Natchitoches School Superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi was joined by several members of the school board and Fairview Alpha principal Brooke Williams in presenting a town hall meeting to a group of interested parents and teachers at Fairview Alpha Elementary School on June 15. The meeting covered a wide range of subjects ranging from truancy to SPS scores as Dr. Eloi and the board members reported on the progress the system has made and their plans for the system’s future.
Fairview Alpha principal Brooke Williams began the meeting with an update of the considerable progress her school has made in a number of areas. The school’s 260 (“and growing!” as principal Williams proudly pointed out) students are being taught by a faculty that is 100% certified. The school earned a phenomenal 10.7 point jump in its scores, raising its letter rating to a C and is well on its way to earning a B letter grade. The 10.7 point increase was the highest in the district.
The district’s Dual Enrollment program is an incredible opportunity that Dr. Eloi and the board wish to make more well known. It is possible for a student in a Natchitoches public high school to earn college credits up to an associate degree while still in high school. Dr. Eloi and board president Billy Benefield pointed out that parents can save the cost of up to two years of college. For those on TOPS, the student can use the two years saved to pursue a master’s degree using TOPS, a phenomenal opportunity.
For those looking for career opportunities not involving college, the school system is starting an industrial maintenance program in conjunction with a local mill. The mill has agreed to hire students completing the program after graduation. The new graduates will begin their careers immediately after high school, having already completed a good deal of training and will be placed in jobs paying well over $50,000 per year. The upcoming year will be the first for the program and will have an intake of 10 students.
As board president Benefield stated, “the school system is looking to be an economic driver for the parish.”
Natchitoches Central High School currently has 17 students who scored 30 or above on the ACT, a bottom-line indicator of quality. The Natchitoches Parish School system has greatly improved over the past few years and is heading in a good direction! Attending the meeting were Superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi, Fairview Alpha Principal Brooke Williams, Board members Rev Steven Harris, Reba Phelps, Chad Fredieu, Russ Danzy, Billy Benefield, Lela Harvey and Lakeview basketball coach Brian Williams.