OBERLIN — Allen Parish School Superintendent Kent Reed discussed the district’s long-range goals this week, which includes focusing on literacy, ensuring pre-schoolers are ready to start school on time and preparing students for future assessments and career choices.
“We got caught up in accountability and a lot of curriculum things and kind of lost sight of teaching kids to read,” Reed said. “We’ve got to get back to refocusing on literacy and one of our big nuggets is making sure all third-graders are reading on grade level by the time they get to third grade. I want to spend more time and effort in that area.”
The goals also focus on Head Start and pre-kindergarten programs to make sure students are “kindergarten ready and ready to start kindergarten.”
“We want every kid to be kindergarten ready when the time comes,” Reed said.
A new 3-year-old class is being opened at Oberlin Elementary School.
The plan also aims to help students reach the state’s goal of achieving mastery or advance proficient level on statewide testing by 2025.
“By 2025 they want all students to be proficient on assessments exams, which is mastery or advance,” Reed said. “For a long time we got points for basics and we’re still getting points for basic, but in about a year from now basics is going to be a zero on your scores. That’s something we really have to keep working on.”
LEAP 2025 tests will be administered in grades 3-8. High school grades will be given three sets of LEAP 2025 exams.
Instructional Supervisor of Secondary and Assessment Brad Soileau said he has been working with high school principals to plan for Jump Start 2.0, which will require students to choose a vocational or college route by the end of their sophomore year.
“Jump Start 2.0 is a big part of high school and every freshmen and sophomore has to make the choice to go the college route or Jump Start, which means vocation the route. With Jump Start comes a lot of opportunities for credentials and jobs.”
The program will expand career courses, pathways and industry-based certifications to students prior to graduation.
The district offered students programs this summer focusing on emergency medical response, computer coding and technology and industrial plant safety, which allowed students to receive credits and certifications. The Education Rising program is also preparing students to become future educators.
“Those kids go back to their schools with credentials that not only helps the kid but also helps the school with testing,” Soileau said. “Those students also received supplements from the state, so it was basically a summer job and some of those kids made over $2,000 to go through a three or four week course. It’s more money than they would make in a summer job.”
The district is also looking to implement an internship program to allow students who get out of school early to get jobs.
Reed also wants schools to focus on culture and climate.
“Kids are different today,” he said. “What they have been through and what this country has been through and what this school system has been through, we need to be supportive of our school leaders but at the same time we need to hold teachers and leaders accountable for following guidelines and expectations that our district sets forth. We need to make a conscious effort to truly get to know every one of our students and support them in a positive way so they can achieve their academic goals.”
“We want a foundation for all students to lead a prosperous, successful life for them and their future families.”