BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– Parents and teachers are sounding off on East Baton Rouge’s Superintendent Dr. Narcisse’s plan to address a COVID-19 learning gap for the next school year.
EBR Superintendent Narcisse announced plans for his initiative called ‘Smart Start.’ This plan would have student backs in the classrooms in July instead of August.
EBR’s Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse says, “A part of our work on improving literacy work and engaging students in our community is to get them to come to school early.”
This news took many teachers off guard.
EBR Teacher Kirk Green says, “We learned about it when the press conference dropped, and we started texting our friends that were teachers. The message started getting around, starting in my 4th hour class, and I’m like something’s going on.”
He expressed that they have felt voiceless throughout this process.
“What teachers did he talk to? We’ve had one meeting with the teacher’s advisory committee and it didn’t come up then, and the principals didn’t know until 10:15, right before the press conference,” says, Green.
EBR parent Hannah Birchman says, “And if you look at what has been asked of them in this last year, they did it and they keep doing it and they will continue to show up. We need to do right by our teachers and this is not that.”
This plan also caused concerns over testing this semester.
Green says, “They are expecting us to take weeks out to test. If they wanted to catch up right now we wouldn’t be testing. We would be teaching, not testing.”
Birchman says, “A teacher could have her entire class opt-out and she would not be allowed to continue instruction. That’s a flaw in our system.”
There are mixed feelings about the ‘Smart Start’ plan.
EBR Parent Beth Cox says, “I think that them being there early, gets their feet wet, gets them accustomed to the teachers, the administration and the flow before the educational process begins.”
“Unfortunately, our superintendent and most of our board lacks educational experience to understand what goes on in a classroom,” says Birchman.
“I don’t have a problem with coming back, but I want to know how we are going to do, how we are going to service the community we service, because I have ESS, ESL, 504 and I have traditional kids,” says Green.
The school board plans to vote the proposed calendar amendments at their next meeting on April 22nd at the Professional Development Center.