School Board recognizes Students of the Year, discusses teacher retention, cell phone policy

The Natchitoches Parish School Board recognized the winners of the Student of the Year Competition at its committee meeting Monday night, May 6. The competition was held Jan. 16.

Winners are:

5th Grade – Bryan Chen – Natchitoches Magnet

8th Grade – Benjamin Hogg – NSU Middle

12th Grade – Jon Henderson – NCHS

5th Grade Finalists included: Zaveian Calahan – East Natchitoches, Tralyn Lofton – Fairview Alpha, Breanna Hines – Goldonna, Blaine Mitchell – Marthaville, Annaliece Romero – NSU Elementary Lab and Kendal Presson – Provencal

8th Grade Finalists included: Austin Martin – Goldonna, Sammya Rachal – Lakeview Jr. High, 8th Grade – Richard Jordan – Marthaville, 8th Grade – Alexander Dunnmiller – Natchitoches Jr. High, and 8th Grade – Joseph Yount – Provencal

12th Grade Finalist: Latia Beavers – Lakeview High

In other business, the board is putting together a list of nominations for a committee that will work toward a plan for teacher retention. Superintendent Dale Skinner said some teachers in Natchitoches Parish may be considering leaving for higher paying jobs in other parishes. Skinner said he’s reaching out to other superintendents to see what they’re doing for teacher retention. He said the School Board needs to come up with a plan.

The Board will also look into the district’s Cell Phone Policy. Currently if a student is caught with his/her cellphone, the consequence is to have the phone taken away for a week with a 1-day suspension. For a first offense, Board Member Beverly Broadway said she feels it’s pretty severe.

“We have a high suspension rate in our parish compared to the state.” she said. “This policy was created before cell phones became such a primary tool in our lives.”

In other parishes, if a student is caught with his/her phone (first offense), the phone is taken away until the end of the day.

NCHS Nurse Rene Lewis said in school districts across the country phones are taken away until the end of the day for a first offense, are taken away and requires a parent to be retrieved for a second offense, and an in-school suspension is issued for the third offense.

By no means should students be allowed to use their phones inside the classrooms, but sometimes it’s important for students to receive notifications before or after school, or at lunch. Other times, a student may rely on his/her phone to arrange transportation to get to work after school.

“This is a different age we live in,” said Lewis.

Items up for vote at Thursday night’s meeting include:

Consider study for comprehensive drug testing for the Natchitoches Parish School system
Consider methods to increase transparency, financial and otherwise, for public benefit
Consider approving a name change for the NPSB Department of Special Education to the Department of Exceptional Student Services
Consider approving Alliance Compressor tax exemption request on $14.5 million
Review Kisatchie School property for possible re-dedication
Consider transferring Cloutierville BRE funds to Provencal

2 thoughts on “School Board recognizes Students of the Year, discusses teacher retention, cell phone policy

  1. My child said no teachers enforced the cell phone rule when she was at NCHS. That year, if a cell phone rang and no one confessed whose it was, the entire class got a strike toward disciplinary action. Is that rule still in force?

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