Just another day in JDP schools
by ALLISON CRYER
Thursday was just another day for schools in Jeff Davis Parish, but on any given day, you can find teachers here working to enrich the lives and minds of students in their classrooms.
With so much harsh criticism of teachers in the media over the last year or so stemming from our governor’s education reform, I invite the governor and his staff to come visit the parish of Jeff Davis to find out just how much “revamping” our system needs.
Our school district here isn’t broke and it doesn’t need fixing.
With all the issues teachers face today, like teaching to the test, evaluations and tenure, constant policy changes and more – it is amazing that they are still able to make the students their first priority. However, somehow they do, and I have seen evidence of this myself every time I get the chance to cover events taking place at our schools.
Yesterday, I was invited to attend two events at schools in the parish that provided students with an opportunity get a real-life lesson on science.
The first school, Lake Arthur Elementary School (LAES) held their annual Space Day as the culminating event for their lesson on the Solar System. The Houston Museum of Natural Science brought their Discovery Dome, which allowed the students to experience outer space without ever having to leave Lake Arthur. This was paid for by a grant that teachers at LAES worked to garner over the last several years from the Jeff Davis Arts Council. The students also enjoyed “space food” which they sipped from plastic bags and crafted their own space rockets out of cardboard. The dedicated teachers at LAES understand that children will retain much more knowledge if they are able to learn by doing, not just reading and listening.
Another school that demonstrated that same understanding yesterday was Jennings High School. Ninth grade physical science students participated in a live videoconference with the St. Louis Police Department in Missouri and another high school in South Carolina. The students were given a crime scene to study two weeks prior to the teleconference and were able to discuss the crime and ask questions in real time about forensics from actual police officers. Their teacher said the students were highly engaged and excited throughout the whole process.
The fact is I believe our teachers know what is best for their students and I see evidence of this on a daily basis. I myself attended school in Jennings from kindergarten through high school and I am continually impressed by the progress that has been made since the days of my youth. While I have always valued my education, I grow even more proud to say I was educated in Jeff Davis Parish on days like yesterday.
I invite our governor to come and spend just one day with the hardworking teachers, school administrators and students in Jeff Davis Parish and he will see that there is really not that much that is broken and in need of repair.
Almost daily, I witness the effectiveness of the teachers and administrators in our schools. So why is it so hard to for our state’s lawmakers and governor to perceive what is actually working in schools across the state?
I do not believe these types of hands-on and enriching learning experiences are limited to classrooms located in Jeff Davis Parish. If our governor just spent some time in our schools or any schools in the state for that matter, I think he would be impressed too.
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