Louisiana School Boards Association hosts pioneering event
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – The Louisiana Association of School Boards hosted their fall Trailblazer event Monday in Lake Charles. The event seeks to bring together school board members from across the state to learn about current education issues and learn about best practices in the education sector.
The theme of this year’s workshop was “Back to Basics”. It was inspired by the unprecedented last year and challenged educators to get back to basics even when challenges are presented.
“With so many things considered special circumstances, the pandemic, hurricanes and recent weather events, we decided this year’s theme, ‘Back to Basics’, was very appropriate,” said Robin Cosenza, project manager for LSBA.
Topics for Monday’s event included managing school board policies, having an effective board meeting, and identifying necessary pathways for school board members to be successful.
“Focused on recharging, reconnecting and redirecting in all of our efforts,” Cosenza said. “Some of these things that we do on a daily basis seem to fall apart because special circumstances demanded a lot of attention from us.”
LSBA leaders issued a press release on the workshop.
“We chose this theme because the special circumstances of 2020 and this year demanded so much attention that some of the most basic school board processes need to be revisited and perhaps adapted. ” noted Executive Director Dr. Janet Pope said. “It’s a way to reload and reorient our work plan as we move forward this year.
“It’s hard not to find yourself in rehearsal mode when faced with these same circumstances, so we wanted to provide a positive framework for our school board members to use during the 2021-2022 school year. ” said President Patricia Russo.
Officials from the Calcaseiu Parish School Board spoke at the workshop and shared the difficult challenges they overcame with the pandemic and storms, and how they re-engaged the community after schools were closed due to COVID-19 and hurricanes.
CPSB Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus and Public Information Officer Holly Holland shared the lessons they learned over the past year with other Louisiana school districts.
“We were able to share the journey we have taken in terms of communication, district, staff, all the different aspects of what these different challenges have given us. Holland said.
Holland said she was happy they were able to share their story at today’s meeting and help other educators in Louisiana. She said right after Hurricane Ida passed, she was on Zoom calls and spoke with other state information officers about what she and Bruchhaus did after the hurricanes Laura and Delta.
She said that while their plans may not have been perfect, she was able to share a perspective as well as a plan for other districts to follow.
“It’s not something I wish on anyone, but I’m certainly very happy that we were able to help them through this difficult time as we have certainly followed in their footsteps.” Holland said.
Overall, some helpful tips she presented were to communicate as much as possible with people in the community as these damaged communities struggle to rebuild themselves.
“I think the most important thing is just to share that you care and are with your people, and that’s our message for the last 18 months since March 2020 with COVID, and that’s the message we encourage others to share. Holland said.
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