Jackson: Students need ‘hope and love’

School Board zone director outlines plans for school redesign

The Alpha Gamma chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a society for key women teachers, hosted a session recently with Marcus Jackson, Calcasieu Parish School Board’s zone director, to learn more about his plans for Calcasieu’s struggling schools.

In his address, Jackson outlined the tenants of the Redesign Grant that establish his position and explained his plans for Zone’s improvement.

“Hope and love, that’s something our kids are missing,” said Jackson as he opened his session recounting his memories of CPSB teachers who transformed his life. The bedrock for the Zone’s plans are based on restoring hope in students for their school, community and future, explained Jackson.

Not mincing words he admitted that there is a “lot to do” concerning the 13 persistently struggling schools, but he noted that nine of the 13 school have shown major growth since the 2017-2018 school year.

CPSB is ranked in sixth in student growth compared with all of Louisiana public school districts, said Jackson, who reminded that because scoring basic is no longer the standard for high-stakes testing high growth records indicate that more and more students across Calcasieu are reaching mastery and advanced levels of proficiency.

He applauded the district for such improvements saying, “This is a divine assignment.” He described the district’s work for progress as a “gumbo” that already has all of the right ingredients and he is now poised to add the “spices of collaboration and innovation” to finish the recipe.

CPSB students have only been back in school for six weeks, but Jackson said he makes a point to visit each school at least one hour a week to check on their progress.

“This is important because I’m from the neighborhood these schools are in and that gives hope to those kids and parents when they see me return.”

In addition to inspiring families, Jackson said he has spent hundreds of hours training teachers on new models of instruction and professional development.

“We’re developing leaders within the teachers,” he said. Tommy Campbell, chief academic officer, added that with 27 changes in administration across the district, strong leadership at the top should yield a “tremendous boost in morale because your [teachers] voice count.”

A public forum is planned for October at LaGrange High School and Washington Marion Magnet High School where Jackson will provide all stakeholders with further updates on school redesign progress.

The bedrock for the Zone’s plans are based on restoring hope in students for their school, community and future.

Marcus Jackson

Calcasieu Parish School Board CPSB zone director

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Marcus Jackson, CPSB zone director

Special to the American Press

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