Last week, Superintendent Sito Narcisse announced that – after conversations with board leadership – he would step aside. 

This comes as no surprise following a 4-5 vote in December to renew his contract, which ends in June.  And, this is a story we know well given that EBR has had four superintendents in six years. It also came as no surprise because Dr. Narcisse is a student-focused leader who, in order to drive rapid student improvement, often upset the proverbial apple cart.

During his brief tenure, the EBR school system saw significant gains in student achievement:

·       Initiated the first true Strategic Plan for EBRPS in 20+ years done in close collaboration with the Board, the Public and with District Staff.

·       Expanded Early Childhood Education by 1000 seats from the ages O to 4 years old, increasing availability of high-quality early education to families in need through innovative and diverse delivery models

·       Increased the promotion rate of first-time ninth grade students by 4% from school year 2020-2021 to school year 2021-2022.  The on-track for graduation percentage rose from 68% to 87%.

·       13 Equity or Opportunity award honorees (top 10% for performance among

students with disabilities, English Language Leaners, or Economically Disadvantaged students – with no intervention required status)

·       63% of district schools earned an ‘A’ or ‘B’ in Progress; 90% of district schools earned an ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ in Progress.

·       Mastery on LEAP assessments in elementary and middle schools with 85% or higher students classified as Economically Disadvantaged increased by an average of 3.66 points as compared to the state average of 3.2 points in the same metric.

·       Greatly expanded opportunities for all high schoolers to take advance courses for college credit (AP and dual-enrollment) and industry based certifications from about 20% to 80%, again leading the nation.

·       Working with BRAC, initiated a district-wide senior internship program with one of the largest participations in the nation and will grow significantly this year.

We thank Dr. Narcisse for taking on the tremendous job of coming to Baton Rouge and making a difference. He demonstrated that Baton Rouge students are as smart and talented as any other and that, when presented with opportunity, they will rise to the challenge. We are grateful. During the last two years seeds were planted and, if allowed to grow, will benefit EBR for this and future generations.

We congratulate Mr. Smith on his interim appointment and look forward to working with him on issues that move the needle for students. We hope that politics won’t interfere with the ability to provide quality education for every student in this district. We wish him luck.