The following is an open letter to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board about the re-opening of Istrouma High School. It expresses many of the hopes that Stand for Children parent members have for the newly re-opened school.
If you wish to become more involved with supporting the reopening of Istrouma High School or to participate in future Istrouma community meetings click here and support a plan for all schools to become quality schools in East Baton Rouge Parish.
As a proud 1988 graduate of Istrouma High School, I am the product of excellent educators and amazing administrators. Mrs. Mattie Woodard and Ms. Susan Ourso are two of the reasons why I became an educator, and they, along with my parents, allowed my passion for reading and language to flourish.
I would love for my experience at Istrouma High School to be the standard. I believe that the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board needs to take a more active role in the shaping of what will become the new Istrouma. The taxpayers of this parish have entrusted this body with $25 million in funds to support re-opening our school, and the students are counting on us to get this right. The community needs a status report on Istrouma High School from the Board at the June meeting. An advisory committee is currently in place, but after attending several meetings, I, along with many others, feel that there is not enough focus on the long-term success of the school, which in my estimation is the most important component.
I believe that more can be done in the way of promotion and communication with the community. There are still questions about the type of programs and quality of curriculum that will be offered, and parents are wondering if they are even included in the attendance zone.
It is interesting to note that at a recent School Board meeting, there were seven charter school applications, four of which were for new high schools. The meeting lasted for more than five hours, and while each of these charter applicants had a plan and spoke at length giving detailed information, concerned alumni members and parents have no clue of what the strategic plan is, be it short or long-term, for our beloved school. We know that these students deserve the best possible education we can give them, and that means offering courses of study that will prepare them for high-earning jobs – especially in the STEM fields. We believe that the leadership of the new Istrouma High School should be given the ability to choose only highly qualified, proven effective educators. The community needs information, and the alumni and friends of Istrouma High School need answers.
Dorothy M. Brandon
Istrouma High School Class of 1988