The Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee held a New Teachers luncheon Aug. 7 to honor and welcome new employees of the Natchitoches Parish School Board. There were 23 new teachers in attendance representing schools across the parish. Also in attendance were representatives from the School Board, the education department at NSU, the City of Natchitoches, The Natchitoches Community Alliance, and members of the Chamber Board of Directors, including Past Chamber Chair and CEO of Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, Kirk Soileau. NRMC sponsored the event, and Soileau spoke to attendees about the importance of education in our community and how happy they were to support the efforts of the Chamber to bring all of these players together for the same goal.
The Education Committee was formed several years ago to bridge the gap between education and the work force in Natchitoches Parish. The Committee set five goals to achieve by the end of the 2025-2026 school year:
Natchitoches Parish should have no C, D, or F schools
At least half of the graduating class should have some form of dual enrollment credit
At least half of our students should be scoring at Mastery or above
Our district ACT score should be a 21 or higher
Our graduation rate should be at least 95% of each cohort
Committee member Laura Lyles said every program they develop is working toward these goals. An inaugural Elite Scholarship Banquet was held in May, which will become an annual event, as well as the New Teacher Luncheon.
Lyles presented an upcoming initiative at Tuesday’s luncheon called the “A+ Coalition.” This is still in the early development stages, but it will offer ways for community members and businesses to get involved and become part of the solution.
“The Chamber is excited to offer a platform for everyone in the Parish to join to help advance education in Natchitoches,” said Lyles. “We’ll be rolling out the A+ Coalition soon, so we want the community to get excited about it and stay tuned!”