A crowd of parents, students, and teachers gathered yesterday evening for the recognition of the Students of the Year. Samhita Rao from BRMHS won Student of the Year for the high school division, her third time winning the award. Rao was Student of the Year during her time in elementary and middle school.  Amy Ruckman from McKinley Middle was selected for the middle school division and Dylan Harms Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts was selected for the elementary school division.

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Each year dozens of students are nominated by teachers for a Student of the Year Award. Once they are nominated, students must then write an essay and are interviewed. Then the finalists are named and they have to write another essay, from which a winner is chosen.

The consideration of a request for authorization to request qualifications for architects was approved, moving forward the destruction and reconstruction of Broadmoor Elementary School. The renovations will solve a drainage problem the school has been facing. Members of the board and audience discussed where students from Broadmoor will be relocated during the 2-year long project. Board member Dr. Jacqueline Mims expressed opposition to sending students to Valley Park Elementary when Melrose or Capitol Elementary are both closer options. Board member Evelyn Ware-Jackson said, “let’s ask them,” referring to students and parents, in regards to where students should be relocated.

More than 350 students will receive glasses today thanks to Health Centers in Schools and Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. While not on the agenda, Superintendent Warren Drake spent a few moments discussing this operation because of its impact on students. Transportation is provided for students that have been pre-screened by school nurses and glasses will be made on site. Special equipment has been made available so that students can be tested by local ophthalmologists and walk away with glasses today. The equipment is housed in a van, which will be parked at the School Board Office all day.

ExxonMobil representative Ken Miller received a Superintendent’s Medal for, “tremendous service” and being a “superior corporate partner” according to Superintendent Drake. ExxonMobil has funded programs and spent more than 40,000 volunteer hours in local schools in the past year. Their current focus is STEM enhancement, workforce development and getting volunteers into classrooms. Programs like “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” and Science Days at Louisiana Arts and Sciences Museum (LASM), which more than 30 local schools participate in, are all thanks to ExxonMobil’s efforts.

Miller spoke about a program started in Dallas by ExxonMobil that made its way to Baton Rouge.  LSU was one of the first colleges to adopt the GoTeach program. Known as UTeach by most universities, this program helps provide teacher certification to STEM majors without any additional time or financial constraints. It is estimated that 5 million students have already been touched by this program, Miller said. Their goal is to expand the number of students enrolled in AP classes as well as AP pass rates because high AP test scores provide the, “strongest correlation to students finishing college,” according to Miller.

A Community Forum will be held Tuesday, March 8 at Woodlawn High School from 6-8pm. The Community Forum provides a platform for students, parents, and teachers to express support and opinions regarding any School Board matters. The last Community Forum was a success and is a great way to hear the voices of the community, according to Superintendent Drake.

The next regular meeting will be held on Thursday, March 17 at 5 pm at 1022 S. Foster Dr. The renovations being made to the usual School Board meeting room will be finished in 2 months, but until then all meetings will be held in the Instructional Resource Center next door. Live tv coverage was not available because of the location, but will be made available Saturday or Sunday, according to Board President Barbara Freiberg.

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