Where will your child go to school?

Where will your child go to school
The Natchitoches Parish School Board will vote Thursday, Feb. 8 at 5 pm to approve a school reconfiguration for Weaver, East Natchitoches, LP Vaughn and the Natchitoches Jr. High.

What does this mean for your child? Beginning next year, the schools will be separated by “grade bands,” which puts students together with others in their same age group.

The reconfiguration will be as follows:

Students in grades PreK-2 will be moved to the LP Vaughn facility Building 1: 417 students
Teacher to student ratio of 1:20/21 in first grade and 1:21/22 in second grade Building 2: 393 students
Teacher to student ratio of 1:19/20 in PreK and 1:20/21 in Kindergarten

Students in grades 3-4 will be moved to the Weaver facility: 371 students
Teacher to student ratio of 1:19/20 in third grade and 1:24/25 in fourth grade

Students in grades 5-6 will be moved to the East Natchitoches facility: 395 students
Teacher to student ratio of 1:25/26 in fifth grade and 1:23/24 in sixth grade

Natchitoches Jr. High will go back to grades 7-8 only

The way this was designed is to equalize the ratio of teachers to students across the grade bands. Before, one school may have a ratio of 1:15, while another may have 1:21. This new model will maximize the staff the school board employs without requiring additional staff.

“We want to work smarter, not harder,” said Dr. Mary Vansickle, NPSB instructional supervisor. “This is something I think Natchitoches is ready for.”


Infant/Toddler-Grade 2 band: Setting a good foundation

  • Purposeful staffing secures experts in infant/toddler- Grade 2 field who can support the unique social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs of children- decreasing the need for intense interventions at higher grade levels
  • Leadership, parent and community involvement can focus more specifically on the developmental stages of the students
  • School routines, assemblies and activities can be more grade and age focused and routines are not interrupted during the administration of LEAP 2025 and LEAP 360
  • The physical building and lay-out supports children at each grade level having:
  • Access to grade appropriate restrooms, gymnasiums, computer labs, intervention/specialty rooms, and close proximity to the lunch room
  • Ample outdoor space for recess, outdoor classrooms, and potential gardens to support math and science
  • Access to in-house health and counseling programs/staff

Substantial Academic Improvement for Students:

  • Consolidation of teachers and resources for specific grade levels
  • Creates a positive, developmentally appropriate environment
  • Less behavioral problems on campus equals more time for instruction
  • More opportunities for collaboration and job-embedded training that is specific to each grade band
  • Enhanced focus on student achievement because of grade level instruction

Natchitoches Jr. High:

  • Students will be able to engage in more academically and socially appropriate content
  • Teachers will have more opportunity to vertically plan with high school teachers to prepare students for the transition to high school
  • Students will have more opportunities to engage in reading intervention programs that link directly to the high school
  • Cohesive scheduling

Educating students with disabilities in smaller age span groupings indicates:

  • Promotion of natural cultural diversity
  • Allowance for more appropriate services through pupil-teacher ratio, resources and specially designed instruction
  • Ability to target individual professional development
  • Provision for teacher collaboration teams and mentoring
  • Smaller age span facilitates better peer relationships and interactions
  • Facilitates the implementation of transition across grade levels and locations
  • Provides for implementation of specialized serviced when needed

Federal Programs:

  • All school will receive Title I funds to continue support with English learners, homeless students, students in foster care, migrant students, and students from low socio-economic backgrounds
  • Title II will be used to support teachers in implementation of Tier I curriculum and grade-specific professional development
  • Title IV funds will be used to support fitness, behavior interventions and suicide prevention

“Our sole wish is to empower the children of Natchitoches Parish by increasing knowledge and skills,” said HR Director Linda Page. “Both on personal and national levels, education has been shown to increase economic growth and stability. Research further shows that we live longer, fuller, and happier lives as learned and knowledgable individuals. We believe that data and research driven decisions, fueled by commitment to excellence is why we are now a ‘B’ district. Our staff here, administrators, teachers and support staff believe that we can do better. We have talked about reconfiguring schools for years, but this is the first time we’ve been able to put this vision into action. The State Department has already approved this plan if you [School Board] agree.”


6 thoughts on “Where will your child go to school?

  1. I am very skeptical of this for an array of reasons. Is it possible to obtain the sources for the “research” that is quoted as supporting this decision?

    Learning does not simply start and stop at the steps of the school. One major issue for many teachers across the country is being able to consistently meet with parents and ensure there is support at home on the learning objectives. One this this model will guarantee is that it will isolate families that are low-SES and make it even more difficult for parents to be able to meet with teachers who are now strewn across a slew of schools all across town.

    This model also opens the door for the trimming of teachers within the community rather than increasing the educators in the community which is a very real and legitimate need. If an issue, as indicated in the video, is that teachers are using different methods for teaching and testing protocols why not encourage better means for teachers to collaborate and share knowledge and techniques? The issue of teachers using different techniques and testing tools will continue to be present as we must be cognoscente that teachers are people. They are individuals who have their own approach to accomplishing the outcome of educating their students. Not every student learns by the same technique, and not every teacher sticks with only one means of teaching their student body.

    What about the students need to re-learn their school environment every two years? How much of an effect will this have on their ability to fully invest in learning if they are having to re-learn the structure of their learning environment every two years? How much additional stress does this put on the students? How will that stress effect the students ability to learn?

    I am very skeptical of this. One necessary and scientifically proven element that is essential to child development is consistency. This model completely removes the consistency of the learning environment and teachers from the students life and only provides peer-to-peer consistency across the board. This may be beneficial for relationships and prevention of some social issues amongst the student body however, the consistency of environment and educators is far more important from my perspective.

    Eisenberg, N., Guthrie, I. K., Murphy, B. C., Shepard, S. A., Cumberland, A. and Carlo, G. (1999), Consistency and Development of Prosocial Dispositions: A Longitudinal Study. Child Development, 70: 1360–1372. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00100

    Carollee Howes, Leslie C Phillipsen, Ellen Peisner-Feinberg,
    The Consistency of Perceived Teacher–Child Relationships Between Preschool and Kindergarten,
    Journal of School Psychology, Volume 38, Issue 2, 2000, Pages 113-132, ISSN 0022-4405, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-4405(99)00044-8.

  2. I think this is a great idea. I have always been against young children as in first through maybe third being in school with much older kids who are trying to prove how tough they are and through out profanity like through out bread crumbs to birds. It is disgusting to me to hear children of any age use this language, but possibly by young ones not hearing it all day, they may not be as likely to pick it up. Hopefully, at least. It would be nice to punish kids for using profanity also.

  3. I feel sorry for the parents that have 3-4 kids in school. Bad ideal!! Can you imagine trying to get these kids off in the morning!!!

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