Schools had busy year

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The Bossier Parish School Board's school construction project began this year with new wings at W.T. Lewis Elementary.

Superintendent looks back at 2013 and ahead to 2014

The Bossier Parish School Board will pick up next year were it left off this one — continuing the expansion, upgrading, and building of new schools.

“2014 will be an especially busy year for Bossier Schools. We are especially excited about the beginning of construction on Kingston Elementary. Groundbreaking was November 22 and construction will continue throughout 2014,” said Superintendent D.C. Machen. “In the meantime, we look forward to the completion of the WT Lewis wing additions in Fall 2014, as well as breaking ground on Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning early in the year and starting the renovation of Airline High School.”

With the groundbreaking for new wings at W.T. Lewis Elementary School this summer, the school system embarked on its first phase of school construction and improvements.

The system is one of the fastest growing public school districts in Louisiana, resulting in record student enrollment. To address the rapid growth across Bossier Parish, voters approved a $210 million bond referendum in April 2012 to build new schools and improve existing ones, better positioning Bossier Schools for the present and future and offering students a desirable learning environment.

“W.T. Lewis is one of our fastest growing schools and they are at capacity, so we had to do something there to provide some relief,” Keith Norwood, supervisor of planning and construction, previously told the Press-Tribune.

This year also saw the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approve state Superintendent John White’s plan to delay consequences of Common Core State Standard’s tougher mathematics and English standards after many schools, including Bossier Parish, had expressed concern over the speed at which the curriculum was being implemented.

Improving student academic performance during this transitional period for CCSS implementation, working toward the implementation of CCSS’s PARCC Assessments in Spring 2015, is a priority for the BPSB.

“I want to see improvement in both our individual School Performance Scores (SPS) and our overall District Performance Score (DPS), moving us up to the A status. Demonstrating continued excellence in the status of teacher performance is another objective. We would like to increase the Highly Effective ratings of our teachers and educational leaders in conjunction with improved student performance,” Machen added.

Looking back, 2013 was largely a successful year for Bossier Schools.

The parish was rated number one in the state for Highly Effective teachers, placed in the top 10 for District Performance Score, and Airline and Benton were named among the top 10 high schools showing academic growth in Advanced Placement exams.

“Our students and educators clearly demonstrated that we adhere to the highest expectations. However, we do not rest on our laurels, for an educator’s work is never finished. Each day we will continue to strive to provide enriched learning opportunities to the children in our care that challenge them to achieve their utmost potential. This can only be accomplished through the continued support, investment and collaboration of our school system’s community partners that recognize the role each of us plays in providing our youth the opportunities to excel and a promising tomorrow,” Machen said.