In Lafayette Parish, students and teachers are on a break, thanks to the school system's new turnaround plan. The plan calls for 9 weeks of instruction, with a break in-between sessions. Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper said the break is much needed, especially for teachers during a tough year.
"I think it's going to help morale, especially with how the teachers will come back to school. They will be better prepared to teach and students will be excited to learn again."
Not all school will be closed for this week. Cooper said the faculty can choose what they want to do with the break. Schools like Paul Breaux Middle are offering grade recovery for students during the break. Scott Middle and David Thibodaux are offering technology training to teachers, and faculty at Carencro Middle will shadow other educators at a school in Lake Charles.
The turnaround plan calls for more site based management. Director of Academics Phyliss Landry said while the decision was up to the principals, she offered her support to schools to use their time wisely.
"(We) encouraged the administration and staff to come together and decide what was best needed by their schools."
Landry said the majority of schools were offering staff based programs and development focused on curriculum. She also mentioned that is was a 50/50 split on schools that are offering programs and those that are not.
Funding was an issue for some schools. While some teachers are volunteering their time, some officials at schools mentioned that they did not wish to ask teachers to work for free on their days off. Cooper said since the turnaround plan leaves the decision in the faculty's hands, it also leaves funding any programs up to the schools
"They knew if they had money in their budget they would do it, and they knew it they didn't have money in their budget, they wouldn't do it, " said Cooper. "As far as the district level and the school system, it was a fund-neutral plan."
Landry said they were working to acquire funds for future breaks, to help school pay their staff, and fund more program