Central Community and East Feliciana are the Louisiana Finalists!

Spring is in full-bloom here in the southeastern United States and LEAN Frog is pleased to announce that the Louisiana school systems’ first year of participation in this Best Practices Contest has blossomed beyond our expectations!  The Louisiana entries were highly competitive and well-deserving of recognition. After several rounds of judging, LEAN Frog and co-sponsors the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents (LASS)/Louisiana Association of School Executives (LASE) are excited to announce the Louisiana Finalists in the “Tri-State Best K-12 Practices” Contest. . .

 

Central High School (Central Community School System in Baton Rouge, LA) and Jackson Elementary School (East Feliciana Public Schools in Clinton, LA).  Formal recognition and a $1,000 cash prize will be given to each of the finalists at an award ceremony to be held at their prize-winning schools. Additionally, the Louisiana finalists will be recognized at the at the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents (LASS) Summer Conference June 20-22 at the Double Tree in Lafayette, LA.

 

Central High School’s (CHS) “Student-run Help Desk” is a best practice begun in 2015 – a year after the start of their 1:1 digital initiative.  Inspired by college, student-run technology “help desks”, the CHS student-directed and staffed Help Desk provides full-time tech services on 1,400 student/teacher laptops. Additionally, these students maintain all classroom workstations, projectors, printers and nearly every other technical device.  The Help Desk staffers provide technology training to incoming students and professional development to faculty. These help desk students secure real-world IT experience (e.g., troubleshooting problems, repairing hardware and software, tracking inventory, communicating with customers, developing standard operating procedures), develop technical writing skills (e.g., creating training documents and documenting standard operating procedures) and jump start their careers by earning CompTIA A+ certification. Some students have gone on to become employed by the school system’s IT department.

A Central High School student-run Help Desk staffer repairs a laptop.

 

Jackson Elementary School’s (JES) “Cubs Morning Meeting” began in 2014 to address student and staff needs to develop a common language and space to explore the school’s values of respect, responsibility and kindness without sacrificing instructional time. The Cubs Morning Meeting (20 minutes first thing in the morning) has evolved into an almost entirely student developed and led assembly involving all members of the Jackson Elementary School Cub family (kindergarten through fifth grade).  This best practice has helped JES achieve a variety of quantitative and qualitative school goals connected to climate (e.g., 28% decrease in out of school suspensions), efficiency (e.g., reduced number of informational faculty meetings, adding a monthly meeting focused entirely on professional development without increasing the number of faculty meeting the staff needs to attend), and student leadership and public speaking skills (e.g., “Author’s Chair” presentations). Because each homeroom gets at least two weeks of practice leading Morning Meeting each school year, the number and variety of students provided with leadership and presentation skills has grown exponentially.

Students share their writings in the “Author’s Chair” during Jackson Elementary’s Cubs Morning Time

 

Louisiana had a record number of entries its first year participating in the Best Practices contest. We thank all of those who took the time to enter the contest and we applaud all your efforts on behalf of the students in Louisiana public schools!

 

The Alabama finalists were announced in December 2017 at the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) Annual Convention (AASB is the Alabama contest co-sponsor.) The Tennessee finalists were acknowledged at the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) Legislative & Learning Conference in February 2018 (TOSS is the Tennessee contest co-sponsor).  All six state finalists will compete for a Grand Prize of an additional $4,000 that will be awarded at a Board of Education meeting of the winning school system.  This presentation will allow the local community to share in the school system’s recognition for positively impacting student achievement and promoting the effective and efficient use of public resources.

 

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Louisiana Believes . . . in Great Best Practices Contest Entries!

The state plan for the Louisiana State Department of Education is Louisiana Believes.  The Louisiana Believes plan was designed to ensure that every child is on track to a college degree or a professional career and emphasizes the crucial role students, parents and teachers play in helping students achieve. This strong belief is echoed in the entries we received from Louisiana school systems in their first year of participation in the Best Practices contest*.  Well, we believe that Alabama and Tennessee have some stiff competition for taking home the Grand Prize in the Tri-State Best K-12 Practices contest.  In their first year out of the gate, Louisiana public schools have submitted innovative and impactful entries that demonstrate the strength and depth of public education.

 

Some of the Louisiana-submitted best practices involved:

  •  Increased Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) education opportunities for K-12 students to expand their critical thinking skills and prepare them for the 21st century workforce
  • Student-led early morning assemblies that distribute important school news and shared “cultural values” and spotlight student and staff recognitions
  • Professional Development for Career Technical Education (CTE) Teachers that focuses on the economic growth plans of the community, facilitates learning and collaboration with local businesses, and promotes students earning industry certifications
  • A strategically focused blueprint for increasing student achievement, developing educator effectiveness, and building public confidence
  • Expansion of the student directed and staffed IT “Help Desk” to deliver full-time technology maintenance services, enhance the use of technology in academic projects, and provide CompTIA A+ certifications for students
  •  Intensive ACT preparation to help students increase their scores and broaden their college opportunities.

 

We are thankful for the wonderful entries submitted by Louisiana, Tennessee, and Alabama and we greatly appreciate the support provided by our public education co-sponsors -Executive Director Sally Howell and the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) in Alabama, Executive Director Dale Lynch and the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) in Tennessee, and Executive Director Mike Faulk and the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents (LASS) in Louisiana.  Thanks also to Executive Director J. Rogers Pope and the Louisiana Association of School Executives (LASE).

 

So now the question is . . .

 

Stay tuned for the revelation of the Louisiana finalists (see previous posts about Alabama entries and finalists and Tennessee entries and finalists) who will receive $1000.00 each and for the Grand Prize Winner selected from each state’s finalists.  The Grand Prize winner will receive an additional $4000.00 cash award!!!

 

* LEAN Frog sponsors the Tri-State Best K-12 Practices Contest for Alabama, Tennessee, and Louisiana public schools in association with the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB), the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS), and the Louisiana Association of School Executives/Louisiana Association of School Superintendents (LASE/LASS) LEAN Frog established the contest to give back to public schools and to promote creative and sustainable practices that impact student achievement and encourage the effective and efficient use of public resources. Started in Alabama in 2014, expanded into Tennessee in 2016 and into Louisiana this year, winners receive public recognition and a cash prize for their successful entries.

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