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Photo of Kim HowellStockwell Place Elementary can lay claim to having the top librarian in the state.

Kim Howell has been named the School Librarian of the Year by the Louisiana Association of School Librarians (LASL). This honor is presented to a school librarian who has demonstrated outstanding work through action and philosophy to the mission and goals of the school librarian profession within the state of Louisiana.

Howell has long been a leader when it comes to finding innovative ways to get Stockwell Place students excited about reading and modernizing how school libraries meet the needs of today’s child.  

She is a past recipient of the Louisiana Library Association James O. Modisette Elementary Library and a 2017 finalist for the H. Norman Saurage III Community Service award. Howell is also on the Dream Teachers Board of Directors.

Bossier Schools is proud to call State Librarian of the Year Kim Howell one of our own.

Posted 2/5/19

Photo of School Resource Officer Daniel GoldenThanks to everyone for their continued support of T.L. Rodes Elementary School Resource Officer Deputy Daniel Golden who was hit last week while directing traffic.

He is still being treated for severe injuries at Ochsner LSU Health Hospital. Deputy Golden has a long road ahead of him with recovery and rehabilitation. For those wanting to help his family of four with expenses, an account has been set up at Barksdale Federal Credit Union. Just go by any branch to donate to the BPSO Deputy Daniel Golden Fund.

Posted 1/28/19

Photo of Taylor Henry, Caroline Moore and Katie BowlinThe atmosphere was electric as news quickly spread throughout Bossier Parish that the 2019 Students of the Year were being announced.

Accompanied by an entourage of educators, Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith made surprise visits January 16 to three schools to announce Taylor Henry had been chosen as Elementary Student of the Year, Caroline Moore as Middle School Student of the Year and Katie Bowlin as High School Student of the Year.

Henry is a fifth grader at W.T. Lewis Elementary who excels academically and in numerous other ways. She is a cheerleader at her school, participates in 4-H, FCA, Destination Imagination and performs in plays and theatrical productions. Henry also has a tremendous heart for helping others in need, having raised more than $10,000 to assist hurricane victims in Louisiana.

Moore is an eighth grade student at Benton Middle and actively involved in Student Council, FCA, First Priority and Destination Imagination. She is also a member of the Cross Country and Archery teams, plays soccer with CABOSA, and serves the community through her church. Her passion is shown through her interactions with the Lighthouse Foundation, Providence House and mission trips to Haiti.

Bowlin is a senior at Benton High and active member of Student Council, Tiger Girls danceline, FCA and First Priority. She has been involved in the National Honor Society, Gold Jackets, Bossier Youth Leadership and Special Olympics. One of her most notable accomplishments is being recognized as the Pay It Forward Networking Volunteer of the Year. Following graduation in May 2019, Bowlin plans to attend Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and major in Mass Communications with a concentration in Political Communications, then attend LSU Law School.

“These three young ladies are exemplary students and servant leaders and we could not be more proud than to have them represent Bossier Schools as the Parish Students of the Year,” Smith said.

Henry, Moore and Bowlin will now advance to the Regional Student of the Year competitions to be held next month in northwest Louisiana and be honored at the March 7 Bossier Parish School Board meeting by Student of the Year sponsor Citizens National Bank.

Posted 1/16/19

Photo of Jeannie WilsonIt is those working quietly behind the scenes that are oftentimes the ones overlooked, but the faculty at Bossier Elementary School made sure that was not the case with their Instructional Coach.

Jeannie Wilson is described as “the backbone” at Bossier Elementary. She is all in when it comes to doing everything she can for her students and teachers, no matter if it is after hours or weekends, or means digging into her own pocketbook to provide for them. Her colleagues say she has a servant’s heart, is always quick to the rescue, and they would be lost without her.

Wilson’s overwhelming dedication is why more than two dozen teachers poured out their hearts in touching letters, nominating her as Bossier Schools’ first Gold Star winner of 2019. Wilson was visibly stunned when she walked into the crowded auditorium at Bossier Elementary to shouts of “surprise!” and Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith standing on stage alongside her administrators bearing flowers and a congratulatory banner. The outpouring of love moved her to tears.

Melody Polk wrote, “She goes out of her way to support teachers. I know this from experiencing it myself and she still continues to do this daily. She may have a lot on her plate at all times, but she is always there to rescue a student, para, teacher or even administrators in need. She works tirelessly and opens the school on weekends for anyone that needs it. Her heart has always been dedicated to these students. She works for them and she doesn’t give up because she is their champion -- she is our champion!”

Tanisha White added, “Jeannie is the true definition of AWESOME! In the past four years of working with Mrs. Wilson, she has never once told me no for any request that I may have had or asked for.” She went further to say, “As the Curriculum Coach for Bossier Elementary, Jeannie is tasked with handling so many duties and responsibilities that are sometimes beyond her job description and she handles all of it with love and not a single complaint. Jeannie Wilson definitely deserves the Gold Star and I would nominate her 1,000 more times if I could!”

Wilson came to work at Bossier Schools in 1997 and immediately fell in love with Bossier Elementary.

“I just feel like God put me here for a reason,” she explained. “These babies deserve someone who loves them and is going to go to bat for them -- teachers, too -- and it’s so rewarding. I love to see the light bulbs go off. It’s just my passion.”

As Instructional Coach, Wilson wears many hats; from DIBELS testing and supporting teachers with their curriculum needs to being in charge of testing, analyzing student data and working one-on-one with the children that need that extra assistance. It can be overwhelming, but Wilson handles it all with grace.

“She is deserving of the Gold Star because her heart shows everyday through her work!” added Bossier Elementary Principal Andrew Coleman.

“I’m the one who’s blessed because I get to work with people who want to be here,” Wilson said. “To be here, you have to want to be here. It’s not just about a paycheck. They all deserve Gold Stars. You support each other and that’s how we do it. We are just like a family and it’s an awesome family.”

It is facing those challenges as a team and making a difference in their students’ lives that makes Wilson go home with a full heart.

“When the light bulbs come on and kids are progressing ... You love to hear kids say, ‘I don’t want to go home.’ This is their safe place and that’s a good feeling. They are loved here and they are put before anyone else. I’ll do anything for them.”

 

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 1/16/19

 

Group photo in front of the Gingerbread House signThe Benton Elementary Tiger family came together to show their support and love for the Gingerbread House.

A truckload of toys, books and supplies was delivered by Principal Amy Gates and others and a check for $2,200 that was raised by the school.

Gates said the Gingerbread House staff was blown away by the Tigers’ generosity. It is a shining example that the Tigers are #BentonStrong and #BossierProud.

Posted 1/15/19

Group photo of Benton Elementary 2019 ALAS North Regional ChampionsThe new year is right on target for three Bossier Parish schools that claimed first place in their division at the 2019 ALAS (Archery in Louisiana Schools) North Regional Tournament held earlier this month in Shreveport.

Benton Elementary hit the bullseye and took home the first place trophy in the elementary division. Benton Middle Team 1 captured top honors in the middle school category and Haughton High School clenched the highest honor in the high school competition.

Several students also rose to the top as first place archers in their age categories. They are:  Kyleigh Bernard, Benton Elementary; Spencer Campbell, Kingston Elementary; Emma Rutledge, Thomas Allen and Brailey Bishop, Benton Middle; and Abbie Rutledge and Aidan Haire, Benton High. For complete results, click here.

Teams now have their sights set on the state tournament to be held in April, National in May and World in July.

Sure as shooting, the archery programs in Bossier Parish are right on point for a terrific season!

Posted 1/10/19

Photo of third grade boy looking through a dictionaryTry this number on for size. Since 2006, when the Bossier City Rotary Club began giving away dictionaries to every third grader in Bossier Parish, they have donated more than 25,600 of them! That is pretty incredible, isn't it?

They recently delivered dictionaries to third graders at Legacy Elementary and the students were thrilled to get their own personal copies.

Bossier Schools cannot thank the Rotary Club enough for their support in helping our students increase their knowledge and achieve success!

Posted 1/8/19

 

 

Photo of Bossier Parish Teachers of the Year Sarah Sterner, Ashley Holliday and Jenna WinklerThe final days before the holiday break were made even more exciting for three Bossier Parish teachers who were surprised by an entourage, led by Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith, that burst into their classrooms with exciting news. They were chosen to represent the district as the 2019-20 Teachers of the Year.  

Sarah Sterner is the Elementary Teacher of the Year. The Sun City Elementary educator has taught kindergarten the last nine years and has taken on numerous leadership roles, from Kindergarten Team Leader and Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Facilitator to Spanish Club co-founder and co-sponsor and Response to Intervention (RTI) School Leadership Team Member.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl,” Sterner said. “To get to live out my dream is truly a blessing. My goal as a teacher is to teach my children to communicate with one another in effective ways and to learn problem solving skills they can carry with them throughout life.”

The Bossier Parish Middle School Teacher of the Year is Ashley Holliday, who has taught mathematics for six years at Benton Middle School. Holliday is involved in numerous leadership roles including Math Department Chair at Benton Middle, Leadership Team member and a Level 2 Certified Google Educator. She has also served on multiple committees at the district level and was named the 2017 Louisiana Teachers of Mathematics (LATM) Outstanding Secondary School Mathematics Teacher.    

“I am a firm believer that EVERY child can learn, and that every child deserves a fresh start each day,” Holliday remarked. “Each Monday morning for the past year, I have made it a priority to begin my week by listening to a TED Talk by a woman named Rita Pierson. She speaks of the power of human connection and how meeting a student’s basic needs will get my foot in the door to help them learn. She speaks of how tough and heartbreaking our jobs can be at times, and the hardships our children go through … Each day, I remind myself of what Rita says. ‘Every child deserves a champion and adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists they become the best they can possible be.’ I want to be each and every child’s champion.”

A self-professed lover of learning, Jenna Winkler will represent Bossier Parish as the District High School Teacher of the Year. The Parkway High School English teacher has spent 10 years in education, the past seven of those in Bossier.

Winkler is a Content Leader at Parkway, assisting colleagues with curriculum, and was singled out for being an outstanding teacher at T.O. Rusheon and Haughton Middle Schools, where she previously taught.

“In my classroom, I try to represent the team effort philosophy,” Winkler explained. “I always want my students to understand that ‘we’re in this together,’ and I would do anything to keep them from feeling isolated in their endeavors. I believe in the power of collaboration and learning from peers because they will be working with various groups of people throughout their lifetime. Not only do I want them to be proud of their own academic achievements, but I also want them to value each other while encouraging their classmates in their academic progress.”

Winkler added, “I love being an educator because this is a profession unlike any other. I have the opportunity to watch my students progress and take ownership of their academics. Many of my students will positively impact society, and knowing that about them, makes my profession worth more than gold.”

Each school in Bossier Parish elects its own Teacher of the Year, who then competes at the district level. Sterner, Holliday and Winkler will now move on to the Regional Teacher of the Year competition in the spring with hopes of winning at that level and advancing as state finalists.

“These educators are already stand-outs at their schools, so to be chosen as our District Teachers of the Year speaks volumes about their expertise and passion for what they do,” said Superintendent Smith. “Teachers have the most important job there is, impacting children’s lives and helping to shape and mold them on their journey to success as adults. We thank each of our educators for what they do and congratulate the three who will advance to Regionals. They will represent Bossier Schools and all of us well.”

Posted 12/20/18

Photo of Calley SchneiderTechnology queen. Robotics sponsor. Fixer of everything. Central Park Elementary computer lab teacher Calley Schneider is affectionately called many things. Now, she can add “Gold Star” to that list.

Schneider unwittingly became the center of attention at a Tuesday morning school assembly. She is not one who likes being cast in that role. Thanks, though, to numerous glowing nominations from her colleagues, Schneider was announced as the recipient of Bossier Schools’ Gold Star employee award for December. The gymnasium erupted in applause.

“Calley is such a big link in our chain!” read fellow teacher Paula Ash’s nomination letter. “She is the technology queen! She keeps all our computers up to snuff in a timely fashion. If you let her know something needs fixing, she is on it in a flash. She also has gotten our students all jazzed about technology through the robotics team. We would not run as smoothly without Calley keeping us all up to snuff! Love, love, love me some Mrs. Schneider!”

Other colleagues call her the “definition of above and beyond.” They commend Schneider for always being willing to help in any capacity she is asked, and going out of her way to do so, as well as for wearing so many hats -- all with a cheerful heart.

“So many times I’ve asked a question about technology in my classroom and before I can blink she’s in my room working on the issue herself. She’s not one to stand in the spotlight, but she deserves a gold star,” Heather Spivey said.

Julie Frederick echoed those sentiments, writing “Rather than just telling teachers and staff to submit tickets to technology for every problem they encounter, she first attempts to solve the issue herself.”

Frederick added, “Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Schneider can be found coaching the school robotics team, writing grants for school technology, keeping parents up to date on school activities and functions through our school Facebook page, creating the new school website and providing support to teachers who are interested in writing grants or using Google Apps through site-based workshops.”

Whew! That is a lot!

“Mrs. Schneider is a selfless person who jumps in anywhere she is needed,” added Principal Dr. Vicki Younger. “She gives her time and works hard to avoid personal praise. She is a strong team member. As the technology guru on staff, she can fix anything! She also works with our robotics team and has led them to several wins in recent years!”

“It’s very moving. I mean everyone likes to be appreciated and it makes me want to do more. It’s very motivating,” Schneider said softly after all the excitement sunk in.

This is Schneider’s seventh year teaching in Bossier Parish, although she has spent a total of 22 years in education. Since landing at Central Park, the former fourth grade teacher said she has no plans to go elsewhere.

“I love, love, love it here. I’m retiring here. You can’t get rid of me!” she laughed.

Schneider has especially enjoyed the challenges her role as computer lab teacher encompasses.

“I love learning new things and being in technology, I get to do that.” She further explained, “I get to see the littles all the way to the big ones. They test you in different ways.”

Schneider also loves to see that spark on children’s faces when they learn. It is one of the many reasons she professes her devotion to teaching, and what makes her shine from the inside out as 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 12/11/18

 

Photo of Brock Cassel and Carson Braun with 4-H president and club sponsorWhen Benton High ninth grader Carson Braun and his family arrive November 29 in Tennessee for his checkup and to participate in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, they will be giving back to the place that has helped Carson defy all odds -- as well as another student.

Curing childhood cancer is something the Benton Elementary Tigers take to heart. Not only is Carson a former student, but his mom Ginger teaches kindergarten there. Fourth grader Brock Cassel is also a cancer survivor who received life-saving treatments from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and goes back for annual checkups, so the Tigers’ connection runs deep.

Knowing the Brauns planned to participate in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, Benton Elementary 4-H Club Leaders Londa Croall and Jennifer Allen pitched an idea to collect “Coins for Carson Braun and Brock Cassel,” and 4-H members ran with it at full speed.

A friendly, but fierce classroom coin competition ensued and in just four days, the Tigers collected more than $1,609. That’s not counting another $600 raised on Jeans Day.

Before the Brauns left for Memphis, 4-H Club President Emerson Fite made the presentation to the Brauns, Brock Cassel and his family. Stacy Craft’s second grade class was also thrilled to learn they collected the most money -- $195 -- and would be treated to a pizza party for their winning efforts. It was particularly special for Craft, who was Carson’s teacher at Benton Elementary.

Diagnosed in 2004 with a brain tumor, Carson’s prognosis was grim; he was only given a 30-percent chance of survival. His parents were also told he would never walk. But at St. Jude, miracles happen.

His mom remembers first seeing the St. Jude Memphis Marathon going on outside the hospital window when her young son was so sick and making a vow.

“I said ‘I’m going to do that,’” Ginger Braun recalled. This will be her 13th year to participate in the marathon. The entire Braun family -- uncle and grandparents included -- will be a part of it this year.

“It’s our way to give back and say thanks,” she added.

Speaking of miracles, Brock Cassel is another one. Diagnosed at 18-months-old, he has since earned his first-year, five-year and 2018 survivor pins. Brock’s deep gratitude for St. Jude was reflected in his donation of $100 in coins he had been collecting over time.

Yes, the connection to St. Jude runs deep at Benton Elementary, where the Tigers are sending their money and love to Memphis.

Posted 11/29/18