• LAE applauds COLA increase for public school system retirees: Leaders of the LFT and the LAE applaud the Louisiana Legislature for granting a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to current retirees of the Louisiana public school system. “We commend the Louisiana Senate and House of Representatives for unanimously approving this modest increase that will have a major impact on the financial stability of our state’s retired public servants,” said LAE President Debbie Meaux. “A special thanks goes out to Governor Edwards for signing the bill into law.”

    Colleagues vote to bestow honoron professor: Northwestern State University honored Dr. Bill Dickens, who is retiring after a 49-year career as an educator, scholar, researcher and coach, by naming him Professor Emeritus of the NSU’s Department of Health and Human Performance. Dickens’ colleagues voted unanimously to bestow upon him the title in thanks for contributions to the department, to the university and to the profession at large.

    Former St. Mary’s football and basketball player:  

    Former St. Mary’s football and basketball player Victor Bayonne and former Lakeview basketball, softball, cheerleader and track star Mayshonna Winslow will get married June. 11. The two met at a basketball game in 2009 when Winslow was a freshman at Lakeview. “I remember this guy (Bayonne) and his friend say something to me as I passed by,” said Winslow. “At first I didn’t think much of it and just laughed. Then I realized he was interested so I passed my number to him through a friend and here we are today.” Bayonne had a different version of the story. He made light of the rivalry between Lakeview and St. Mary’s and that she was just not wanting to give the ‘St.Mary’s guy’ a chance. “I knew she would cave in eventually,” Bayonne joked. “But all seriousness we’re both looking forward to this and couldn’t be happier.”

    Study: Teachers finding better ways to teach writing: NATCHITOCHES –  Educators who coordinated a partnership with the National Writing Project at Northwestern State University and schools in Grant, Red River, Avoyelles and Jackson parishes released findings last week that indicated significant improvement in preparing students for writing at the college level. The two-year study targeted districts that were rural with high poverty rates that struggled with test scores, particularly in English and language arts. Key findings indicate a positive impact in all four areas of student argument writing:  content, structure, stance and conventions in grades 7-10 and that teachers benefit from professional development and support from supervisors and administrators.   Lisa Davis, director of the NSU Writing Project, shared findings during an informational for district administrators that included round table discussions and information about resources. Davis said the National Writing Project’s core principles are to help teachers understand the full spectrum of writing development across grades and across subject areas.  She and school liaisons Leeanne Bordelon and Dr. Martha Young led workshops for teachers at their districts to share best practices and promote collaboration for teaching writing.  “Teacher-led professional development is effective and improved teacher instruction,” Davis said. The results are that teachers grow in skills and teaching abilities and students write more and with better success.  “It’s the best thing we ever did,” said Melanie Lavespere, an administrator in Grant Parish.  “Our teachers are learning better ways to teach writing, not just assigning writing projects.”  The National Writing Project study was the largest and most rigorous of its kind and included college-ready writers programs in 10 states with 400 teachers and 25,000 students.  Davis said the results were quantitatively significant. SRI International, a non-profit research institute, collected and reported the findings.  “Certain practices are effective and there is no single approach” in teaching writing, she said. Results improved when teachers collaborated to share strategies that were useful, practical and relevant, that connected to the curriculum and to state standards. “The participating schools had leadership that was courageous to try these innovative practices. The teachers see the value of the work.”

    Desire to be teacher helps student overcome difficulties of disease and win scholarship:

     McKenzi Gordano of Bossier City is an inspiring example of an individual overcoming adversity to realize their dreams. Gordano has spent her college career battling multiple sclerosis while pushing herself to achieve her goal of becoming a teacher. For her dedication she has been awarded the Dill Family Perseverance Award in Education, annually presented to a student pursuing a degree through Northwestern State University’s Gallaspy Family College of Education and Human Development. “My advice for anyone out there with a disability such as mine is know that your ability is stronger than your disability,” Gordano said.

    NATCHITOCHES SUMMER DAY CAMP BEGINS JUNE 6

    Openings Still Available for Children Age 6 - 13

    NATCHITOCHES – The City of Natchitoches Recreation and Parks Program’s Natchitoches Summer Day Camp for youth ages 6 to 13 beginning Monday, June 6, 2016.  This year there will be two program locations for Natchitoches Summer Day Camp – Abbie Drive and East Natchitoches (split between Weaver Elementary and East Natchitoches Elementary Middle School).  Natchitoches Summer Camp will have four 2-week themed sessions in June and July.  Spots are still available for all sessions. Natchitoches Summer Day Camp will offer various activities including arts and crafts, sports, life skills, academics, swimming and field trips.  Breakfast and lunch will be served. Camp will operate Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The sessions are as follows:

    June 6 – 17: Faces and Places (Abbie Drive and Weaver Elementary) June 20 – July 1: Cultural Connections (Abbie Drive and Weaver Elementary) July 5 – July 15:  Go Green (Abbie Drive and East Natchitoches Elementary Middle School) July 18 – July 29: Wacky and Wonderful (Abbie Drive and East Natchitoches Elementary Middle School)

    Registration for Natchitoches Summer Day Camp is $30 per session, per child and $25 for each additional sibling.  Fees are due one week prior to the enrolled session in order to hold the space. Registration is first come first serve.  Natchitoches Summer Day Camp is funded by grants from International Paper. Registration for the Summer Day Camp can be completed at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreational Community Center located at 660 MLK Drive in Natchitoches or by emailing Dallas Russell at drussell@natchitochesla.gov.  For questions and more information, please call Dallas Russell at (318) 238-7508.

    NSU to host six sessions of Freshman Connection: Northwestern State University will hold six sessions of its freshman orientation program, Freshman Connection beginning May 27. Four sessions will be on the Natchitoches campus on May 26-27, June 2-3, June 23-24 and July 12. The program will be held on the Shreveport campus June 7 and on the Leesville/Fort Polk campus June 28. The fee is $100 for the sessions on the Natchitoches campus and $50 for the sessions on the Shreveport and Leesville/Fort Polk campuses. Those attending the sessions on the Shreveport and Leesville/Fort Polk campuses should be planning to take all classes on that campus. The two day sessions on the Natchitoches campus include a one-night stay in campus residence halls.

    NPSO’s Arrest report for Monday May 16 – Wednesday May 18, 2016. Arrested were:

    1. Jeriod Abels – 31 (WM) – 1916 Hwy 6 Lot 19, Natchitoches, La  - Simple Battery

    2. Karen M Abels – 52 (WF) – 1330 Johnson Circle, Montgomery, La  71454 – Simple Battery

    3. Kasey R Hailey – 36 (WM) – 705 Townsend Ballard Rd., Marthaville, La  71450 – Bank Fraud, Illegal Transmission of Monetary Funds

    4. Jefferey Grimes – 41 (WM) – 757 Robeline Provencal Rd. Lot #13, Robeline, La  71469 – Issuing Worthless Checks

    5. Joshua M Bearden – 26 (WM) – 301 Tenaha St., Center, TX  75935 – Theft

    6. Derrick J Lloyd – 27 (BM) – 118 Coleman St., Campti, La  71411 – Illegal Poss. Of Stolen Things

    7. William D Roberts – 65 (WM) – 482 Hwy 3191, Natchitoches, La  - Domestic Abuse Battery

    8. Tammy S Sullivan – 56 (WF) - 482 Hwy 3191, Natchitoches, La  - Domestic Abuse Battery

    9. McKell Epperson – 23 (WF) – 1525 Edna Ave., Natchitoches, La  - Simple Battery

    10. Heather M Dubois – 27 (WF) – 2351 Hwy 486, Campti, La  71411 – Simple Battery

    11. Cynthia D Orsborn – 22 (WF) – 164 Lee St., Provencal, La  71468 – Poss. Of Drug Paraphernalia