area school districts receive Reimagine School System grant funds | News

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Three parishes in northwest Louisiana are receiving state education grants designed to create new learning opportunities for their students.

Bossier, DeSoto and Claiborne are among 31 school systems statewide that will share the $40 million allocated to the Reimagine School System program. In addition to financial resources, school districts will receive technical assistance and targeted support to ensure the plans are sustainable.

“When we launched the Reimagine School Systems program in 2021, we did so to encourage school systems to create new, high-quality education opportunities, to be innovative, to challenge themselves and their students National Education Superintendent Cade Brumley said. “We are extremely pleased with the quality of applications we have received from school systems across the state, and I look forward to seeing how these programs expand opportunities for students.”

DeSoto got $3.6 million, which will be split equally between two different projects. One focuses on what is called comprehensive services for students and their families. The second will ultimately help kick-start the development of an academic and professional academy, Superintendent Clay Corley said.

The wraparound services project will be designed to provide students with the support they need throughout the school day, whether academic, social or behavioral.

“Through the Reimagine grant, we will be able to put in place a comprehensive system that will support the whole child by providing students with support tailored to their specific needs and the needs of our schools, such as after-school programs , parent engagement activities, nutrition, physical and mental health support,” said Director of Student Services, Darrell Hampton.

“The services provided by the different systems of care will remove barriers to learning and ensure that our students are in school every day, ready and eager to learn. We will coordinate both school resources and community partners to provide a comprehensive service network in our schools,” Hampton added.

As for the second phase of the grant, it will meet a growing need for TOPS University and TOPS Jump Start students. Over the past four years, DeSoto has not only seen an increase in the number of students wanting to enroll in Advanced Placement, CLEP, and Dual Enrollment courses, but also a 15% increase in the number of students taking Career courses. Tech Ed (CTE), said College and Career Readiness Supervisor Josh Dahlem.

“The grant will be used to launch new advanced college opportunities and CTE courses for all schools, as well as assist in the development of DeSoto College and Career Center. This facility will not only meet the needs of our students, but will provide continuing education opportunities for community members after regular school hours,” Dahlem said.

Bossier Parish received $300,000 for the first phase of planning and $510,000 for the second phase of implementation.

The Reimagine School Systems Grant will allow Bossier schools to further enhance opportunities this summer by extending learning instruction between May 24 and June 23 to K-8 students who have been identified as disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The schools included are: Bossier Elementary, Central Park Elementary, RV Kerr Elementary, Rusheon Middle, Curtis Elementary, Elm Grove Middle, Greenacres Middle, Meadowview Elementary, Platt Elementary, Haughton Middle, Waller Elementary and Princeton Elementary.

Additionally, extended summer opportunities will be available for students in grades three through eight who failed to master statewide assessments in the 2021-22 school year. and any K-2 student who reads below grade level.

Grant funding will also pay for transportation, snacks/meals, and instruction by district teachers.

Jeremy S. McLain