIt was a big weekend in Baton Rouge, where Bossier Parish principal Lisa Burns took center stage at the 13th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Awards, where she was named the 2020 Louisiana Elementary Principal of the Year.   

Burns has served as an educator in Bossier Parish for 22 years and is currently the Principal of W.T. Lewis Elementary, where she began her journey in administration as the school’s first Assistant Principal. Maintaining a standard of excellence, the school has earned an “A” rating each year of her principalship, and in 2018 W.T. Lewis was recognized as a Top Gains School and an Equity Honoree. 

Recognized in her community as a passionate and innovative leader, Burns is committed to making school a place where children not only reach high levels of success, but where they are loved, supported and surrounded by inspired and empowered educators who work together to help every child succeed. Ignited by this vision and her calling as an educator, Mrs. Burns unleashed the power of “WE” at W.T. Lewis and transformed the school’s culture.  She consistently seeks opportunities to reflect and grow as a leader, while placing teacher professional development at the top of her priorities as a principal, understanding that the teacher is the most influential factor in a child’s education and success.

As Louisiana Elementary Principal of the Year, Burns plans to share how she evolved as a leader and inspired positive change at her school after serving as one of the school’s leaders for almost a decade.  She aspires to energize principals, inspiring them to lead with passion and purpose and supporting them in unleashing the power of “WE” that also lies within their schools. 

“I am so humbled and honored to represent Bossier Schools, W.T. Lewis Elementary and the great state of Louisiana as the 2020 State Elementary Principal of the Year!” said Burns. “It’s not about accolades or titles. It’s about kids and the opportunity to inspire work that leads to great things for them. This is my calling and I love my profession, so to be recognized for my work at the state level is truly a blessing and a dream come true!” 

“Lisa Burns is an incredible example of empathy, humility and passionate leadership,” added Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey. “Bossier has known that, now the entire state knows it!”

Posted 7/22/19

 

 

Group of students and teachers on Bossier Elementary Schools  new walking trackWhen students at Bossier Elementary and Plantation Park Elementary Schools return from summer break, they will be putting their best foot forward on campus.

Thanks to a “Kids On the Move” grant applied for on behalf of Bossier Schools by Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments, improved pedestrian safety and traffic improvements were made in addition to the construction of walking tracks.  

Better visibility is key, given the large number of students that are walkers at both schools. Bossier Elementary now sports improved crosswalks, flashers , traffic markings and signage as does Plantation Park, with the addition of a parent drop-off lane and sidewalk. 

“We are so thankful to the many agencies that made the walking track and traffic improvements a reality for our children,” said Tonya Hilburn, Principal at Plantation Park Elementary. “It is not just a win for PPE, but for the community. Our parents are so grateful knowing their child’s safety is first and foremost, from the moment they arrive to when they leave school.”  

“This is another example of Bossier being progressive and getting it done,” said Kent Rogers, NLCOG Executive Director. “We are proud to be a part of this and look forward to future opportunities that focus on quality of life and position Bossier Schools to further enhance the safety of its campuses.” 

Federal Highway Administration funds for the “Kids On the Move” program provide infrastructure grants through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. NLCOG was the local agency that served as project administrator for the two school projects. 

Posted 6/24/19

 

Photo of pen pals Pleasant Burns and Brody MeadorThey may be generations apart, but fourth grade students at Legacy Elementary learned they have many things in common with their new friends at The Blake of Bossier City, not to mention they formed lasting bonds.

Legacy ELA teachers Jennifer Hartley and Libbi Lange came up with the idea to begin a Pen Pal Program and connect their students with residents at the assisted living facility. At school, they discussed how people communicated through letter writing before the age of technology. Hartley said it also gave students the chance to review cursive letters and writing formats.

What happened next exceeded their wildest expectations. Over the past few months, students and residents exchanged letters, getting to know each other through their life stories, some of them deeply personal.

“It has been fun seeing the excitement in my students’ faces opening their letters and reading them to learn more about someone from a different generation and time,” Hartley said. “Some of our pen pals are even World War II veterans and have shared their stories.”

Their enthusiasm bubbled over when students learned The Blake was hosting a Pen Pal Reveal Party and they would get to meet the men and women behind the letters and put faces to them. After each resident and staff member was introduced, their younger pen pals eagerly went to meet them face to face.

Meador’s pen pal was 98-year-old Pleasant Burns, a World War II Army veteran, who cried as the two talked. Meador never left Burns’ side, except to fetch him a cookie and punch.

“I thought it was cool he was a World War II veteran,” Meador said. “He told me he went all over the world twice.”

Legacy student Macee Downey learned her pen pal, Carolyn Flanagan, likes movies and to go out to eat. As for Flanagan’s writing buddy?

“She’s getting a horse! I told her I would like to go see her barrel race,” Flanagan said proudly.

Clarence Boose, also a World War II Air Force veteran, came bearing gifts for his pen pal, Parker Dean. The two rocked in chairs and chatted as if they had known each other for years. One thing Boose said they wrote about in their letters was how school has changed over the decades.

“When I was in school, whoever heard of keyboarding?” Boose said. “We were graded on penmanship. One common thread, though, is math because 2+2 is still 4.”  

Hartley was deeply moved by the scene that played out in front of her and the stories students have since shared since the Pen Pal Reveal. It is something Hartley hopes to continue each year, teaching not only the lost art of letter writing, but bridging the perceived generation gap that may really not be as wide as one might think.

Posted 5/21/19