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Business community comes together to support new teachers

The 2017 Bossier Chamber Teacher Luncheon.

The business community is stepping in to ensure Bossier Schools continues its success by supporting the district’s newest teachers.

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce and New Teacher Supporters will welcome new educators and receive start-up materials at the annual New Teachers Luncheon later this month.

“Certified teachers are becoming fewer and farther between, not only locally but nationally. It is imperative we welcome educators to Bossier Schools, make them feel appreciated and show them they are supported by both the district and community,” said Bossier Parish Schools Public Relations Liaison Sonja Bailes.

“This event was started several years ago by Bossier Federal Credit Union. It only made sense that this event be passed on to the Bossier Chamber of Commerce to encourage the entire business community to participate and express their support towards teachers and education in Bossier Parish,” added Katie Theriot, director of business development/investor relations for the Bossier Chamber of Commerce.

With more than 22,200 students attending Bossier Schools, the school district is one of the fastest growing districts in Louisiana in enrollment and performance.

“It is only natural for a business community to rally behind the local education system. We want our businesses and companies to be around for years to come and this is dependent on students who will make up the future workforce,” Theriot explained.

This luncheon is meant to welcome new teachers to Bossier Parish and show the business community’s support as they enter the Bossier Schools system for the first time in 2018. 

It also provides an avenue for these new educators to network with other teachers, the school board, and business representatives. Theriot said the Chamber’s goal is to provide the opportunity for teachers to build their network of peer-to-peer mentoring where they can share ideas, challenges, and successes.

“Education is a key component of any community. It depicts the type of quality of life that is present in an area and the workforce of a community is dependent on the education system,” said Theriot. “We want our schools to produce students who can not only fulfill and sustain jobs right here at home, but students who are visionaries and want to grow and build the local economy.”

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce will host this year’s event July 26 at the Bossier Parish Community College gym beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The event is one of several that the Chamber uses to showcase Bossier Parish Schools. Others include the State of Education and Education & Innovation Luncheon.

“We work closely with the high school counselors on (the Education & Innovation Luncheon) to award scholarships to high school students in their senior year,” said Theriot.

The Chamber also has the BYL (Bossier Youth Leadership) Program. The 2018 school year will see 49 high school students join the program that prepares Bossier Parish high school students to take on leadership roles when they enter the business community.

“Each year around 50 students from an array of Bossier Parish high schools are chosen to take part in nine monthly sessions covering topic matters such as leadership, social services, economic development, team building and the like,” Theriot said.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.