The ABCs of SCPPS
A: ACADEMICS, ATHLETICS, & THE ARTS
DESTREHAN NATIONAL MERIT SEMIFINALISTS: The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced four Destrehan High School Students – Sean Baltazar, Jonathan Dempsey, Brandon Randle, and Ava Rockefeller – as semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. More than 1.3 million juniors entered the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.
HAHNVILLE THEATRE ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA: As the Louisiana winner of The United States of Frozen Contest, Hahnville High School was granted exclusive rights to present Disney’s Frozen: The Broadway Musical. With the 10th anniversary of the musical approaching, Good Morning America will air a segment featuring the competition and Hahnville’s production on November 27, 2023. Contest applicants had to demonstrate how their production strengthens the school community, provides outreach to underserved groups, and supports inclusive and diverse theatre programs. Frozen played at Hahnville High School from October 26 through October 29, 2023.
B: THE BULLETIN BOARD
MILLAGES REDUCED: Property taxes paid by property owners in St. Charles Parish provide the single largest source of funding for St. Charles Parish Public Schools. For the third year in a row, the St. Charles Parish School Board voted to reduce its property tax millage rate, saving parish taxpayers more than $7 million per year in taxes. This year’s reduction of 2.5 mills is the largest single-year reduction of the millage rate approved by the school board in the past 20 years.
Because of the parish’s expanding property tax base, the school board has been able to assess less than the maximum millage rates allowed by law. “As stewards of public funds, the St. Charles Parish School Board is held accountable by our taxpayers to be fiscally responsible,” commented School Board President Art Aucoin. “With property values having increased and expected to continue to do so, the board determined it was possible to reduce the mills levied while still meeting the needs of the school system.”
FINANCIAL REPORTING AWARD: The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the St. Charles Parish School Board for its annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
C: CONFERENCE WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT
As superintendent, the wellbeing of our students, staff, and community is my foremost concern. We recently surveyed stakeholders regarding current and potential future safety measures for school events and are implementing additional measures based upon feedback from the survey and various stakeholder groups.
- Children in Grades PK-8 must be accompanied by an adult.
- High school students must present their school ID if using a student ticket.
- Metal detectors and/or handheld security wands may be utilized.
- A stricter bag protocol will now apply to all events, and all bags are subject to search.
I believe implementing these safety measures is crucial for several reasons:
- Protecting Our Students: By implementing safety enhancements, we take proactive steps to minimize risks and provide a secure environment where our children can learn and thrive.
- Responding to Changing Threats: In today’s world, the nature of security threats has evolved. While we hope never to encounter dangerous situations, we must be prepared for various scenarios.
- Setting an Example: By prioritizing safety at school events, we are setting an example for our students. We are teaching them the importance of preparedness, responsibility, and the value of guarding the safety and wellbeing of those in a communal setting.
These newly-implemented safety enhancements for school events are not merely a response to potential risks but serve as a proactive effort in protecting and educating our students while providing peace of mind for our community. We are dedicated to fostering a safe and inclusive environment where every student can thrive academically and personally.
D: DEVELOPMENTS & DIRECTION
DIGITAL WELLNESS: SCPPS is launching a Digital Wellness Campaign to lead students, teachers, and families in the safe and productive use of technology. The campaign will consist of a three-pronged approach to deliver engaging content to students, families, and teachers focused on a different theme each month. A video introducing each theme will be shared during the first week of the month with following weeks providing additional information related to the theme, tips for safe technology use, and graphics to engage the intended audiences.
TACKLING NATIONAL TEACHER SHORTAGE: Although the nation is facing a shortage of teachers, St. Charles Parish Public Schools remains staffed with quality educators because of its proactive and intentional efforts. SCPPS has implemented a multi-faceted approach to retain current and recruit new employees by offering additional benefits and creating a positive, supportive, and thriving work culture.
Compensation: With a teacher salary range of $58,284 - $80,375, SCPPS is one of the top school systems in Louisiana for teacher pay. Additionally, employees receive one-time retention payments for remaining with the district..
Benefits: SCPPS employees have access to a health benefits package with options for vision, dental, cancer, catastrophic, and pet insurances. Employees may also take advantage of Access Perks, a program offering local and national discounts for travel, entertainment, shopping, wellness, and more. And, new this year, the school system is piloting SmartDollar, a financial wellness program providing coaching and resources to take control of finances, eliminate debt, and build wealth.
Work-Life Balance: SCPPS recognizes the effect of a healthy work-life balance on employee retention and is currently researching and evaluating programs - such as 40 Hour Teacher Workweek - aimed to prevent teacher burnout and attrition by streamlining work. Additionally, the school system encourages self-care and wellness initiatives such as mindfulness programs, fitness facilities, and mental health support.