Education Foundation gains momentum at St. John Parish – L’Observateur

Education Foundation Gains Momentum in St. John Parish

Released Saturday, August 27, 2022 at 12:04 am

LAPLACE — The growth potential of the community depends on the growth of the public school system, according to members of the newly formed St. John the Baptist Parish Education Foundation.

Led by a seven-person board of elected officials and community leaders, the Education Foundation is successful and Our goal is to support quality education. This is achieved by raising funds from businesses, individuals and civic groups.

The Education Foundation was incorporated in November 2021 and began congress in February 2022. Once the nonprofit is off the ground, her first two goals are to provide scholarships to students and teachers.

In Spring 2022, the Education Foundation awarded scholarships to six high school students. Three of them are from East St. John and three are from West St. John. Each student received her $10,000 to help with higher education expenses, bringing her to $60,000 in total. As of August 2022, all six of these her students are enrolled at the university.

The $60,000 investment in scholarships was part of the first $350,000 donated by the Marathon Petroleum Company to start the foundation. From the first donation, the Education Foundation planned to use her $60,000 toward teacher certification. However, the cost proved to be much higher, with 77 non-certified teachers willing to participate in the program, costing approximately $5,000 per person.

Earlier this month, Marathon announced a second $350,000 grant to the Education Foundation. This is practically paid to all non-accredited teachers who participate in the accredited program.

According to board member Tammy Houston, the certification program also facilitates teacher retention in schools in St. John the Baptist Diocese. Each teacher participating in the program commits to remain in the school system for at least her five years.

Houston has a vision to boost test scores and morale in local schools.

“This foundation started with a vision. We want to bring back the grand education of the old days when we had a school system we were proud of and produced productive children. , went to school, and we want to bring back the fun and the academic part,” Houston said. “The consensus is that without a good school system, you cannot bring businesses and families here. There are families who actually leave in order to stay.”

As we move into the 2022-23 school year, Education Foundation President Debbie Schum wants to raise awareness of the opportunities available. Only 12 students have applied for the 2022 scholarship, and Shum hopes to increase this number this year.

Schum said other goals the Education Foundation is working on include rewarding staff for exemplary service, providing small grants to teachers, and encouraging parents to participate in the school system. includes prompting.

St. John the Baptist Parish Education Foundation is modeled after a successful organization in Texas, providing incentives for high performance to schools, teachers and academics.

“I think we need to build community trust in the school,” says Schum. “That’s something we haven’t achieved yet. I think it’s important to have a very diverse board member that integrates all areas.”

Shum and Education Foundation Secretary and Treasurer Shelly DeFrancescu both serve on the St. John Parish Board of Education, and Houston serves on the Parish Council. Other board members include Louisiana Senator Ed Price, Sheriff Mike Tregle, St. John Parish Board of Libraries Trustee Virgie Johnson, and Marathon Petroleum’s Iman Montgomery. Trustee Lucien Gauff was not a board member, but he was instrumental in founding the foundation.

Dozens of business leaders and elected officials attended the Education Foundation’s first Community Meet and Greet this week at the Lloyd B. Johnson Law Enforcement Training Center in Laplace.

“The people in this room have been able to solve many problems in St. John Parish,” said Sheriff Tregre. “I know as a Sheriff, there’s no way we’re getting out of trouble. That is why I am part of this foundation.”

Senator Price is proud to be on a board that seems to be heading in the right direction.

“We want our kids to go to college, but part of our vision is what we do with our teachers and provide them with scholarships to get their certifications. “Businesses, parents, everyone needs to get involved in this.”

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