The Lafayette Parish School board meeting was no way short on teachers in attendance. Staff from Acadian Middle School came to hear their principal Linda Nance talk about the changes she's wanting to make. "We don't have a whole lot of time. If you looked at our test scores, we're on the brink of death when it comes to the state," says Nance.
Nance says two weeks after her January start date; she noticed a few problems. Some teachers weren't properly teaching and some were just not showing up. "With my experience it really doesn't take long to go in and figure out where some of the problems are."
Nance says as part of the reconstitution she wants to remove ineffective teachers and have them go elsewhere. Not that they're not good teachers - but just not fit for Acadian Middle. "We do have some teachers here that do not know how to work with students from poverty and as a result are ineffective."
The board approved reconstitution would allow Nance to cut staff; but keep at least 25% of the faculty currently on board. She also wants to implement a teaming program with newly hired teachers working with the same group of students on a daily basis. "My question is can you afford not to do it."
Dr. Cooper realizes that the cost is a problem – in terms of budgeting. Until the board learns about what it can and cannot afford for Acadian Middle; the superintendent asked for them to assume it can happen. "The only person who really knows is that lady standing over there. She's the principal. She's been there," says Cooper.
The assistant superintendent says it can cost from half a million to 300-thousand dollars to implement and hire staff for a teaming program.
The reconstitution proposal is scheduled to return to the board for approval in two weeks.
Acadian Middle Reconstitution
Over the last four years Acadian Middle School's performance score has consistently dropped. And now the school's principal is asking district officials for permission to revamp the faculty and staff and implement new techniques to help raise academic scores.
Recently Acadian Middle received a D from the Louisiana Department of Education. Linda Nance, the school's principal, outlined several problems at the school to present to the Lafayette Parish School Board Wednesday. Nance says of the 600 students 113 are over-age.
She also points out that more than 2300 students have unexcused absences and faculty members have a total of 274 absences. Nance also said the school has handled more than 1400 discipline referrals. Superintendent Pat Cooper said no decision has been made to revamp the school and officials are still looking for the best way to approach the issues at Acadian Middle.