OneRouge Community Check-In - Week 106
The topic of the conversation will be ‘Baton Rouge Schools Post-COVID Report Card” featuring Superintendent Sito Narcisse (EBRPSS) and a panel of Education thought leaders co-curated by Adonica Pelichet Duggan (BR Alliance for Student). The objective of the call is to celebrate the wins and best opportunities for growth next school year.
Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!
#OneRouge Week #106
Post-COVID East Baton Rouge Parish
Schools Report Card
Adonica Pelichet Duggan - The school board lasted until midnight last night. As we started to talk about having an education report card on this Friday, it’s important to what we’re talking about. Focusing on the K-12 space. In total, 72,000+ kids in the parish of EBR. 11,000 that are independent from the EBR School system. Have one of the largest private schools sector in the country. In the southern part of the parish that’s upwards of 40%. We do have some state schools that serve about 10,000. 9,000 are public charter schools.
For this call we’re focusing on EBR Public Schools. EBR is the largest employer. If we think about how we’re improving quality of life, how critical is it that we have a school system? About 75% of the people born in Baton Rouge stay in Baton Rouge.
One of the goals of the call is for Dr. Narcisse to celebrate the wins and talk about an area of focus.
What I’m excited about last night’s meeting is that we’re talking about students first. There’s been a lot of noise around the support model. Our staffing model has been a challenge. There have been a lot of challenges and they didn’t come that way over night. It’s been years that have caused what is going on today. I’ve been here a year and five months now, and I’m trying to right a lot of stuff people have not addressed for whatever reasons. As we continue to move that pathway it’s going to create noise and change. While you’re changing the system, it’s going to be tough for various groups.
Successes - We have a strategic plan that has metrics to measure. When I came on board, I looked a the previous metrics and there were none. You couldn’t measure anything. We want people to feel good, but we need to know if kids can read. On our website you can see a scorecard, which the public can see. We need to train the public not only how to see data but read it. We are 15 years behind. It feels like I”m in this place where we are still in this space where other cities have moved beyond. We have all the resources, it’s a coordination problem and the politics drive that coordination. We’re pushing for transparency. It’s important that people see that. This district has not historically done the right thing for all kids. If you talk to different people in the community they will respond in different ways. People are talking about education, which is a good thing. How does a district this large have one person trying to do everything. I think we’re moving in the right direction. We have put a lot of dollars towards kids. There’s a lot of misinformation. We have more summer programs than we’ve had before. We’re doing a better job at bringing partners together. We’re working with the Mayor’s office. We’re working with partners we’ve never had before. We’ve been able to get the board to make some decisions that are usually kicked down the road. The other part we’ve been able to do is do a better job at partnering with the department of education. We still have a long way to go. I’m not a miracle worker. It takes time to build the groundwork. We’re doing a better job at community engagement. We still have a lot to do there. It’s a system.
Challenges - we have to get people to stop talking about adults first. IT’s about students first and everyone else second. When we look at the staffing model that’s making noise right now. What I found most disturbing in the process is that they said teachers are first. Students are first. We have this belief that it’s only about adults. It’s about the kids. We have to show the work for the children benefits in a lot of ways and we have to get the community to work together across schools. We have to talk about where our district is going. Our six keys have not changed. What was clear when I arrived is that the politics here are so heavy, they tend to come in with their biaia, so I wanted an external partner to come in so we can level set. Movement is also a challenge. We talk a lot here. We don’t move fast enough. We have to be able to say we’re getting indicators to move. That has to be based on key performance indicators. We have to be okay to move the ball fast. And be okay that that’s going to make noise. There’s a history we have that folks are very complacent in different places. My goal is to put systems in place. We put a lot of things in place to get the schools to measure consistency across schools. Different schools were taking different tests when I first arrived. The measurement of one test across the state does not assess properly. You have to constantly measure and do professional development with the teachers. I always remember the same marker when I came in. 19 were doing well, and 53 were not. All schools have children depending on the subject that struggles. I’m excited that we are on course. At the end of the day my goal is to keep the ship doing in the same direction. The expansion of early learning. Early childhood approach, if we can get more of those kids across the parish, you’ll see more kids ready for kindergarten. We have to make sure kids are ready at 3rd grade. Middle to high school transition. Making sure kids are exposed earlier. We have to move towards workforce development. We have to get kids connected to jobs. Pathways work allows children to advanced courses and pathways to more workforce development.
We are looking at whether we should close down some of the smaller schools, which is a hard lift.
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
What do you see as the role of yourself and the board to bring the community along.
We’ve made some big missteps. We have a new head of communication. Latrice has taken over for Alex Stubbs. We’ve done a very poor job on foreshadowing what’s happening. I don’t think we’ve done our best at getting into multiple spaces. One of the things Latrice and I have been talking about is what spaces I can get into more to tell what we’re trying to get done. Also working with partners to share that message. I am one person, I have to get some sleep sometime. Doing it by myself isn’t possible. We have to talk through these steps. The challenges we’ve had, the understanding of the changes is a heavy lift. We have to do a better job in that space to close that gap.
What is your approach to prepare schools and train educators for the struggling schools and how we’re going to get them back.
The staffing plan is part of that decision. We love to say things that the school knows best, but when you look at the decision making, that’s not the case. We’re looking at more development time for teachers. We’re moving towards a multi tiered training system. Also the type of resources they are going to have and going toward a process in schools. Our school system, if you look at the history, the amount of training teachers and paraprofessionals has not always been up to par. You have to continuously have training to help students get better at what they need to do. Every month in our new calendar is going to have more training. We’re pushing more with our coaches and our principal teams. Decisions have not always been made on data. It’s always been anecdotal. On the social emotional side, we’re tying behavior with academics. The responsibility of the children’s behavior is not all on the teachers. They come in with trauma. We have to have a better cohesive system. THe reason why I’m trying to entice the partners is that you fit into the ecosystem where those kids are having challenges. We do not think about schools in their neighborhood. If we can determine what’s going on in the neighborhood, we can be more systematic towards putting resources in those schools. That’s the next level of work we need to go into.
In terms of staffing, we’re trying to decrease our ratio levels between students and support staff. In our current model, they’ve been able to increase ratios between counselors. I’ve always had a 1-400 ratio, which is ridiculous. We’ve not done the best at investing in that.
The community doesn't understand how this district is allocating resources.
Through our budgetary space. There are six things we’re trying to get done. Everything is around those six keys, nothing else. You can see that in our current budget. You can see how we allocated everything in the budget, which is available. Resources are people, time and money. You can look at the budget and see how we’re allocating people’s time. We’ve had schools that were overstaffed for years. We’ve been trying to reallocate appropriately.
Given that EBR is in the state that it is in now largely due to structural racism and ableism.(Let's not forget that the parochial/private boom followed integration) What structural changes are being made to ensure that the property tax trap and other built in inequity is rebalanced?
The history of EBR in terms of desegregation, I don’t think that’s where we are today. We have a lot of challenges regarding North, Mid City, and South. There are lot of shifts we can make. Everytime I try to move things, we talk about race, but it’s also classist. I do think the demographics shift from the north and the south is a big challenge. Those are the two heavy lifts. We’ve had the urban league come in and we’re working on an equity framework, which we haven’t released yet. Our director of equity is trying to work with our partners on that, because the equity framework should guide us on how we talk about race relations.
One of the major challenges of this system has been such massive turnover in leadership? Has that been stabilized?
In terms of schools leaders, not as many this year. We’ve been trying to stabilize school leaders with internal issues. I don’t want to give a number to give a misnumber. At the central office, we’ve been reducing numbers so we can add those to the schools. At our level, there hasn’t been too many shifts.
Who pays the professors for the Advanced Placement?
I don’t know off the top of my head. We have a process for payments. We do work in our current MFP with the colleges and universities.
Typically AP courses are taught by the school personnel.
Are the schools that are closing the poor schools?
There have been no decisions on schools. The reality is that in most spaces it’s about where the demographic shift is.
What would that mean for the kids that then have to go to schools farther away? Especially for those who are moving farther away. If we’re just looking at numbers, how are we centering that with children?
It is complex. I’ve had to live through closing schools. The challenges we’re going to have to figure out is ways of increasing enrollment in the poor schools, or look at approaches of neighborhood schools, or we’re going to have to move kids from one place to another. The smaller the school, the more resources you have to put into it. There’s a cost balance that we have to deal with.
Adonica - What is the scale of school we are going to have to have to have those resources? How many children on a campus does it take to make that make sense? What is the school board's plan for these resources to be repurposed? We know what it looks like when a school is shuttered in a community when there isn’t a clear plan.
Tying behavior with academics? What does that mean?
When a child isn’t complying with a teacher, they send the child to the principal or expel them, they don’t look at what the challenge is. RTI - Response to intervention - it’s responding to how the child is acting, but they never tied that to the academic. If they’re not performing academically, there’s something tied to that. Academics and behavior go together. We’re trying to get children back into the classroom, not out of it.
Elizabeth Shephard - It speaks volumes that you are here. New Orleans and Baton Rouge have similar challenges. They’re very segregated school systems. There are schools with 50% or more living in poverty that function differently than those with a 10 to 50% poverty rate. As a community. In what ways do you see us as a community having these conversations to where we’re not concentrating poverty in schools and creating more challenges.
We don’t see shared resources as a thing in our system. This staffing model approach is part of that. We’ve had schools that are overstaffed. Once the principal decides that they are overstaffed, we are going to move them to different schools. We struggle around this sharing of resources construct because our system hasn’t always had that as a model to do. As a coalition of partners, to get people to what sharing a resource is. We have a scarcity mindset. In speaking we say we believe we have to have systems in place, but from an organizational place, we fight for resources. That’s a shift we have to collectively move as a community.
What would you give EBR Schools a grade for this year?
I get fearful of giving out grades. I would say, we have a lot of continuous improvement to do. We’ve had progress, it’s not finite. I’d like to think if you measure where we were before, we have a long way to go because we have a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of building of trust. If we don’t have this trust we’re not going to move. It has to be a community. It can’t be one person or one neighborhood. We can’t make everything an absolute. It has to be an “and.” I can’t really give you a grade, but we have a lot of work to do, but we’re making progress.
Adonica Pelichet Duggan -We have a program called Change Makers. We are going to share applications later this month. As we address the problems and the things we’ve learned from the past.
Walls Plus One Podcast - If you enjoy this call, make sure to listen to the Walls Plus One podcast. Adonica Pelichet Duggan will be featured on an upcoming episode. Subscribe today >> https://linktr.ee/wallsplusone
Little Art Library - Please come partake in the supplies that are available or drop off items that you no longer need. The Little Art Library is located at 458 America Street.
On May 26, we have a virtual webinar on the possible change to Roe v Wade.
KidzFEST is scheduled for
2nd saturday in June
June 11th with BREC and young people with their own business.
Scotlandville BREC Park at Badley Rd and veterans in Scotlandville
East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition Caravan for Justice Saturday, May 21st @ 10:00 am. At Badley Road Under the overpass.
Helena Williams to Waiting Room Participants 08:28 AM
We’ll open the room very soon!
From Manohar Ramkumar Patole to Everyone 08:29 AM
From my hotel in Downtown BR :-)
From Bobby Jones to Everyone 08:29 AM
From One Rouge to Everyone 08:29 AM
Good morning, My Fine Friends!
From Aimee Moles to Everyone 08:30 AM
From Rhoda Reddix to Everyone 08:30 AM
From Adonica Pelichet Duggan to Everyone 08:30 AM
Big congrats, dad!
From Keyra Johnson to Everyone 08:30 AM
Good Morning Everyone!
From Manohar Ramkumar Patole to Everyone 08:30 AM
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:34 AM
Good morning ☀️.
From One Rouge to Everyone 08:35 AM
Welcome, Dr. Narcisse!
Ready for my Report Card!!! 🙃
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:36 AM
I would like to see those statistics around the high number of students divided into so many different school systems put into a graphic or flowchart.
From Adonica Pelichet Duggan to Everyone 08:36 AM
Rev Anderson, our team can share that
From One Rouge to Everyone 08:39 AM
"While you are changing the system and trying to make it better, it's going to be hard"
"We want people to feel good, but we need to measure whether a kid can read” #FACTS
From Adonica Pelichet Duggan to Everyone 08:39 AM
I feel like 15 years is generous
From One Rouge to Everyone 08:39 AM
"It's not about a type of school, but whether it is good or not."
From Elizabeth Shephard to Everyone 08:39 AM
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:40 AM
Thank you. From an economic development point of view this isn't a positive especially because of how this evolved.
From One Rouge to Everyone 08:44 AM
“We have all the resources in Baton Rouge to get this done! We don't have a resource problem; we have a coordination problem!”
"We have to get people to stop talking about adults first. It is students first! Everyone else is second."
"We have to get a better understanding around where we are going”
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:45 AM
The community doesn't understand how this district is allocating resources especially in light of infrastructure dollars being provided to new schools in the proposed St. George area but not prioritizing retro fitting schools with issues from dirty air, lead, cancer alley, and mold.
From One Rouge to Everyone 08:46 AM
"The influence of the politics here is so strong that anyone who comes in (from the Baton Rouge area) comes in with their biases”
“We talk a lot here, but don’t' move fast enough”
"We have to be OK (in knowing) that the movement is going to make noise”
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 08:47 AM
Ive heard concerns that DE isn't as portable to in state and out of state schools versus AP? Asking for clarity.
From One Rouge to Everyone 08:47 AM
What does it mean to “teach kids better”???
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:48 AM
Isn't it the responsibility of leadership to engage the community and get buy in prior to moving forward with out the critical political support that will be required? The school board is an elected body.
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 08:49 AM
Also... Given that EBR is in the state that it is in now largely due to structural racism and ableism.(Let's not forget that the parochial/private boom followed integration) What structural changes are being made to ensure that the property tax trap and other built in inequity is rebalanced?
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:50 AM
One of the major challenges of this system has been such massive turnover in leadership? Has that been stabilized?
From firstname.lastname@example.org to Everyone 08:50 AM
Kids First, but the Teachers who teach them need to be taken into consideration. Many educators are leaving the system. You have to think about PEOPLE FIRST! What is the balance of putting kids first and making sure your educators are healthy mentally?
From Rinaldi Jacobs Sr to Everyone 08:51 AM
who pays the professors for the Advanced Placement?
From Summer Steib (she/her) to Everyone 08:51 AM
100% what Courtney is saying/asking!
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 08:53 AM
Will the combining of smaller schools still keep class sizes manageable to ensure proper IEP/504 And gifted accommodations?
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:53 AM
One of the challenges I am concerned is that I don't hear alot of buy in from the internal stakeholders including the school board, educators or parents? Is that a misconception?
From One Rouge to Everyone 08:53 AM
I'm not sure I understand how the closing of schools is centering the students.
From Kevin Guitterrez to Everyone 08:54 AM
Schools that are under enrolled simply cannot afford the programming that kids and communities deserve, so appreciate the focus on resource allocation and hard calls related to how many schools can be operated
From email@example.com to Everyone 08:54 AM
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 08:56 AM
Structural and personnel changes are scary for kiddos and families that may already have trauma around be in uprooted (foster, housing insecure, flood loss, prior school closings, etc.) how will we intentionally support the emotional wellbeing of our families through those changes?
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:00 AM
That is a problematic statement, "I'm not one person.". This isn't supposed to be a one person band. What is the collaborative partnership within the district?
I keep hearing about everything but the wraparound services that children in no and low wealth communities to survive and thrive. I'm extremely concerned that I am not hearing more about collaborative partnerships with organizations like BREC, Capital Area Human Services, East Baton Rouge Parish Library System, etc.
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:00 AM
Will there be an increase in counseling and nurse hires? We really need to have dedicated staff for those positions at each school EVERYDAY (rather than shared) so that teachers can focus on teaching, while kids and families get their additional needs handled. So many behavior issue wild be solved by having those wraparound services available everyday. Between the recent floods/storms and pandemic... We’re fighting an uphill trauma battle.
From One Rouge to Everyone 09:00 AM
“Tying behavior with academics” What does that mean?
From Patrisha’s iPhone to Everyone 09:01 AM
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:03 AM
From judge pamela Johnson to Everyone 09:04 AM
Great Plan. I have been an advocate for this for over 20 years. Let, do it.
From Ava Smith to Everyone 09:05 AM
Yes, I hear our young people speak on not enough counseling in the schools, Thank you
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:05 AM
I'm concerned that there's no centering of our public tax payer resources being used to uplift the entire community (called 360 schools- allowing the buildings to amplify multi purpose uses outside of the school day)
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:06 AM
So many early behavior issues are also access issues. With creative partnerships with clinics we could ensure that kids aren't falling through the cracks due to health issues that manifest as behavior issues.
From Donald Andrews to Everyone 09:07 AM
What are the best practices that are being introduced in your strategic plan and can you give a model school system that we are benchmarking against and the results that have been attained with such a plan?
From Adonica Pelichet Duggan to Everyone 09:09 AM
On a statewide level this is certainly an issue, but within the system the district has the authority over resource allocation. I say that to say within the parish we get to decide where we need more money to better support the needs of kids. It is not driven by which parts of the parish have higher property tax revenue
From Rhoda Reddix to Everyone 09:11 AM
Health Centers in Schools (HCS) serve K-12 EBR Public schools to address health issues. Please consider increasing support and resources for this partnership to reach more children and address complex health issues in this population.
From judge pamela Johnson to Everyone 09:12 AM
This plan will allow Johnnie the opportunity to learn to read and have a productive life. Our problem is not so much race, it's money and access to resources.
From Rinaldi Jacobs Sr to Everyone 09:12 AM
yes dual enrollment is what I meant
From SK Groll to Everyone 09:15 AM
We don't have 100,000 school buildings. Investment in our community schools is also investment in our neighborhoods, is investment in a vision for our city beyond what is there now. This is where 360 schools (Rev Anderson mentioned) which serve multiple purposes throughout the community, are an incredible model
From Patrisha’s iPhone to Everyone 09:16 AM
Those of us that have already lost our community school - what’s the plan for abandoned schools. Would you consider partnering with nonprofits for programs that assist the students and their families?
Banks elementary in particular
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:16 AM
^ I would also like to know that the plan is for unused property…
From Chris Spalatin | BRAC to Everyone 09:16 AM
@Patrisha - I love that idea
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:16 AM
Human capital can move from one location to another (physical fitness, mindful meditation, nutritional education, financial literacy, workforce preparedness, etc)
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:17 AM
Those buildings could be used through smart partnerships to help with housing and food insecurity initiatives.
From Rhoda Reddix to Everyone 09:17 AM
Morgan, I agree!
From Patrisha’s iPhone to Everyone 09:18 AM
From Chris Spalatin | BRAC to Everyone 09:19 AM
Co-work space. Community gardens. Kitchen space. Child care. So much potential
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:19 AM
Public education is about serving every child. We need to recognize that every child isn't going to college but every child needs the fundamental skills to be a good citizen. Where is this plan?
From Patrisha’s iPhone to Everyone 09:19 AM
Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!!
From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone 09:19 AM
Thank you! The teachers care and want to know too but they're EXHAUSTED. They need help to get and keep these kids on track. They can't do it alone AND provide high-quality ed.
From SK Groll to Everyone 09:20 AM
Families want choice because their neighborhood schools have been divested from time and time again. When families have access to excellent, high quality schools in their neighborhood, they move mountains to be there. People move addresses, communities, uproot their whole lives to live somewhere zoned to excellent public schools. Let's recognize the power of excellent community schools in bringing community and economic development to ALL parts of our city.
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:21 AM