Lions Club learns about ESSA, members receive new pins


Tony Davis, president/CEO of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the Natchitoches Lions Club Nov. 14. Although he’s spoken to the club before, this time he was wearing the hat of his newest role, District 4 seat on BESE, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

BESE is the administrative body for public elementary and secondary schools in the state. It also performs certain administrative functions for the state’s non-public elementary and secondary schools. BESE adopts regulations and enacts policies governing the operations of the schools under its jurisdiction, and exercises budgetary oversight of their educational programs and services.

Davis talked about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replacing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). ESSA was signed by President Obama on Dec. 10, 2015. The previous version of ESSA, NCLB, was enacted in 2002. Davis said the difference with ESSA, is that it’s the first time a federal program took a lot of the power away from the federal level and put it at the state level.

While Louisiana residents are familiar with the score cards schools in their districts receive, many my not realize there’s a lot of states that don’t do it.

“Louisiana is leading the pack,” said Davis. “We’re ahead of the curve with the implementation of ESSA and that’s a good thing for us. Education is the heart, soul and core of the community.”

Natchitoches parish has increased its graduation rate to 77 percent, which Davis said isn’t at the state level, isn’t where he and other leaders in education want it to be, but is better than it was.

“It’s important to make sure we’re educating every single student,” he said.

In Lions Clubs news, members received Chevron pins in recognition of their years of service including Mimi Stoker (10 years), Michele Waskom (15 years) and Sophie Packard (20 years). Don Brown received the Senior Builder Key Award , recognizing him as a senior Lion that sponsored at least two new Lions into the club.