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Four new magnet programs added to EBR Schools

The East Baton Rouge Parish School System is adding four new magnet programs, thanks to a $15 million grant from the Magnet Schools Assistance Programs. McKinley Elementary, Broadmoor Elementary, BR (School of the Arts) Conservatory and McKinley High are the four district schools selected for transformative magnet program development.

“We are thrilled for yet another opportunity to implement innovative programs,” said interim Superintendent Adam Smith. “Executive Director Theresa Porter and her team have an excellent track record for implementing innovative programs, and this grant is instrumental for the district to add to the menu of school choices for our students.”

Each school will feature a visual and performing arts theme emphasizing broadcast journalism. In addition, the program at McKinley High will feature a Teaching Training Center.

There are no academic requirements for these programs. The district will begin accepting applications for McKinley Elementary, Broadmoor Elementary and McKinley High programs on Monday, May 27. Applications for the BR Conservatory will be available during the first application period in the fall.

EBRPSS Summer Meals Program to offer free breakfast and lunch

The East Baton Rouge Parish School System, the Office of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, and OneRouge CAFÉ are partnering in a free summer meals program and an interactive online map with locations of numerous feeding sites in the community.

Families can find convenient locations on the EBRPSS Summer Feeding Sites interactive map. The 2024 EBRPSS Summer Meals Program will provide free breakfast and lunch to children ages 18 years and younger from May 28 to Aug. 2.

“We are excited to share with our community our dedication to ensuring that all children are provided fresh, delicious, and nutritious meals all year, including during the summer when children are more likely to go hungry,” said Dr. Nichola Hall, chief human resources officer of the EBRPSS Child Nutrition Program.

“Summer should be a time of enjoyment, not spent worrying about where the next meal will come from,” Broome said. “The EBRPSS Summer Feeding Program reflects a collective commitment to the well-being of Baton Rouge students, providing them with access to nourishing meals essential for their growth and development. This program helps ensure that no child in our community faces hunger during the summer months.”

Families can access free meals for their children in several ways this summer: EBRPSS Summer Meals: No application is required, and drop-ins are encouraged! Meals are provided on-site Monday through Thursday, excluding Monday, June 17, and Thursday, July 4.

Families can find a convenient location at EBRPSS Summer Feeding Sites.  Rural Site Brunch Kits: Families must preregister (link here). On Mondays and Thursdays, three- and four-day brunch kits can be picked up at Northeast Elementary School in Pride. Meals on the Geaux: This “Meals on the Geaux” service is offered at select housing authorities and libraries throughout Baton Rouge. Meals must be consumed onsite. No application is required. Check the EBRPSS Summer Feeding Meals on the Geaux list for specific dates and times. SUN Bucks, also known as Summer EBT: This SNAP program provides school-aged children additional benefits to purchase healthy food.

For more information, visit the Department of Children & Family Services at https://www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/page/1239/.

Families are encouraged to participate in the EBRPSS Summer Feeding Programs and use SUN Bucks to help ensure children have access to healthy and nutritious meals during the summer.

The EBRPSS Summer Feeding Program is supported by partners like OneRouge and its Capital Area Food Equity (CAFÉ) Coalition, along with the city of Baton Rouge. These partners help increase awareness of the program and ensure that families are informed about the resources available, including locations and operating hours of summer feeding sites.

#EBRSchools #WeAreEBR #FeedaChildFeedtheFuture

Westdale’s Madilyn Whitmore selected Louisiana Middle School Student of Year

Westdale Middle School’s Madilyn Nichole Whitmore is the Louisiana Middle School Student of the Year winner! This bilingual excels academically and as a leader in her school student government association, soccer, track, and STEM competition team. Three years ago, concerned for the health of her Goldendoodle pet, this young entrepreneur created a successful dog treat business. Whitmore wants to pursue a career as a biochemist or biomedical engineer after completing studies at either Harvard University, Spelman College, Stanford University or Howard University. “It is the progress, not the perfection,” she said.

– Louisiana Department of Education @la_believes #ebrschools #readingisfun #WeAreEBR

Melrose Elementary student awarded, garners national attention for generosity

A dollar bill has gone a long way and garnered national recognition for one EBR Schools student. Kelvin Ellis was recently featured on the “CBS Evening News” segment “On the Road.” Nine-year-old Kelvin was rewarded after generously giving his only dollar — part of the money he had earned for good grades — to a man he thought was homeless. Congratulations, Kelvin, for your kind and inspiring example.

Click Here to Check Out the Video on CBS News!

Westdale Middle School magnet program, teacher honored 

The Westdale Middle World Language Immersion Magnet program was recognized as the Top Merit Magnet Program of Excellence by Magnet Schools of America, the national association for magnet and theme-based schools. 

Westdale Middle World Language Immersion Magnet is a middle school program serving sixth to eighth grades in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.

 With a magnet component of World Language Immersion, students are able to study all academic classes in one of three languages: French, Mandarin or Spanish. 

Westdale Middle is also proud to announce Cristina Manzanares Mariscal as the National Magnet Teacher of the Year. In addition to these distinguishments, Mandarin Immersion students of Westdale Middle made history as the first students to present at the National Conference on Magnet Schools. 

Presentation of Top Merit Magnet Program of Excellence Award: 

Westdale was recognized and received the Top Merit Magnet Program of Excellence Award on behalf of the school during an awards ceremony held at the National Conference on Magnet Schools on April 16-19 in New York City. 

To receive a national merit award, members of Magnet Schools of America must submit a detailed application that is scored by a trained panel of readers. These schools are reviewed and awarded points on their demonstrated ability to raise student academic achievement; promote racial and socioeconomic diversity; provide integrated curricula and instruction; and create strong family and community partnerships that enhance the school’s magnet theme. 

To learn more about MSA and the national merit awards program, visit www.magnet.edu. 

28 honored for their role in helping desegregate EBR Schools in 1963-64

Desegregating the East Baton Rouge Parish School System during the 1963-64 school year took courage and sacrifice on the part of 28 Black students and their families.

Sixty years later, those resilient high school students were proudly recognized during Thursday’s School Board meeting for their role in paving the way for a more equitable and just educational system in Baton Rouge.

Nine years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal,” Baton Rouge finally began to integrate four white schools: Baton Rouge High, Glen Oaks, Istrouma and Lee/Liberty.

“We truly appreciate your effort to preserve the history of the desegregation of East Baton Rouge Parish Schools,” said Freya Anderson Rivers, one of 10 students who attended the board meeting. “Sixty years ago, 28 African American students put their lives on the line while sacrificing their senior year of high school, leaving their beloved schools, friends, teachers, clubs, senior trips, proms and all activities of senior fun to stand up for their beliefs, injustice and equality.”

Rivers said students had to fight the injustice of schools being built on a city dump, using discarded books from white schools, unequal pay for Black teachers and much more.

“We endured isolation, name-calling, spitballs, food throwing, pushing, shoving and even fighting,” she said. “Even out of school, we suffered through denigrating, vitriolic phone calls and cross burnings … We fought to change Baton Rouge and destroy Jim Crow. This history, along with much more, must become required readings for our students.”

School Board Vice President Patrick Martin led the recognition for the students, saying they have “proven to be among the best Baton Rouge has ever produced.”

“The courage and leadership they displayed in 1963 and throughout their high school career and the education they were provided by the Baton Rouge School System has led them to successful careers and lives. By my brief research, several have earned Ph.D.s and other advanced degrees,” Martin said. “They are successful dentists, pharmacists, educators, authors, civic leaders and parents.”

The 28 students honored for leading the desegregation efforts:

Baton Rouge High — Betta Bowman, Elaine Boyle Patin, Charles R. Burchell, Elaine Chustz Green, Doretha Davis, Marion Greenup, Irma Harrison Coleman, Velma Jean Hunter Jackson, Betty Jemison Wagner, Sharon LeDuff West, Aurelius Martinez, Clara Patin Deculus, Patricia Wells Witson and Gail Vavasseur Jones.

Glen Oaks High — Grace Henley Birt, Yolanda Laws, Merrill Patin, Winnie Posey Womack, Paula Waller Barino and Carmen Williams-Dwyer.

Istrouma High — Rosia Bowie, Freddie E. Eagles, Gloria Holloway and Rita Guidroz.

Lee High/Liberty High – Freya Anderson Rivers, Murphy Bell, Louis Morgan and Melvin Patrick.