Evangeline Parish Schoolboard Meeting
Wednesday, 18 November 2020
On Wednesday, November 18th, the Evangeline Parish Schoolboard welcomed three Evangeline Parish principals for a curricular and instructional update, focusing on distance learning in Evangeline Parish and the role of Wednesdays as planning days. The three principals were: Ville Platte’s Katrina Ardoin representing elementary grades, Vidrine’s Debby Soileau representing middle school, and Pine Prairie’s Alice D. LeJeune representing high school.
The overwhelming majority of teachers, students, and faculty fully embrace the benefits of Wednesdays as planning periods. Teachers have described the days as a “breath of fresh air,” allowing them to slow down and thoroughly prepare the upcoming lessons without feeling rushed. The day also allows for one-on-one meetings with students who may be struggling in a particular area, particularly in Special Education students. Students’ needs are identified and accommodated accordingly to provide the best learning opportunity during COVID-19 measures. For all students, Wednesdays are not simply a day off, but a day filled with planned lessons and homework to be completed before the next in-person school day.
Teachers have also found that dedicated planning days are an opportunity for them to collaborate in person. In the past, doing so was nearly impossible due to schedules not aligning properly. Now, teachers find themselves able to work together without having to worry about making it back to class on time.
Some board members expressed concerns about student and parent participation being compromised by virtual learning. The three principals, however, agreed that parent participation has improved over last year’s and that students’ learning experience this school year continues to evolve and is proving effective. Board member Peggy Forman agreed, stating that though the methods are not traditional, neither is the upcoming generation.
Regarding COVID-19 concerns:
Superintendent Lazard asks that everyone continue taking precautions and following safety guidelines. As of Wednesday’s meeting, the only school that has gone completely virtual was Mamou High School. However, cases continue to increase, with Evangeline Parish currently over 10%. The school board and schools will continue monitoring the situation and adjust accordingly.