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    EBRP Schools’ Michelle Clayton moves to online K-12 charter

    University View Academy Superintendent Lonnie Luce announced the appointment of Michelle Clayton, former deputy superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish School System, as the new associate superintendent of innovation and interim K-8 principal for the online K-12 charter school.

    Clayton graduated of LSU and earned a Ph.D. from Southern University and A&M College. The former teacher also served as executive director of academics for the Zachary Community School District.

    Luce said Clayton is now part of his dream team of educators to lead University View Academy into being a K-12 charter school in which every student in every parish of the state has the opportunity to gain a quality public education from day one to graduation, and earn two years towards a college degree by graduation time if they so desire.

    She will direct implementation of the school’s new curriculum as K-8 Principal and assist the Superintendent with comprehensive data analysis and planning so that the staff and students unite to achieve greater academic performance in all subjects.

    Mandy LaCrete

    Mandy LaCrete

    Recently, the school added Mandy LaCerte from Baton Rouge Community College as its director of early college and workforce development to manage the school’s growing two-year associate’s degree program. LaCrete was also a founding board member of Apex Collegiate Academy in North Baton Rouge. Shana Corers was named interim high school principal.University View Academy starts the 2017-2018 school year as an independently managed statewide charter school, after being affiliated with Connections Education of Baltimore for six years.

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    C.H.E.F. Youth Cooking Camp starts July 24

    The Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus, in collaboration with the LSU AgCenter, will sponsor its “Creating Healthy Enjoyable Foods” (C.H.E.F.) youth cooking camp for youth ages 9-11 on July 10-14 and for ages 12-15 on July 24-28.

    The C.H.E.F. cooking camp is designed to teach youth basic cooking principles and nutrition education based on the USDA’s, “MyPlate” food guidance system and Dietary Guidelines.CHEF CAMP REGISTRATION FORM

    Each day, participants will work together to create an entire meal while learning healthy eating and physical activity principles, food preparation, kitchen and food safety, common cooking terms, proper food handling, measuring techniques, critical thinking and team building skills, planning and time management.

    Both sessions will be held on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus in Pinkie E. Thrift Hall from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Only 12-16 participants will be accepted for each session. Participants are required to bring a bag lunch and healthy snack each day.

    Registration for the camp is $25 and must be accompanied with a completed registration form and mailed to: C.H.E.F., Nutrition Education Program, Southern University Ag Center, P. O. Box 10010, Baton Rouge, LA 70813. Payment must be made in the form of a money order payable to the Southern University Ag Center.
    The deadline to apply for both camp sessions is Friday, June 30th.

    To enroll or for additional information, contact Kiyana Kelly or Marquetta Anderson at 225.389.3055 or via e-mail at, kiyana_kelly@suagcenter.com or marquetta_anderson@suagcenter.com

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    College offers high school diploma for free

    VIRGINIA COLLEGE ANNOUNCES HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA PROGRAM IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PENN FOSTER TO OFFER COMMUNITY MEMBERS ACCESS TO POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION 

    Virginia College in Baton Rogue has established a  High School Diploma Program  where students can earn an accredited high school diploma at one of 11 Virgina College campuses across the country in as little as 12 weeks and at no cost. Since the program began in January 2017, the Baton Rouge campus has enrolled 20 students, with four already completing the program and graduating with their diplomas – three of those graduates went on to enroll at Virginia College.

    The program is designed for students who have previously faced challenges completing their high school diploma or GED but who are interested in earning a high school diploma as a step toward a new career or further vocational training. Transfer credits will be awarded for comparable high school subjects where a full credit has been earned. Penn Foster also accepts transfer credits from a GED.

    “We are proud to partner with Penn Foster to offer this program at our campus,” says Campus President Bill Wells. “Through the High School Diploma Program, we are uniquely able to equip and empower students, regardless of their situation, to prioritize their education and take the necessary steps toward becoming the leaders, employees and business owners of tomorrow.”

    Students enrolled in the High School Diploma Program work directly with an experienced instructor every step of the way. The program requires students to dedicate a minimum of 12 hours each week to on-campus classwork, and allows for any additional to be completed remotely. These flexible class times and schedules allow many students to still maintain a job while earning their diplomas, accommodating a variety of situations and lifestyles.

    Upon completing the High School Diploma Program and earning a high school diploma, students are given an opportunity to enroll at Virginia College to begin vocational training and work toward a certificate, diploma or degree through any of its various programs.

    ONLINE: www.vc.edu/locations/batonrouge/ or call (225) 236-3900. For more information about the High School Diploma Program, .

     

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    Summer reading program kicks off in Tangipahoa

    Tangi Library will kick-off its summer reading program following the theme of building and construction using the slogan, “Build a Better World.” Through the program, the library aims to combat summer learning loss by offering dynamic, entertaining and educational programs for children, teens, and adults.

    The program is open to all ages, separated into age categories from birth to 7 years old, 7-12 years old, 12-18 years old, and adults. Everyone that signs up for the program will have a chance to win prizes based on the number of minutes read throughout the summer. The process includes reading yourself or reading to your child, going online and logging minutes, then receiving prizes every time a new benchmark has been reached.

    Along with all of these great prizes, the library will also host entertaining guests to come in and perform. “For our summer kick-off parties, we will have “Lady Chops,” percussionist Elizabeth Vidos sure to bring music to your ears at all of our library locations. Lady Chops is a former STOMP percussionist that provides a quality show with information about different instruments , techniques of playing music, and little bit of a background about her life as a performer. All library locations will have new guests every week in June and July including a petting zoo, a trained dance troupe, stage productions of Beauty and the Beast and Pinocchio, a balloon artist extraordinaire, a magician, and more,” said Laura Brooks Thomas, M.A., community relations coordinator, Tangipahoa Parish Library.

    All of these performances are free and open to the public.

    thumbnail_SRP - Photo ChallengeTo get everyone really engaged in the Summer Reading Program, Tangi library invites the public to participate in our social media challenge. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and share photos every day for the month of June that fit into the theme, BUILD A BETTER WORLD! With the key below, check and see what the theme of the day is and capture a picture that illustrates the theme. Remember, when doing the challenge, be sure to tag the library and use the hashtag #TangiReadTeam and share all of the amazing things going on at your local library. Join us in building a better world through reading at Tangi Library!

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    Southern’s college government to offer additional international studies in policy, finance and business

    Southern University’s newly formed Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences will introduce a new curriculum, programs and international opportunities this summer. Previously known as the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, the school was upgraded at the beginning of 2017, and it is the only college of government in the state.

    “Our goal is to become more expansive and create additional opportunities for our student body and faculty,” said Damien Ejigiri, PhD, dean of the Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences. “The curriculum now extends beyond foreign government relationships and presents recruitment and academic connections with African countries.”

    In addition to international opportunities, the new curriculum will have a stronger emphasis on government issues and relationships within the state and southern region. The college has also formed a partnership with the Southern University College of Business to introduce a new Ph.D. program with a concentration in finance and business. Students from the College of Business will be able to earn dual degrees from the Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences.

    Mninwa J. Mahlangu

    Mninwa J. Mahlangu

    Ejigiri has established a relationship with the South African Ambassador to the United States, Mninwa J. Mahlangu, who has openly declared the forging of a connection between the College and South African government. The South African diplomat rededicated the college on behalf of the late Nelson Mandela on the campus of Southern University in May. After the ceremony, Mahlangu and Ejigiri discussed leading efforts to establish exchange programs and training opportunities within multiple South African universities. The relationship will also connect the college to South African companies to establish recruitment efforts for graduates. Furthermore, faculty will be encouraged to visit the country to discuss best practices and further develop valuable connections.

    “The mission of the College is to attract and educate men and women from across the globe who will matriculate with the spirit of service, superb competence and employability skills needed in the market, and who further will acquire the uncompromising spirit to fight for justice and equality,” said Jocelyn Freeman, Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences professor.

    ONLINE: www.subr.edu.

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    Young Investors plan for future financial growth with local bank

    Fourth grade students at Glen Oaks Park Elementary School and their parents will soon learn the value of using even small savings to invest in tomorrow’s goals. These 66 Baton Rouge students are the in the inaugural class of Young Investors Children Savings Account Pilot Project class of LABEST.

    “As I crossed the threshold, I overheard a suited man talking to some students clad in their collared uniform shirts and holding brightly colored plastic piggy banks. He said, ‘Feed the pig and we’ll put interest on that…free money! Now, that’s what I’m talking about!’,” said Carmen Green, a policy fellow with the Louisiana Budget Project.

    The Children Savings Account is an initiative of The Middleburg Institute in collaboration with LABEST, a statewide coalition of organizations seeking to influence public polices and improve the lives of low wealth communities over a lifetime. TMI established the Young Investors elementary school savings project with support and research provided by Howard University Center on Race & Wealth, Washington University in St Louis, CFED and the Ford Foundation Building Economic Security over a Lifetime Initiative (BESOL). The Project teaches students the importance of savings and how to develop habits of making money, saving money, and spending wisely.

    Young Investors will raise money to deposit into the accounts. In addition to the personal deposits that students and their parents can make, the Young Investors will try their hand at entrepreneurship. They will engage in monthly fundraising activities for regular deposits so they can witness their accounts grow.

    The Young Investor’s program is partnering with Rhonda Jefferson and Lorraine Oubre, owners of Grandma Tootsie’s Creole Pralines. They plan to make and assist in selling pralines to raise money. In house, Young Investors may be “hired” as tellers in the school bank, and oversee daily accounting.

    The program features financial literacy coaches, professionals, and advisors including those from Edward Jones, Junior Achievement, and local banks who are available to students and parents during monthly learning opportunities.

    Alarian Brown, 10, already has ideas on money management. “With all the money I get, I want to save more,” she said. “I’ll keep it in the bank and when it comes to stuff I need, I’ll get it out.”

    Alarian, who has plans to be an orthodontist, is looking forward to the fundraising aspects of the program, including selling lemonade and pralines.

    That “free money” did not grow on some special cash tree. Financial advocacy group LABEST, The Middleburg Institute, and Gulf Coast Bank partnered to set the students up with a real savings account; each with $40 seed money. State Rep. Rick Edmonds ‘pledged a donation to the Young Investors program increasing the seed money for each enrolled student.

    As a member of the legislative education committee, Edmonds is well aware of the disinvestment in education and equality in the state and took his commitment to another level, said James. He plans to bring the students to the capital for a Young Investors Day this spring. This will give them exposure to state government.

    “As children and parents learn more about money management, it is our hope that this will influence change in behaviors as it relates to investing,” said Joyce James, LABEST state director. “Families may create workable budgets and start an emergency fund. We are able to say we changed behavior and increased the financial future for our children.”

    Green explained that these students will be able to grow into young adulthood with a little investment which they can use in high school or college for the ever-increasing tuition and dissipating scholarship opportunities. “Students will start to make the connection between production, cash and government, through exposure to entrepreneurs and local representatives,” she said.

    “I cannot determine the long-term effect on the city of Baton Rouge or on the lives of the students, but I see the potential. It feels like the Black community is brushing off the dust and moving forward,” Green said.

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    Barthelemy named to SUS board

    John L. Barthelemy, of Braithwaite, was appointed to the Board of Supervisors of Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. Mr. Barthelemy is a Plaquemines Parish Councilmember and former educator. Mr. Barthelemy was the principal of Phoenix High School for 30 years. After Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Isaac, he worked with FEMA to redevelop Phoenix High School. Mr. Barthelemy earned a Masters of Education degree and a Bachelors of Arts degree from Southern University. He will serve as a representative of the 1st Congressional District.

     

     

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    Vote on school tax renewal April 29

    On April 29, voters in East Baton Rouge will determine the 10-year renewal of two property taxes totaling an estimated $42 million over 10 years to improve and maintain salaries of employees and to reduce state receipts to maintain the system. Specifically, voters will say “yes” or “no” to these propositions which state:

    Cons. Sch. Dist. No. 1 Prop. No. 1 – 7.14 Mills Renewal – SB – 10 Yrs.: Shall Consolidated School District No. 1 of the Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana (the “District”), levy a special tax of seven and fourteen hundredths (7.14) mills on all the property subject to taxation in said District (an estimated $25,437,280 is reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the tax for an entire year) for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2019, for the purpose of giving additional support to the public elementary and secondary schools in said District by providing funds for improving and maintaining salaries and benefits of public school employees in said District?

    Cons. Sch. Dist. No. 1 Prop. No. 2 – 4.98 Mills Renewal – SB – 10 Yrs.:Shall Consolidated School District No. 1 of the Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana (the “District”), levy a special tax of four and ninety-eight hundredths (4.98) mills on all the property subject to taxation in said District (an estimated $17,741,970 is reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the tax for an entire year) for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2018, for the purpose of giving additional support to the public elementary and secondary schools in said District by providing funds for the purpose of replacing reduced state and local receipts and operating and maintaining the public school system in said District?

     

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  • Tangipahoa school employees attend conference

    Members of the Tangipahoa Federation of Teachers attended the annual Louisiana Federation of Teachers Paraprofessional and School Related Personnel Conference, April 1 at the Baton Rouge Crowne Plaza Hotel.

    The annual PSRP Conference recognizes the contributions of school support staff. It includes professional development workshops, briefings on important legislative and educational issues, and awards to honor the achievements of members.

    Shown at the conference are, from left, Tonia Conley, Monica Robertson, Jackie Wheeler, TFT President Dina Esquinance, LFT President Larry Carter, Ellender Tillis, Rose Martens, and Pam Lipscomb.

     

    Submitted by Les Landon, Director of Public Relations

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    Baker High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team reaches state playoffs

    Because of their hard work and endurance and in spite of the loss of their school and/or homes as a result of the Great Flood of 2016, the Baker High School Boys Basketball Team participated in the 2017 Allstate Sugar  Bowl/LHSSA Basketball Tournament. With an overall season record of 25-12 and district record of 7-5, the team made it to the quarter finals of the tournament. We look forward to next year’s team making it all the way! Good luck to the team’s graduating seniors in their future endeavors. GO BUFFS!

     By Submitted News

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    Futures Fund rolls out Spring Semester with double attendees

    The Futures Fund began their Spring semester with new and returning students, almost doubling attendance from last year. Organizer said the word is clearly getting out. “If a student between sixth and 12th grade wants to learn photography or coding, this is the place to go, especially if economic barriers would normally keep them from such classes.”

    Each Saturday for eight weeks, students, of either a digital or visual arts discipline, attend early morning workshops lead by some of Baton Rouge’s highest-ranked industry professionals. These teachers not only pass the skills they’ve learned throughout their careers, additionally they become mentors to students who could be labeled as “at risk.”

    “Since the group was together last semester, they came in ready to roll. Some of them already do freelance and brought their freelance questions to the start of class,” said instructor Quinton Jason. This sense of entrepreneurialism is sparked and encouraged throughout the classes. Every skill taught is meant to empower young minds into pursuing their passions.

    “Every Saturday morning, [our] mission is to educate, enrich and empower the young minds that soon will be leading our neighborhoods, cities, and state for years to come,” said program manager Luke St. John McKnight.

    The Spring semester will conclude on May 13 with a student showcase at the BRCC Cypress Building and Magnolia Theatre. Student coding projects will be shown as well as an unveiling of a print gallery created and curated by the photography students.

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    ABOUT THE WALLS PROJECT
    The Walls Project is a unique collaborative effort involving local Baton Rouge groundshakers in business, creative arts, and community development. Although The Walls Project had grassroots beginnings, our core values continue to persevere. Fueled by our mission set in 2012 and by the generous donations gifted to us, The Walls Project has been able to bring social and economical resurgence in underserved areas by delivering community-driven services via staged clean-ups, mural paintings and industry-lead professional classes for students of the community.

     

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    Broome invites public to city-wide dialogue on education, March 21

    Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome is inviting education stakeholders to attend the City Parish’s Inaugural Education Roundtable: City-Wide Dialogue to help close the education gap in our community.

    As part of the roundtable which will be held on March 21, East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Warren Drake, East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Members, Metro Council Members, and other educators will come together to share common goals, express challenges, and develop solutions to enhance the educational experiences of our children. Representatives from Southern University, LSU, and Baton Rouge Community College will also participate in the event.

    “While education doesn’t fall directly into my realm of responsibility, it is a very important part of helping to move our City Parish forward,” Broome said.  “My vision for this forum is to help support local systems and boards so all of our students have an opportunity to succeed.”

    The education roundtable will take place at the Raising Cane’s River Center in rooms 9 and 10 from 3:30pm to 7pm. It will include two sessions:

    ·        3:30pm. to 5:15pm, Information sessions will feature speakers discussing various topics including early childhood expansion, higher education connections, and future workforce demands.
    ·        5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., a dialogue between Metro Council and School board members about proactive measures that can be taken to enhance the experiences of our children.

    Members of the audience will also have an opportunity to ask questions or make comments.  Participants should enter the River Center on the St. Louis Street side near the theater.

    Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP here: Attend Education Roundtable
     

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    Southern University to observe its 137th Founders’ Day, March 9

    On Thursday, March 9, 2017, Southern University will host its 137th Founders’ Day with activities commemorating its history, honoring employees celebrating 10, 20, 30, and 40 years of service, and recognizing Southern University alumni who are elected officials throughout the state of Louisiana.

     

    This year’s observance of the annual recognition is themed, “Southern University:  Positively Impacting the Community, the State, the Nation, and the World.”

    The public SUBR Founders’ Day celebration will begin with a SU Laboratory School Commemoration at 8:30 a.m. The Community Prayer Brunch/Founders’ Day Convocation begins at 10 a.m. in the F. G. Clark Activity Center, a voter registration drive will be held at the Clark Activity Center service entrance during the convocation, and a SU Founders’ Day Birthday Party at noon in Jaguar Square in front of the Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union.

    In keeping with the celebration of Baton Rouge’s Bicentennial, the 2017 Southern University Founders’ Day observance is scheduled as one of the University’s events to commemorate the founding of Baton Rouge. The city in January celebrated 200 years since its incorporation.

     

    To highlight the special SUBR observance, Sharon Weston Broome, the first female elected mayor-president of Baton Rouge-East Baton Rouge Parish, will serve as the keynote speaker for a mid-morning combination Community Prayer Brunch and Founders’ Day Convocation in the Felton G. Clark Activity Center.

     

    Prior to becoming mayor, Broome served as a Louisiana State Representative (District 29) and a Louisiana State Senator (District 15). While in the legislature, Broome became the first female to hold the leadership position of pro tempore in the House and Senate.

    Over the years, Broome has been recognized for her service and leadership by a number of organizations including the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Louisiana Health Freedom Coalition, the American Heart Association, Every Child Matters, Morehouse College – just to name a few.


    “This Founders’ Day commemoration is especially meaningful as we honor the hope and perseverance of early public servants whose brave and historic efforts chartered what was established 137 years ago in the city of New Orleans — Southern University. Their legacy is remembered as we recognize the continuing contributions of many our officeholders whose education was made possible by our Founders,” said Ray L. Belton, SU System president-chancellor.

     

    About the SU System Commemorative History
     

    Delegates P.B.S. Pinchback, T.T. Allain, T.B. Stamps, and Henry Demas sponsored the movement in Louisiana for an equal opportunity institution of higher learning in the 1879 Louisiana State Constitutional Convention. Their efforts resulted in the establishment of this institution for the education of persons of color in New Orleans. Southern University, chartered by Legislative Act 87 in April 1880, had a 12-member Board of Trustees. The act provided for the establishment of a faculty of “arts and letters’ competent in “every branch of liberal education.” The charter sought to open doors of state higher education to all “persons competent and deserving.” Southern opened with 12 students and a $10,000 appropriation. With the passage of the 1890 Morril Act, the University was reorganized to receive land-grant funds.

    In 1912, Legislative Act 118 authorizes the closing of Southern University in New Orleans, the sale of its property, and the reestablishment of the University on a new site. In 1914, the “new” Southern University opened in Scotlandville, Louisiana, receiving a portion of a $50,000 national land-grant appropriation Southern University in New Orleans and Southern University Shreveport were authorized by Legislative Acts 28 and 42 in 1956 and 1964 respectively. The Southern University Board of Supervisors, a management board authorized by the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, was created to govern the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport campuses. In 1985, the A.A. Lenoir Law School was designated the Southern University Law School.  Dedicated in January 2002, the new Ashford O. Williams Hall is home to the fifth SU System campus, the Agricultural Research and Extension Center, which also is located in Baton Rouge.  

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    Lawmakers attack Obama’s education law

    Educators nationwide are voicing concern following a push by Republicans in Congress to overturn accountability regulations for ESSA which could have far-reaching consequences for how the law works in states.

    Groups supporting the move argue that it would free schools from unnecessary burdens, while opponents contend that overturning the rules could hurt vulnerable students and create turmoil in states and districts trying to finalize their transition to ESSA.

    ESSA, which also reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), received bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 10, 2015. The regulations are administered by the U.S. Department of Education and ESSA goes into full effect at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

    Under the 2015 law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act, each state will adhere to more flexible federal regulations that provide for improved elementary and secondary education in the nation’s public schools.

    “The ESSA law was established to help increase the effectiveness of public education in every state,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. “Our task is to inform, inspire, and encourage parents, students, teachers, and administrators to fulfill the intent and objectives of ESSA with special focus on those students and communities that have been marginalized and underserved by the education system across the nation.”

    Last week, the House of Representatives approved a joint resolution that would overturn ESSA accountability rules issued by the Obama administration.

    Those rules, which became final in November, are intended to detail for states the timeline for addressing underperforming schools, how schools must be rated, the ways English-language learners must be considered in state accountability plans, and other policy issues.

     

    “One of the things that should be included in any modification of ESSA is the fifth criteria for schools which is about school climate,” said Helen Levy-Myers, founder and CEO of Athena’s Workshop, Inc., a texting application for educators. School attendance is often dependent on other factors, like the friendliness of the staff, school leadership, safety of the school and neighborhood, health of the community, and the level of engagement between students and teachers, she said.

    A white paper presented by Levy-Myers noted that the “cold, hard truth is that chronically absent children end up leading harder lives.”

    Students who miss just two or three days each month in kindergarten and first grade never catch up. They become chronically absent, defined as missing 10 percent or more of the school year.

    While many Republican lawmakers have moved to strike down the implementation of ESSA, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told state school officers around the country that despite a delay, several regulations will be reviewed and changed by March 21.

    DeVos told the officers that state ESSA plans will still be accepted either in April or in September.

    In a memo to state school heads DeVos wrote: “Due to the regulatory delay and review, and the potential repeal of recent regulations by Congress, the Department is currently reviewing the regulatory requirements of consolidated State plans, as reflected in the current template, to ensure that they require only descriptions, information, assurances, and other materials that are absolutely necessary for consideration of a consolidated State plan.”

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    Top summer internship programs announced for 2017

    Many companies and organizations are already announcing that they are accepting applications for their upcoming internship programs.

    Nationwide — Many companies and organizations are already announcing that they are accepting applications for their upcoming internship programs. Here’s a list of the top 2017 summer internship programs for African Americans:

    #1 – The NBA Internship Program offers college students an exciting opportunity to use their skills and classroom learning within a national sports environment. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/10/nba-internship-program.html

    #2 – The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program is a 10-week, full-time, paid summer work opportunity for deserving students with an interest in the NASCAR industry. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/03/nascar-diversity-internship-program.html

    #3 – Black Enterprise Internships are designed to provide real-life work experiences for college students interested in a career in the media industry. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/10/black-enterprise-internships.html

    #4 – The NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Internship offers an opportunity for a minority, female college student to be chosen for a unique two-year internship program. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/10/ncaa-ethnic-minority-and-womens.html

    #5 – The Minority Access Internship Program offers spring, summer and fall internships for college sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduates and professionals. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/05/minority-access-internship-program.html

    #6 – Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Internships are available for college students pursuing undergraduate associates or bachelors degrees. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/09/congressional-black-caucus-foundation.html

    #7 – Explore Microsoft Internship Program is for current college undergraduate minority students pursuing a degree in computer science or software engineering. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/04/Explore-Microsoft-Internship-Program.html

    #8 – BET Networks Internships provides paid internships for both undergraduate and graduate college students at five different locations.
    Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/09/bet-networks-internships.html

    #9 – The UNCF/NAACP Gateway to Leadership Internship Program is a 10-week paid summer internship for undergraduate students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/04/uncf-naacp-gateway-to-leadership-internship-program.html

    #10 – Google Internships is rated No. 1 by Forbes as the best internship opportunity for college students interested in a career in software engineering. Google offers an open culture and rich learning experience as well as good pay. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/02/google-internships_15.html

    #11 – The TV One Internship Program is open to full-time or part-time students attending an accredited college or university with an interest in a career in the media industry. TV One, one of the largest African American cable networks. Internships are offered to undergraduate college students in the Fall, Spring and Summer. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/09/tv-one-internship-program_12.html

    #12 – Oracle offers a 8-week, paid internship for students who attend one of the 39-member historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The internships help students to gain knowledge and experience in the field of technology. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2014/01/oracle-diversity-internships_95.html

    #13 – The National Urban League Summer Internship Program offers internships to students who are interested in a career in the non-profit industry. The program provides an 8-week paid internship for college students in either New York City or Washington, D.C. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/04/national-urban-league-summer-internship_8.html

    #14 – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) offers internships to minority students interested in pursuing a future career in journalism. Applicants selected for a 10-week internship will be offered positions in print, broadcast or online disciplines at selected news organizations across the country. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2016/11/nabj-internships.html

    #15 – The Essence Communications Internship is a 9-week, paid internship is open to both undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in a career in the media industry. Candidates must have a strong interest in issues among African American women.
    Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/10/essence-communications-internship_73.html

    #16 – The Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) offers a full-time summer work experience for college students pursuing a career in advertising. Eligible students must be Asian/Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Black/African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Multiracial or Multi-ethnic. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/05/multicultural-advertising-intern-program_5.html

    #17 – Merck offers 9-11 week internships are available to college students in the areas of research & development, sales & marketing, information technology, human resources, communications, finance and legal, as well as internships in biology and chemistry. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/03/merck-internships_1.html

    #18 – General Motors offers internships in the areas of communications, finance, information technology, marketing, engineering, manufacturing, health and safety. The internships offer a paid opportunity for students to receive a challenging work experience in the automotive industry. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/04/general-motors-internships_33.html

    #19 – DELL Computers offers 10-12 week internships during the summer for undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of marketing and sales, finance and accounting, IT and more. Internships provide real-world experience for college students while they are still in school. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2014/01/dell-internships_9.html

    #20 – PricewaterhouseCoopers offers more than 700 internships each year across 29 countries for college students majoring in accounting and finance. Students will work with highly skilled professionals and receive a realistic insight into the accounting and finance profession. Learn more at www.findinternships.com/2013/03/pricewaterhousecoopers-internships_67.html

    To view more 2017 minority summer internships, visit:
    www.findinternships.com/search/label/Minorities

    To search hundreds of other 2017 summer internships, visit:
    www.FindInternships.com

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    Small farmers gather for annual conference on innovations, resilience

     Small farmers from throughout the state will gather at the Southern University Ag Center March 16-18 to attend the 7th annual Louisiana Small Farmer Conference.

    The three-day conference, themed “Innovations and Resilience for Louisiana Small Family Farms,” is designed to educate, provide expanded awareness of educational opportunities, USDA programs and services and other resources to help small farmers stay in business.

     Registration for the conference is complimentary for anyone who submits their registration form by Friday, March 3. On-site registration will begin at 8am.

     Conference speakers will include Jay Grymes, chief meteorologist at WAFB News Channel 9; Brandon Davis, agriculture labor attorney at Phelps Dunbar, LLC.; Leonard Jordan, associate chief for conservation at the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); and Brennan Washington, minority farmer/ outreach specialist at the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE).

    Session during the conference will include:

    • Drone Demonstrations
    • Grant Writing
    • Soil Health
    • Farm Labor
    • Marketing

    This event is the ideal venue for new and beginning farmers, small and urban farmers, agricultural business owners, community leaders, backyard gardeners and community based organizations.

    Other events occurring during the conference will include the Louisiana Living Legends Banquet, which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to Southern University in the areas of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, and the graduation ceremony for the 2016 Class of the Louisiana Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute.

    To register, visit http://www.suagcenter.com/small-farmers or contact Kelli Hollins at 225-771-2242 or e-mail kelli_hollins@suagcenter.com.

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    Southern calls Town Hall to discuss medical marijuana venture

    The Southern University land-grant campus–consisting of the SU Ag Center and College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences–will host a Medical Marijuana Town Hall on Feb. 23, at 2pm in the Southern University Ag Center, A. O. Williams Hall, 181 B. A. Little Drive in Baton Rouge.

    The meeting will provide an overview of the land-grant campus’ medical marijuana venture.

    Potential vendors and the public are invited to attend. Individuals must pre-register to attend the meeting by visiting www.suagcenter.com/townhall.

    The land-grant campus is requesting that all questions from vendors regarding the Medical Marijuana Program be emailed in advance to Janana Snowden, Ph.D., at janana_snowden@suagcenter.com. The deadline to submit questions is at noon on February 21. All questions received will be addressed during the Town Hall.

     

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    BRCC ultrasound students seek volunteers for free exams

    The Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound) program at Baton Rouge Community College is seeking volunteers for ultrasound exams. The exams will be conducted by students enrolled in the ultrasound program under the direct supervision of course instructors who are Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (RDMS).

    All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, with pregnant volunteers being especially desirable. Exams must be scheduled by appointment. To schedule an appointment, or to ask questions, call Mike Beauford at (225) 216- 8046 or Richard Goldsmith at (225) 216-8498. If there is no answer, leave a voicemail with your first and last name, phone number and state your exam of interest.

    General exams offered include the Abdominal Ultrasound for those who experience pain on the right side after eating. Individuals interested in participating must fast – no food for six hours prior to exam. Obstetric Ultrasounds are available for women who are at least 10 weeks pregnant. Volunteers may bring a flash drive to save ultrasound photos. The Carotid Artery Ultrasound is available for those who want to screen for risk of stroke.

    Exams available for interested volunteers who are age 50 and older include the Ultrasound of Arm and/or Leg Arteries to check circulation for PAD -Peripheral Arterial Disease; Ultrasound of Arm and Leg Veins to check veins for leg swelling or varicose veins; and Ultrasound of the Thyroid, the gland in the neck that regulates metabolism.

    For Carotid Artery and Thyroid scans, volunteers should wear shirts with loose collars; for leg scans, volunteers should wear shorts that can be pulled up thigh high; and for arm scans, volunteers should wear T-shirts.

    The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, located at BRCC’s Frazier site, 555 Julia St., Baton Rouge, always seeks volunteers for students to practice exams. Anyone not immediately interested may contact the department for further information.

    Read more »
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    Local Links chapters to announce partnership to support SU

    Two local chapters of The Links, Incorporated will come together to officially announce a partnership with Southern University through the national organization’s Historically Black Colleges And Universities (HBCU) Initiative.

    Officers of the Baton Rouge and La Capitale Chapters of The Links, Incorporated will make a formal announcement of a collaboration that will support the University in increasing graduation rates, providing scholarships, and promoting STEM programs, Tuesday, January 31, 9 am, in the Donald C. Wade House on the Baton Rouge campus.

    “Institutions of higher education have a vested interest in building strong relationships with organizations that serve to build a better community. Southern University welcomes the opportunity to partner with The Links in furthering our mutual goals to strengthen HBCUs,” said Ray L. Belton, Ph.D. president-chancellor, Southern University and A&M College.

    The Links, Incorporated’s HBCU Initiative focuses on addressing the critical needs of the community through transformational programming to increase high school and college graduation rates, awarding college scholarships and endowments, and promoting and supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

    The program features hosting HBCU college fairs and other events in each geographic region, promoting and encouraging connections with an HBCU and its STEM programs, mentoring and recruiting students to attend and complete HBCUs, identifying opportunities to support faculty research and/or professional development, and contributing to the sustainability of HBCU institutions.

    “As an organization committed to community service, The Links of the Baton Rouge area are excited to come together in support of one of the nation’s premier historically black universities,” said Yolanda Dixon and Paula Clayton, presidents of the Baton Rouge and La Capitale Chapters of The Links, Incorporated, respectively.

    Read more »
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    Elementary schools, Kids Orchestra create harmony

    15 Kids Orchestra Trumpets

    Baton Rouge’s Kids Orchestra is the largest elementary-age after school music program in the country. Last month, elementary students from Brownfields Magnet, Ryan Elementary, and J.K. Haynes Charter ensembles of wind and percussion instruments during their combined Neighborhood Concert.

    Now in its fifth year, Kids’ Orchestra provides opportunities for 800 kindergarten through fifth graders to study instrument and perform in an orchestra or sing in a choir. Students are given instruments on loan for the school year after paying a modest tuition.

    In group settings, kindergarten and first graders are introduced to musical concepts in the Foundations class. Second through fifth graders choose and study instruments in brass, percussion, strings and woodwinds. Vocal education and theory are essential in the K-6 choir program.
    15 Kids Orchestra main photo

    Kids’Orchestra offers mentorship, tutoring and homework help, and a healthy snack at each session to ensure each child is prepared for success regardless if they pursue music once graduating from our program.

    Each student has the opportunity to perform in Neighborhood Concert Series, while honors level students perform during Kids’ Orchestra three orchestras, two choirs, and special community performances.

    Kids’ Orchestra’s mission is to bring children of all cultures and backgrounds together using music education as a vehicle to foster teamwork, develop understanding and emphasize excellence.

    The program is modeled after the principles of El Sistema: fostering teamwork and understanding, crossing economic barriers, emphasizing excellence, and learning instrumental skills and brotherhood within the orchestral system.

    15 Kids Orchestra FlutesRecent research has shown that quality music instruction impacts academic achievement. Kids’ Orchestra offers high quality, standards-based music education designed to improve lifelong learning.

    Photos by Yusef Davis

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    School rep from flooded district meets with principals, partners to ‘move forward’

    EBR school board representative Dawn Chanet Collins hosted a New Year’s reception for the principals in East Baton Rouge Parish School System, District 4, with more than 50 residents and community stakeholders present on Jan. 18.

    Collins said participation in this Moving District 4 Forward event was “better than anticipated…The purpose of the event was to begin building a strong relationship between the schools in the area and the community – the village – because that is the only way the schools will truly prosper,” she said.

    “I promise to bring this type of event to the district at least once a year.  It’s so important.  Many parents in this area would like to see these schools enhanced so that some of the best programs the district has to offer are right here in their own back yards.  Right now, many parents feel compelled to send their kids to options on the other side of town,” Collins said.  “I’m excited about moving forward, and I believe this is something Superintendent Drake is eager to do as well.”

    Some highlights from the meeting included attendees being made aware that though both North Louisiana and South Louisiana experienced cataclysmic flooding in 2016, the Louisiana Department of Education has not made any provisions to accommodate students who have not been able to prepare for the state’s first mandatory computer-based testing this Spring. Drake has already reached out to the state for a waiver, and State Senator Regina Ashford-Barrow committed to working with her colleagues to address the issue.

    Some attendees committed to assisting District 4  schools by donating books and revisiting a partnership with Belair High to bring back the DECA Club.  “I know other partnerships will soon follow,” Collins said.

    image

    Dawn Collins, EBRP School Board Rep


    The district includes Belair High School, Brookstown Middle Magnet, Greenbrier Elementary, Howell Park Elementary, La Belle Aire Elementary, Northdale Superintendent’s Academy, Park Forest Elementary, Park Forest Middle, and Villa Del Rey Elementary. Six of them were damaged by the August 2016 flood.

    City Councilpersons Donna Collins-Lewis, Erika Green, and LaMont Cole; business owners Jason Gardner of Vivid Images, Jeremy Jackson of State Farm Insurance, and Denise Harris of REMAX Preferred Choice; public education advocates Rev. Reginald Pitcher and Anthony Troy Dennis; Johnny Anderson, deputy chief of staff for Governor John Bel Edwards; and Darlene Fields, Congressman Cedric Richmond’s representative for the Baton Rouge area attended the event at Baby Dolls Café on Greenwell Springs Road.

    Collins said she is planning to host meetings specifically for parents and caregivers who reside in or send their children to schools in District 4.

    Read more »
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    Conference focused on special education starts Jan 30

    The Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children (LaCEC) will host its annual Super Conference on January 30-31, 2017, at the Cajundome Convention Center located at 444 Cajundome Blvd. in Lafayette, LA. The title of this year’s Super Conference is “To the Classroom and Beyond!” The program will include outstanding speakers for general and special educators, families, students, administrators, related service providers, paraprofessionals and postsecondary educators.

    First Lady Donna Edwards and Bambi Polotzola, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs, will present the LaCEC awards during the Super Conference.

    Click here for more information about Super Conference and to register.

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  • ,,

    Officers installed on SU System Board

    The Southern University and A&M College System Board of Supervisors installed officers for 2017 and held a swearing-in ceremony for newly appointed members during its regular monthly meeting, Jan 6.

    Chairwoman Ann A. Smith and vice chairman Rev. Donald R. Henry, who were elected during the annual officers’ election in November 2016, were installed as the new officers for the governing board for the only historically black college and university system in America.

    Smith is a retired school educator and administrator in Tangipahoa Parish, member of the Louisiana School Board Association, and former member of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board.

    Henry represents the 2nd Congressional District. He is a planning and scheduling professional at Noranda Alumina, LLC; and co-owner of DRH Consulting Group, LLC in Gramercy.

    Taking the oath of office for the SU Board were two newly appointed members and three reappointed members named by Governor Edwards, December 30, 2016.

    “I salute the long-standing members of the Board for their great and unselfish service to the Southern University System and congratulate those members who have been reappointed who will continue in service. I genuinely look forward to working with you as we advance the mission of the Southern University System,” said SU System President Ray L. Belton.

    Sworn in on the 16-member board that serves to manage and supervise the SU System were:

    Leroy Davis, of Baker, is a retired professor and dean of Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. Additionally, Davis is a former mayor and councilman of the City of Baker. He received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a master of science degree from the University of Illinois, and a doctoral degree from the University of Illinois. He will serve as a representative of the 2nd Congressional District.

    Richard T. Hilliard, of Shreveport, is a senior engineer and business consultant at the Maintowoc Company, Incorporated. Hilliard received a bachelor of science degree from Georgia Technological University and a master of science degree from Walsh College. He will serve as a representative of the 4th Congressional District.

    Domoine D. Rutledge, of Baton Rouge, is an attorney and general counsel of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. He is a former national president of the Southern University Alumni Federation and the current president and chairman of the Southern University System Foundation Board of Directors. Rutledge received a bachelor of arts degree and a juris doctorate from the Southern University Law Center. He will serve as an at-large member on the board.

    Smith, of Kentwood, received a bachelor of science degree and a master of science in education from Southern University. She will serve as a representative of the 5th Congressional District.

    Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert Jr., of Lake Charles, is the pastor of the Greater Saint Mary Missionary Baptist Church. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Bishop College and a master of divinity from Payne Theological Seminary. He has also received an honorary doctorate of divinity from Union Baptist College and Theological Seminary and Christian Bible College and an honorary doctorate degree from Temple Bible College. Rev. Tolbert will serve as an at-large member on the board.

    The Board of Supervisors of Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College is vested with the responsibility for the management and supervision of the institutions of higher education, statewide agricultural programs, and other programs which comprise the Southern University System. Members serve six-year terms appointed by the governor.

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    Families Helping Families of Jefferson offers free online webinars

    Families Helping Families of Jefferson, through its statewide program Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center, invites you to register and attend their free webinars full of rich content. A webinar event is viewed right from your computer, where you can watch, listen and have the option to post questions and get live responses. Webinars are offered on various days and at various times.

    Some of the webinar topics in January are Extended School Year (ESY) Services, Legal Status and Capacity – What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter, EEOC Basic Overview of the Laws, Understanding the Important Difference Between Accommodations & Modifications, Seizure Recognition and First Aid for Families, IDEA: What You Need to Know, Expanded SSI Application Window for Foster Kids, Be Your Own Self-Advocate, Understanding 504, and Individualized Education Program (IEP): A Blueprint for Student Success (for Children and Youth Ages 3-21).

    For a full listing of webinars, visit fhfjefferson.org

    and then click on “What‘s Going On” to choose a topic and register.

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    Baton Rouge charter pushes to remain open

    When Jonathan Hage traveled to Baton Rouge following the August flood, the Charter School USA director’s first concerns were his teachers’ and students’ well-being. Along with his wife and other executives, Hage brought hope and money—each teacher received $500. “It’s not money. It’s love,” Sherry Hage told the teachers. “We want you to know that you’re loved and cared for.”

    The gesture was especially generous for the teachers who had lost property and possessions. Their support came as a result of their employment at the Baton Rouge Charter Academy at Mid-City. “These are our teachers; these are our kids,” Jonathan Hage said. “This is honestly the best part about what we do.”

    But now, the mid-city charter and its teachers face a formidable challenge to save the school.

    After three years with performance scores less than 40, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education denied the charter renewal request and will close the school under its state charter in May 2017. Even amid strong support for the school, BESE voted against allowing BRCA an additional year to show improvement. BESE members Jada Lewis and Kathey Edmonston formally objected to the closure. School officials have said performance scores will raise with more time, dedicated resources, and its new principal, Tale’ Lockett.

    “They (parents and administrators) are all on board to make sure we have enough time to continue our success,” said Lockett in a Dec. 6 video. “We’re going to make that mark with continued support.” In order to do so, charter administrators have to convince the local school board to allow the school to re-open, or transfer, as a Title 2 charter under the governance of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. It’s sister school, South Baton Rouge Charter Academy, is already an EBRP charter.

    BRCA has 80 teachers and more than 650 students who would relocate if the transfer isn’t successful. Then, students and their parents would choose to return to their previous public school or select another charter to attend. Middle school students in the attendance zone of Baton Rouge Charter Academy would have four EBR middle schools to attend: Capitol, Park Forest, JK Haynes, and Scotlandville Pre-Engineering. They would also have a choice between Celerity Lanier and Celerity Crestworth or tuition-based private schools. (School performance scores are available at http://www.louisianabelieves.com/data/reportcards/2016 )

    “Statistically, many of these students attempt to return to the public system,” said former BESE representative Carolyn Hill. “There will be an aggressive push to move these students into other state-governed charters and other management groups…it’s about the money. But, this management group has the most resources to help the students.”

    “It is a good thing that this charter management group is trying to unify with EBR,” Hill said. “A collaboration between this charter—which was once a state charter— and East Baton Rouge Parish Schools would set a precedence statewide and even nationally that says, ‘we are willing to step in and work in partnership to ensure that these children get what they need to succeed’.”

    “I believe in local schools controlled by local communities,” Edmundson told the Baton Rouge Business Report earlier this year. “If the locals want a charter and the local board has responsibility, that makes me feel a lot more comfortable.”

    That comfort comes from the local district’s ability to provide additional resources to students including special education services like speech pathology, free lunch programs, shared transportation, and more teacher stability.

    “It’s not about a charter movement. Merging together will be a success story, nationwide,” Hill said. “These parents should keep fighting for their children. I would tell each of them, ‘Let the growth in your child be the determining factor‎’.”

    Read more »
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    Perkins named ULSystem chair

    Alejandro Raeshod Perkins has been elected to chairman of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. The ULSystem is the largest higher education system in the state with more than 90,000 students and nine universities: Louisiana Tech, Grambling, University of Louisiana at Monroe, University of  Louisiana Lafayette, McNeese University, Nicholls State University, University of New Orleans, Northwestern State University and Southeastern Louisiana University. Jim Henderson, Ph.D., was elected System President.

    Perkins is a law partner at Hammonds, Sills, Adkins, and Guice, LLC. He was recently appointed by the National Bar Association as Deputy General Counsel. He is a Louisiana Arts and Science Museum Board Member, National Annual Fund Chair for Xavier University, and Vice President of the Xavier University Alumni Association-Baton Rouge Chapter.

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    Toldson named ‘most influential’

    Ivory Toldson, Ph.D., has been named one of the 30 Most Influential Forensic Psychologists by Emergency Management Degree Program Guide. He completed a doctorate in counseling psychology from Temple University and later became a forensic psychologist at the United States Penitentiary. His dissertation focused on black men in the criminal justice system. His ongoing work includes research regarding misled media statistics and the link between Black males to crime and their ability to learn. The Baton Rouge native is executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is also editor of the Journal of Negro Education.

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    TOPS funding cut to less than half for Spring

    According to the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance, due to the historic budget shortfalls, students in Louisiana will only be eligible for 41.8 percent of the total Taylor Opportunity Program for Students award for the spring semester. Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement, Nov. 15, on this shortfall in funding. 

    When we leave our kids with more student debt than necessary, we’ve failed them. Going forward, it is my hope that we can restore funding to TOPS because too many students across the state are dependent upon the assistance it offers. In fact, despite the budget shortfalls we’re currently facing, we will not be making further cuts to this program. Today, we risk having an influx of students drop out of college or leave with burdensome debt. We can and must do better.

    As I said in June, the gimmick of ‘front loading’ TOPS gave students and parents false hope for the future. Today, as I said this summer, Louisiana’s budget problems are having a real impact on students and their families. The upcoming regular session in 2017 will give us another opportunity to stabilize Louisiana’s budget and invest in our children’s futures, and I’m asking the legislature to work with me, so that Louisiana’s students are not left to shoulder the burden of our state’s financial problems.

    This year, despite the financial challenges facing the state, students in higher education faced the smallest increase in tuition in a decade.

    Information regarding TOPS funding for the spring semester is available in this FAQ from LOSFA by clicking here.

    On June 24, at the close of the second special session, Edwards criticized the plan to ‘front load’ TOPS and the refusal of certain members of the legislature to work in a bipartisan way to avoid the shortfall.

    In the same press conference, Edwards reminded the public of the potential shortfall for the fiscal year that ended on June 30 and how it would necessarily require action this fall.

    In June, Edwards also called the budget gimmicks from certain members of the legislature regarding TOPS “disingenuous.”

    Read more »
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    Young scientists explore propulsion, alternative energy in Baker

    New Orleans scientist Calvin Mackie, PhD, brought the STEM NOLA team of engineers and scientists to Park Ridge Middle Magnet School and challenged more than 150 students attending the first Saturday STEM Baker event on Oct 29. For four hours, scientists as young as three years old conducted experiments in alternative energy, flight, chemistry, mechanical engineering, and paleontology, buoyancy, 3-D construction, flight, and propulsion.

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    Kamrie Dillard earns Monsanto Company scholarship

    SU student Kamrie Dillard on receiving the 1890s Student Scholarship from Monsanto Company. Dillard was one of 10 students from eight Universities to receive the $10,000 scholarship.

    “I am honored to be an example of how corporations like Monsanto invest in diverse students, ensuring that we have access to the resources required to receive a valuable education, and to develop as professionals and leaders along the way. I have learned a lot from Monsanto and their continuous advancements in diversity and inclusion, and as a company recognized for their technological innovations I can only hope to pay it forward as I grow in my career,” said Dillard.

    In 2015, Southern University received a grant from Monsanto Company that provided 10 Southern students pursuing a bachelors degree in STEM or agriculture discipline, the opportunity to apply for the 1890s Student Scholarship. Dillard was selected by Monsanto to receive the scholarship, representing Southern University.

    Dillard said that it is great to be selected and to be representing Southern University. She says Southern has prepared her for her accomplishment, “by connecting me with unique opportunities and preparing me for those through programs like Career Services, national conferences, and internships.”

    “The supportive atmosphere and willingness of faculty and staff to help out has tremendously shaped my academic experiences and accomplishments,” said Dillard.

     

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    Real Fathers. Real Support

    >Advantage Charter Academy officials shared breakfast with students and their fathers and father figures. The Baker LA charter school enrolls students in grades kindergarten through seventh grade.

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    ​SU student musician studies opera in Italy

    Bryant Harris spent three weeks in Italy studying Italian music over the summer at the Italian-American Vocal Operatic Program for Young Americans. 

    The Southern University junior was one of three students from the United States to participate in the program that allows American students to travel to Italy to learn the culture and to get a gist of the music and scenery of the country. The program involved students taking a master class taught by local Italian professors and professional singers. It is funded by the Italian government, which invites and encourages young Americans to study Italian vocal music (primarily opera) for three weeks. 

    “I basically toured the city and on certain days I took on master classes where I learned the music or I took over singing the music,” said Harris, a music major.  “It was my first time out of the country. But it was great and I would go back. The food was real good and everything is beautiful.”

    Harris who studies voice, but is officially a trumpet major, learned about the opportunity and held his audition all in one afternoon while hanging out downtown Baton Rouge. It was an impromptu audition when Harris met the gentleman that was over the program, Antonio Moretti. 

    “We started talking about the vocal aspect of music and about Italian music. I mentioned that I sing Italian opera, such as Madamina from Don Giovanni. He wanted to hear me sing so I sung the first section of the song,” said Harris. The next thing Harris knew he was being offered the opportunity to go to Italy to display his talents and to learn about the Italian culture and language. 

    Being able to be a part of this program was about leaving the United States and learning a more diverse culture said Harris. “From a musical aspect, I got the basis of how to further project myself as a musician and how to use my musical talent and figure out how can I expand my music further and push myself pass the boundary of the walls that were built behind all musicians. That is a challenge. Some musicians like to stay in their comfort zone in music and never really go outside of that and expand and travel to see what they can do outside their comfort zone,” said Harris.

    “This opportunity provides an impact on the University in that Southern has been talked about for many things like the football team, the Band, however the music department, the choir, the jazz band, you don’t really hear about it when Southern is mentioned,” said Harris. 

    Harris said that he hopes more people will recognize the music department and the potential that is there. He would like to see the music department grow as a whole so that others can migrate and learn the joys of what it is like to embrace yourself in music and be a musician, said Harris. 

    The Chicago native came to Southern in 2013 as a trumpet player for the Southern University Marching Band. He marched for two years with the ‘Human Jukebox’ before discovering his singing voice. He also decided to focus more of his time on his academics. 

    “When I first got here my mindset wasn’t fully developed as it is today. When I first came I was scared, and shy on the aspect of new city and state. I kept to myself. After awhile, the city, the people, the culture started to grow on me and now I have this new developed mindset that anything comes about I am ready for it, “ said Harris.

    Harris suggest for any one who would like to make experiences like his a reality, “just work and craft and focus more on the things that got you to the point you are at right now and take that and expand that to a further aspect of life and expand your thinking and knowledge of the real world and what it has to offer.”

    By Southern University Media Relations

    Read more »
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    ‘Moment of Movement’ symposium starts Oct 3 at LSU

    On Monday, Oct. 3, and Tuesday, Oct. 4, LSU will host “Moment of Movement: A National Dialogue on Identity, Empowerment and Justice for All,” a two-day symposium discussing the tensions and tragedies that took place in Baton Rouge and across the nation during the summer of 2016, and exploring the intersection of politics, identity, and the democratic process.

    Don Lemon

    Don Lemon

    Signature events include “A Moment” with Don Lemon, CNN host, which will explore the events of Baton Rouge in summer 2016 and the media and community response that ensued, and will culminate in “A Movement,” a keynote by civil rights pioneer and Xavier University President Emeritus Dr. Norman Francis, which will explore “where we stand now as a society – and where our next steps might take us.”

    Dr. Norman Francis

    Dr. Norman Francis

    Congressman Garrett Graves

    Congressman Garrett Graves

    Paul Taylor

    Paul Taylor

    The two-day event is open to the public and all are invited. Parking will be available. Registration is free – though not required – but by registering, participants will be alerted of schedule updates and changes. Other events include musical and spoken word performances; panel discussions with area business leaders and government officials, including Congressman Garrett Graves; a presentation by Paul Taylor, author of “Next America”; a screening of “Remember the Titans”; explorations of media coverage and its impact on social justice; and more. Visit www.lsu.edu/momentormovement for the latest agenda and more information.

    As part of the event – and to underscore the importance of voting – LSU will hold a mock presidential election for its students from Sept. 26 – Oct. 2. Results will be announced at the final event on Oct. 4.

    Read more »
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    SU professors receive state appointments

    Southern University Baton Rouge professors Revathi I. Hines and Leslie T. Grover will serve as advisors to Governor John Bel Edwards through separate recent panel appointments

    Hines, an Alphonse Jackson Professor of Political Science in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, has been appointed by Governor Edwards to the Louisiana Women’s Policy and Research Commission. The Louisiana Women’s Policy and Research Commission is comprised of members appointed by the Governor to serve during his term of office. Duties of the commission include advising the governor, through the executive director of women’s policy, on the particular hardships, concerns, economic, educational, and health needs that challenge women in Louisiana and their possible policy solutions. The commission is charged with submitting a detailed annual report to the governor.

    Hines’s research and on-the-field focus is on community development, homeless women, gender based disaster management policy, environmental racism and justice movements, and discrimination in public housing.  She currently is involved in coordinating donation to homeless women in Baton Rouge through her project, Red Stick Bras and All Project. She also serves on the boards of Volunteer in Public Schools, the Butterfly Society of Domestic Violence, Baton Rouge, and the Women’s Community Rehabilitation Center/UpLIFTD, Baton Rouge. 

    “I am honored to be appointed to the Commission. I look forward to being a part of this administration’s efforts to examine the determinants of well-being of women in Louisiana and engage in the development of meaningful and viable policy solutions that elevate the status of women, across the spectrum, in our great state,” said Hines.

    Grover has been appointed to the Governor’s Council on Homelessness that serves to advise the Governor on issues of concern to Louisiana citizens concerning homelessness. The council will review, update, and monitor implementation of Louisiana’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness. The council serves as a resource for information about access to available services for the homeless population, including housing and transportation options for the homeless.

    “What an honor to serve the people of this state through addressing issues of homelessness and poverty. Addressing these issues through policy and research improves the quality of life for all of us in the state,” said Grover.

    Grover is a tenured associate professor in public administration and public policy. She does extensive work with low income and impoverished populations, and has unlisted extensively in her field. Her previous government experience includes working for NASA as a management analyst; executive director of the Emerging Scholars program in South Carolina; and grant writing for the City of Starkville, Mississippi.

    Read more »
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    Stantec promotes aspiring engineer through North BR program

    Stantec, a Baton Rouge engineering and design firm, recently extended a full-time internship opportunity to Elvis Richard Jr.  Richard is a senior at Scotlandville Magnet High School and aspires to be an engineer.

    Richard was first introduced to Stantec through UREC’s North Baton Rouge Youth Development Program (NBR) two years ago. Through the NBR program, he was afforded the opportunity to job shadow and receive direct professional mentorship from engineers at Stantec.

    The exposure has resulted in significant growth for Richard, who says he is more disciplined and serious about his future as a result of the opportunities he has received.  He also has great respect and appreciation for his Stantec mentors for pointing him in the right direction.

    Since 2014, Stantec Engineer Matthew Davis has supervised Richard, ensuring that his understudy obtains the technical and soft skills needed to be competitive.  Similarly, Stantec Project Manager Joseph Cains III serves as the company’s NBR liaison; he holds Richard accountable on researching colleges and scholarship opportunities.

    “It builds you up. It motivates you to be successful because I wasn’t on the right track,” Richard said of his Stantec opportunities.

    Evlis Richard Jr_NBR 2014 - Copy

    As a result of the experiences, Richard improved his presentation and technical writing skills.  He also leveraged his NBR experience to grow his relationship with Stantec.

    ONLINE: www.urecbr.com

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    McGuire, leader in student education, wins national chemical award

    For more than 46 years, Saundra Yancy McGuire, PhD. has been helping students realize their academic potential. A nationally recognized chemical educator, author and lecturer, she has travelled the globe promoting sure-fire strategies to help students, including those underrepresented in science and math professions, to be successful in their coursework and careers. In recognition of her work and the thousands of students she has impacted, McGuire has been awarded the 2017 American Chemical Society, or ACS, Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, sponsored by the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

    “I’m very humbled to be the recipient of the ACS Dreyfus Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences. I gratefully accept this honor on behalf of all of the individuals who made it possible. They include my nominator, LSU Professor Isiah Warner, and all of the colleagues and students who supported the nomination,” said McGuire, director emerita of LSU’s Center for Academic Success and retired assistant vice chancellor and professor of chemistry. “When I look at the previous winners of this award, I am very honored to join this distinguished group, and I am even more determined to ensure that all students, especially disadvantaged students, are encouraged to pursue and reach their dreams.”

    As a chemistry major at Southern University and A&M College, McGuire learned early on that the right support can make the difference between failure and success. She enrolled at Southern University with plans to major in chemistry despite the fact that she had not taken chemistry in high school (she skipped her senior year).

    “I was successful because of wonderful faculty members and supportive peers who helped me overcome the gaps in my preparation and excel,” said McGuire.

    Later in graduate school, McGuire decided to give extra support to the students in the introductory chemistry course for which she was a teaching assistant during her first year at Cornell University.

    “I knew that these underprepared students were capable of success, but I doubted they would excel without someone working with them to help them learn how to understand the concepts and develop effective problem solving strategies,” said McGuire.

    McGuire is the author of “Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate into Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation.” She spent 11 years at Cornell University, where she received the coveted Clark Distinguished Teaching Award. She joined LSU in 1999, and has delivered her widely acclaimed faculty-development workshops on teaching students how to learn at more than 250 institutions in 43 states and eight countries.

    “My effectiveness with students increased exponentially while at LSU. I learned so much from Sarah Baird and other learning strategists at the Center for Academic Success, and I developed what we now refer to as the metacognitive approach to learning,” McGuire said.

    Metacognition allows students to analyze their own learning and take control of their study behaviors. This approach has proved to be a remarkably successful way of helping students make the transition from being memorizers who regurgitate information to being critical thinkers who can solve novel problems. 

    “I’ve always found student transformation intoxicating, and I love celebrating student success,” said McGuire. “My inspiration comes from the reactions of students when they see that they can succeed and that they don’t have to give up their dreams.”

    McGuire earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry, magna cum laude, from Southern University in 1970, and her master’s degree in chemical education from Cornell University in 1971. She earned her PhD in chemical education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1983. Her many other honors and awards include the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers and the 2002 Dr. Henry C. McBay Outstanding Chemical Educator Award from the same organization. In January, she was awarded the Lifetime Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS.

    McGuire has been very active in the ACS for over 40 years beginning as a member of the ACS student organization during her senior year at Southern University. She was named an ACS Fellow in 2010, chaired the ACS Committee on Minority Affairs from 2002-2004 and was a member of the committee from 1999 to 2004.

    McGuire will be honored at the awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 in conjunction with the 253rd ACS National Meeting in San Francisco.

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  • SU Ag Center partners with Red Cross to offer after-school program

    Roughly two days into the start of a new school year, classes were abruptly canceled from what many south Louisiana natives are calling, “One of the worst natural disasters in Louisiana’s history.”  As the Great Flood of 2016 vastly inundated many homes throughout St. Helena Parish, some residents are faced with a new reality of temporarily living in a shelter.  A local Red Cross representative stated that there are no immediate plans to move flood victims from the Multi-purpose Center that sits right on the Tangipahoa Parish line, but is in St. Helena Parish’s Fifth District.  The representative also stated that they have explored the option of hotel vouchers, but did not want to create other obstacles for those who do not have access to transportation to get to work and school.

    The shelters population consist of youth who will undoubtedly begin to have homework, and could potentially have other stressors due to their lack of resources or homelessness.  Through the use of the Southern University Ag Center’s Youth Educational Support Program (Y.E.S.), displaced families can be assured that the SU Ag Center has Youth Development Agents to meet their educational needs.

    “I’ve actually been in talks with police jurors and school board officials prior to the natural disaster about starting an after-school program at the multi-purpose center…Under these extenuating circumstances the YES Program can definitely address some of the immediate needs, like assisting with homework and providing ancillary activities to keep their minds off their temporary living arrangement,” said Nicolette Gordon, assistant area agent.

    Gordon will conduct a needs assessment, and will begin building a team of volunteers who will help throughout the duration of the temporary after-school program.

    For more information on volunteer opportunities, please contact Nicolette Gordon in the St. Helena Parish Extension office on Tuesday & Thursday at 225.222.4136 or via email at nicolette_gordon@suagcenter.com.

    Read more »
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    Ponchatoula, Hammond school supply lists now available online

    Parents from local schools have a new tool in their back-to-school bag of tricks this year, as all of their schools supply lists are now posted on TeacherLists.com.

    With just one or two clicks, parents can find all of their 2016 lists and get a head start on this annual back-to-school chore. Parents can print their lists or – for the first time – look up their lists right on their smart phones in store aisles. They can even shop easily online as TeacherLists automatically shares the lists with national retailers.

    The site already includes lists for:

    • D. C. Reeves Elementary, Ponchatoula
    • Hammond Westside Montessori School, Hammond
    • Perrin Early Learning Center, Ponchatoula
    • Ponchatoula Junior High School, Ponchatoula
    • St Joseph School, Ponchatoula
    • Tucker Memorial Elementary, Ponchatoula
    • Vinyard, Martha, Elementary Sc, Ponchatoula
    • Woodland Park Early Learning, Hammond

    “For decades, the supply list process has been a frustration for parents,” points out TeacherLists President, John Driscoll. “Where to find the lists? When are they available? Forgetting the list on the counter at home? All of those issues are solved with TeacherLists”

    More than 50,000 schools now have lists posted on TeacherLists. Lists for more than 1 million classrooms are live on the site and include required and requested items as well as specific notes and clarifications from teachers and school staff. Parents can even print coupons for back-to-school savings from popular back-to-school brands.

    Complete details and all the lists are available at www.teacherlists.com <http://www.teacherlists.com/>

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  • ,,

    Meet Derrick Warren the new SUAF executive director

    Growing up in a small, close-knit community in Bastrop, Louisiana, taught Derrick Warren the importance of relationships and results. 

    “From a young age, I understood that education was key and that you can learn something from everyone you meet,” he said. Now, this self-described “Global Life Learner” drives positive transformation for the Southern University System utilizing engagement, analytic research, science, strong communication strategies and innovation. 

    This analytic research, grounded in technology/Big Data, unlocks new possibilities that Warren said will help Southern and Southerns’ stakeholders rapidly succeed, thus leading to more informed, predictive and accurate decisions. Warren advises alumni on the University, targeted initiatives, new ways of working, speed to market concepts and creative strategies to differentiate themselves in today’s highly competitive marketplace resulting in accelerated business value and growth.

    His specialty is stakeholder engagement, services productization and helping Southern alumni, administration, faculty, staff, students and stakeholders tap into leading practices, techniques and talent.

    Over the course of his 32-plus year corporate career at IBM, Warren was responsible for the overall client satisfaction, financials, and delivery execution of large accounts ranging in size from several hundred million to multi-billions in total contract value. This included developing compelling value propositions, creating innovative tactical/strategic plans, executing the roadmaps for effective execution, resolving complex escalated issues/disputes as well as guiding the participation of all IBM Lines of Business. He also served as a member of the IBM Technical Leadership Team and was featured in the company’s’ “On Demand” Thinker Ad Campaign which appeared globally in business publications including Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, The Economist, Money Magazine, Barron’s, CIO, CFO as well as other international business publications.

    In recent years, Warren achieved success living abroad leading teams that provided complex technology solutions for corporations in Asia Pacific and Africa including Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Africa, Nigeria and other countries across Africa and The Middle East. While overseas, he established IBM’s Project Executive Competency improved certifications by more thab 300%, rapidly drove positive double digit grew C-Suite references and engineered a marked enhancement to client satisfaction year to year. He has also published articles in industry magazines and is an accomplished speaker at business symposiums, conferences, and universities around the world.

    Warren is a cum laude honor graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, with a bachelor of science degree in computer science. While on campus, he served as Student Government Association President, Junior Class President and a member of the University’s Famed “Human Jukebox” Marching Band. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity, Kappa Phi Kappa Fraternity and a Charter member of the John G. Lewis Masonic Lodge.

    Warren was also honored to deliver Southern’s Fall 2011 Commencement Address. He earned an MBA from the University of South Florida in Tampa as part of the school’s Executive MBA Program. He and his wife, Anita, currently reside in Roswell, Georgia. They are the proud parents of two sons, Derrick II and Dillon, daughter, Dhalyn, and granddaughter Emersyn.

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    Former Senator Gallot named Grambling president

    The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors announced that the tenth president of Grambling State University will be former Louisiana Senator and State Representative Richard J. Gallot Jr.

    Gallot is a 1987 GSU graduate where he earned a bachelor of arts in arts history and a 1990 Southern University Law Center graduate.  

    From 2000 to 2012, Gallot held the District 11 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He served three terms in the house before winning his first term in the senate.

    “My lifelong roots in the Grambling community, combined with my record of serving this university and community as an attorney, city councilman, state representative, and state senator provide the type of leadership needed at this critical time. I do believe the core and brand of GSU remain strong and with the right leadership, we can achieve the stability and growth that we all know is possible. Higher education in Louisiana faces challenges unlike any time in our past.”
    Gallot and wife, Christy, have four sons. He is the son of former Grambling mayor, Richard Gallot Sr., and Dr. Mildred Gallot.

    Read more »
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    Researchers to reduce food deserts using vertical farming

    Researchers at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center are using vertical farming techniques to increase vegetable production in food deserts.
    Food deserts are areas described as lacking access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy whole foods. In Louisiana these areas are growing concern because many of its residents lack grocery stores within convenient traveling distance to access affordable, healthy food options.
    The goal is use these techniques—aeroponics, hydroponics, and aquaponics—to establish potential productivity of traditional row crops like tomatoes. Aeroponics, a soil-less process of growing plants by nourishing their suspended roots with air or mist. Hydroponics, a method of growing plants using only liquid nutrients in water, and Aquaponics, the soil-less growing of plants through the use of hydroponics and raising fish together in one system. These techniques have the ability to grow crops indoors, on balconies, and in limited spaces. According to researchers, this is especially beneficial in designated food desert areas. SU Ag Center researchers James Henson, PhD, Marlin Ford, Asebe Negatu, Ph.D. have begun growing lettuce, tomatoes, basil, bell peppers, and eggplants in the systems.
    ONLINE: www.suagcenter.edu

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    Reed becomes deputy under secretary

    Kim Hunter Reed has been appointed by President Barack Obama as deputy under secretary of education.

    Reed will be a member of the senior leadership team at the Department of Education that oversees higher education in the United States. She is the former chief of staff for the Louisiana Board of Regents and the former executive vice president of the University of Louisiana System. Earlier, she served on the faculty at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge and was executive assistant to the president and interim vice president of student affairs at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

    Reed earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and master of public administration degree at Southeastern Louisiana University. She holds a doctorate in public policy from Southern University.
     

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    Jones announces financial lecture and book tour

    What happens when you are taught to RAISE YOUR FINANCIAL I.Q., LEARN TO BUDGET YOUR MONEY, GET RID OF DEBT AND BUILD WEALTH from a self-made millionaire? Well, Above Average Group is excited to announce that best-selling author and motivational speaker, Paul D. Jones will be hosting a financial seminar and book tour starting April 2, 2016 from 10am – 1pm at the Sheraton Metairie where he will be answering these questions and more while motivating and inspiring you to “INVEST IN YOUR MIND”.

    A recognized “wealth builder” in the financial world, Jones has helped over 500 entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes optimize profits and experience exponential growth through increased customer loyalty. He’s the author of “Who Told You…You Were Broke?”, “Schedule for Success,” “What You and Your Kids Need to Know About Credit” and now announces his latest writing entitled, “I Quit” (Being Broke) in conjunction with his lecture tour, “Financial Literacy University”. This tour not only targets recent college graduates burdened by paralyzing student loan debt and wanting to start off their careers correctly after graduation, it also gives a plethora of useful investment information to those who would normally “splurge” or perhaps not know how to invest. In addition, the tour exhibits significant benefits for single parents and families who simply want to get out of debt and enjoy a peace of mind from excessive debt due to non-budgeting.

    Growing up just outside of Chicago and raised by a single mother who taught him the importance of giving back, Jones has taken that passion and applied it to his own career and uses it to empower others. Through this informative seminar and book tour, attendees will receive information on better managing their money, acquiring better spending habits, growing and budgeting their business and improving and building their credit. “I can’t stand a victim mentality”, Jones protest and because of his “take charge of your life” attitude, participants of the seminar will walk away with real world, pragmatic advise that they can implement immediately into their daily lives.

    The “Financial Literacy University” and “I Quit” seminar and book tour schedule is as follows:

    * New Orleans – April 2nd
    * Houston, TX – April 9th
    * Phoenix, AZ
    * Savannah, GA
    * Orlando, FL
    * Memphis, TN

    Registration is currently open for New Orleans and Houston areas. Other locations will be opening soon. For more information and to stay up-to-date on new cities added to the schedule, visit www.pauldjones.com.


    Available for Interviews
    Double XXposure Media| 201-224-6570 | N.J. Office/ Email: Theellerbeegroup@aol.com
    Atlanta – (678)439-9641/ Email: Foxmediaprinc@gmail.com

     
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    Pierre named Law Center chancellor

    The Southern University System Board of Supervisors named John K. Pierre to become the seventh chancellor of the Southern University Law Center, on March 18.

    Pierre, who is serving as interim SULC chancellor, was one of four finalists selected by a 14-member search committee to replace Freddie Pitcher Jr. who stepped down last June.

    “First I want to acknowledge the diligence of the Law Center Search Committee members for their considerable efforts in bringing forth four outstanding candidates,” said SU System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton.

    “After interviewing the final candidates and reviewing their qualifications along with committee and constituent feedback, I am happy to recommend John Pierre who is ably prepared to lead the SU Law Center,” said Belton.

    Pierre became interim chancellor of the Southern University Law Center effective July 1, 2015, and has been on the faculty of the Southern Law Center since 1990. He was promoted to associate vice chancellor for special projects in 2003, and to vice chancellor of institutional accountability and evening division, on October 1, 2006. Additionally, he teaches commercial law, tax law, contracts, and property.

    For seven years, Pierre was involved in the Baton Rouge school desegregation case as co-counsel for the Baton Rouge Branch of the NAACP in Davis v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. He was also co-counsel in the landmark case  McWaters v. FEMA.

    Pierre is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Texas Bar Association, and the Louisiana Certified Public Accountants.

    He has previous teaching experience as a visiting and adjunct professor at California State University, Southern Methodist University School of Law, Loyola University Law School, Southern University College of Business, Saint Leo’s College, Webster University, and Northwestern State University.

    He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southern University and A&M College in 1980, a master’s degree in tax accounting from Texas Tech University in 1982, and a juris doctor degree from the Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, in 1985.

    Pierre has published numerous articles on tax law, sales and contracts, real estate and commercial law, ranging from magazine features and law review articles.

    “I am truly honored and humbled by the opportunity presented to me,” said the chancellor-elect. “Thank you for your confidence in me.”

    Pierre acknowledged his wife, family members, and faculty and staff from the SU Law Center who he says share much of the credit for his success.

    “I think of my mother and my father on a day like this and I am grateful they gave me the spirit I have to serve. I will work hard to propel the SU Law Center to be the institution you want it to be,” said Pierre.

    Read more »
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    Ellis named seventh SU Shreveport chancellor

    The Southern University System Board of Supervisors named Rodney Ellis to become the seventh chancellor of Southern University Shreveport during the board’s Feb. 19th meeting.

    Ellis was one of three finalists selected by a 14-member search committee chaired by Willie C. White III, chief executive officer, David Raines Community Health Centers, to replace the previous chancellor Ray L. Belton who was named SU System President-Chancellor last June.

    “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Ellis who is a distinguished educator and administrator to the Southern University System family. His professional experience and knowledge along with his commitment to student achievement will align nicely with our mission and goals for our Shreveport campus,” said Belton.

    SU Board of Supervisors Chairman Leon R. Tarver II offered congratulations as well to the chancellor-elect who will lead the SU System’s Shreveport campus.

    Ellis, a higher-education consultant, is the former chancellor of Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC). Ellis previously served as executive vice president at Atlanta Technical College in Atlanta, Georgia. Ellis worked at Atlanta Technical College for nearly 13 years where he also served as vice president of IT, planning and development and director of institutional development. Prior to his service at Atlanta Technical College, Ellis served as institutional effectiveness specialist at the Technical College System of Georgia and senior research specialist at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation.

    Ellis earned his doctorate in higher education administration, with a specialization in community and technical college leadership, from the University of Georgia; a master of science in judicial administration from Auburn University at Montgomery; and a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Alabama.

    He has served on the Board of Directors for the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, Re-Entry Solutions, and the Rapides Parish Workforce Investment Board. He has also been an active member of the Rotary Club of Alexandria, getting recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. He previously served as a member of the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, the Atlanta Tech Civitan Club, the Atlanta Airport Chamber of Commerce, and the Atlanta Business League. He was also a member of the Atlanta Media and Film Community Jobs Task Force, the Atlanta Emerald Cities Green Jobs Task Force, and the Atlanta Beltline Employment Working Group.

    “I am very excited and humbled for this honor. I look forward to leading the Southern University Shreveport campus and thank Board Chairman Leon Tarver, all Board members, and President-Chancellor Ray Belton for this wonderful opportunity,” said Ellis.

    “This Board has taken a great deal of effort in its deliberations in selecting a chancellor for the SUSLA campus. The search committee did an excellent job in recommending three very capable candidates to interview. We look forward to Dr. Ellis bringing his expertise and energy in leading our Shreveport campus,” said Tarver.

    Read more »
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    Author of ‘Blackballed’ headlines Dillard University President’s Lecture Series, Feb 23

    From fraternities to administrative halls, American universities are failing to address serious race problems. In his new book, Lawrence Ross tells us how, and he brings the message to Dillard University, Feb. 23, at 7pm in the Georges Auditorium.

    A close review of racism at American universities could hardly come at a better time. Since last fall’s protests at the University of Missouri (in response to a string of racist incidents) and at Yale University (in response to an administrative letter exchange about race-based Halloween costumes), colleges across the country are grappling with difficult questions of racial justice. Lawrence RossBlackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses enters this conversation-a necessary polemic, if somewhat narrow in its focus. Ross is less concerned with the historical racial factors that have shaped university culture than with the daily experiences of racism on campus. The book’s target is the old assumption that racism ended with the legal abolishment of slavery-the assumption that banning something (in this case, segregative admissions policies) does away with whatever belief systems enabled the banned behavior in the first place.

    Blackballed by Lawrence Ross

    Blackballed by Lawrence Ross

    As Ross chronicles, it doesn’t. In 1923-more than 50 years after Harvard University officially banned admissions discrimination and graduated its first black student-the university decreed that “men of the white and colored races shall not be compelled to live and eat together,”  effectively forcing Black students to seek off-campus housing in whatever towns would have them. Such are the burdens on students who are “let in,” but not welcomed. That distinction between the notion of an opportunity (technically, black students can attend a particular school) and its reality (social and institutional forces impede those students’ success) has persisted into the 21st century.

    Throughout his survey of anti-Black racism on campus, Ross riffs on a few recurring themes, drawing largely from interviews with Black students who attended college over the last 50 years. A favorite theme is to view the Greek system as a case study in institutional racism. (Ross’ breakout non-fiction book was The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities in 2001.)

    A Brief History of the Dillard Presidential Lecture Series

    Beginning with the university’s first official president, William Stuart Nelson in the 1930s, public intellectual discourse has been a part of Dillard’s heritage. In the 1950s, Albert Dent organized the Edwin R. Embree Memorial Lecture Series whose guests included Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jackie Robinson. Subsequently, Dillard presidents have assembled lectures that reflected their sensibilities. During Samuel DuBois Cook’s tenure, 1974 to 1997, he established a lyceum series, but also built a fine arts center to provide a new venue for lectures, theater and music. Walter M. Kimbrough launched Brain Food in 2013, and has continued the tradition with speakers such as Iyanla Vanzant, Misty Copeland, Benjamin Crump and Michael Steele.

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    Weekend cultural celebration salutes Black health, inventors, musicians, Mardi Gras Indians

    The Baton Rouge community is invited to experience a fun-filled weekend of performances, historical displays and interactive cultural celebrations, Feb. 19-21 at the The Angel Heart Center, 3800 Florida Blvd. According to organizers The 2016 Baton Rouge Black History Celebration will salute Black inventors and scientists in the untold history of the United States of America.  

    Events begin Friday, Feb. 19, at 6pm with a welcoming introduction, movie screening, and review. At 8:30 p.m., the Lyricist Lounge opens “The Mic” for Poetry, Spoken Word, and musical performances, with a Live DJ on site. The weekend will include performances by jazz artist George Bell, vocalist Meagan Simone, and the African Dance Collective of Baton Rouge. The Black Inventions Museum will make a tour stop at the Angel Heart Center with customized historical exhibits highlighting the contributions of Louisiana’s inventors who were people of color, on display throughout the weekend.

    Jazz artist George Bel

    Jazz artist George Bel

    There will also be nutrition and health food samplings and children’s activities. Discussion panels will focus on: health, family and social structure, economics, politics and choices for 2016. Hosted on the campus of the Parris Cardiovascular Center’s Twilight Center & Spa, free blood pressure and diabetes screenings will be conducted by health professionals for adults. The three-day event is free and open to the public.

    On Saturday afternoon, 5-6pm, there will be an oral presentation by professor Umar Bey, spokesman for the twenty-five year old traveling museum. He will return to give a special presentation of The Origins of the Mardi Gras Indians with photographic works of New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians by Louisiana visual artist Chad Kristian which will be on display throughout the event.

    Cordel Parris, MD

    Cordel Parris, MD

    Photograph of Mardi Gras Indians by Chad Kristian. http://www.chadkristian.com

    Photograph of Mardi Gras Indians by Chad Kristian. http://www.chadkristian.com

    A cartoon workshop for children starts Saturday, Feb. 19, at 11am. From noon to 3pm, participants will screen excerpts from the Hidden Colors movie series focusing on economics, politics and our collective, current state of affairs, and share a panel discussions of the topics from 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. “This will be a positive, productive interactive dialogue. It is a chance to learn and share each other’s views, concerns, and solutions to mutual problems,” said organizers.

     

    At 3pm Sunday, Feb. 21, Dr. Cordel Parris, a local cardiologist, will moderate a panel discussion on physical, spiritual, and mental health issues, including a presentation on healthy, nutrition tips with local health professionals, underwritten by Sam’s Club.  At 5pm, professor Umar Bey will present The Origins of Mardi Gras Indians featuring Chad Kristian’s Mardi Gras Indian photography on display Friday-Sunday.  Local food, craft, and book vendors will be on site for the event.

    This celebration is sponsored by Parris Cardiovascular’s Twilight Center, The Bridge Educational Services LLC, Creative Solutions LA, and Hilltop Apiary LLC. The Traveling Black Inventors Museum is underwritten by  Educational Development Outreach Centers, Inc.

    ONLINE: https://www.facebook.com/2016BatonRougeBlackHistoryMonthCelebration/

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    Shabazz presents ‘Growing Up X’ at BREC event Feb 19

    The Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC) will celebrate Black History Month, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at the Independence Park Theatre, 7800 Independence Blvd. This event is free and open to the public.  

    BREC will present “Growing Up X” featuring guest speaker, Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of historical figures Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. She is a community organizer, social activist, motivational speaker and author of the critically acclaimed Growing Up X. Ilyasah promotes higher education, interfaith dialogue and building bridges between cultures for young leaders of the world.

    She produces The WAKE-UP Tour, an exclusive youth empowerment program and participates on international humanitarian delegations. She is the founder of Malcolm X Enterprises and is a trustee for The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. She also serves on the Board of the Harlem Symphony Orchestra, is a member of the Arts Committee for the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center and a project advisor for the PBS award-winning documentary, Prince Among Slaves.

    The program will also feature theatrical performances, musical selections and an interview with Shabazz.

    “We are pleased to welcome Ms. Shabazz to BREC as part of our annual celebration. We hope that by offering programs like this, we can honor those who played such important roles in the Civil Rights movement while reflecting on the progress that has been made over the past few decades,” said BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight. “Our hope is that we can use experiences like this to bring us closer together as a community,” said McKnight.

    This event is sponsored by the BREC Foundation, Cumulus Media, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, AmeriHealth Caritas of Louisiana, Main Street Pilot Club of Baker, Louisiana NAACP, NAACP Baton Rouge, Capital City Collision, Hotel Indigo, Dr. Leah S. Cullins, Apex Collegiate Academy, Dawn Collins for School Board, Senator Regina Barrow, Xi Nu Lambda Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., AARP Mid-Town LA Ch. #5433, Councilwoman Erika Green, WTQT Radio, Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Representative Patricia Haynes Smith.

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  • ,,

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR: It’s the leadership, Stupid!

    D

    ear Editor:

    I read an article in which the individual who the superintendent has responsible for overall district academic performance described the performance this past year as “impressive.” By whose standards? Of course, this would be the evasive response if one’s own job performance is tied to the fact that 19 of our schools declined under his or her leadership. These same individuals are quick to deem teachers and school leaders as being ineffective or emerging when they perform this way. This double standard is probably why talented individuals who know better are leaving our schools in herds.

    It has been well over five years. What do we have to show for it regarding academic performance that is considered impressive from general contractors and businesses points of view or the points of view of families looking to relocate?

    Let’s stop kidding ourselves. We all know that our Parish President and Hammond Mayor would not have to travel and try to recruit businesses to come to our parish and largest city if our district performance would speak for us.

    True leaders do not constantly shift the blame on items like poverty and parents. Nor, do they rely on the belief that money fixes all of our problems. Talented leaders are innovative and dynamic enough to figure a way to move forward in spite of.

    As for poverty, we all understand that poverty plays a role in all things including education. It becomes insulting when some assume citizens do not understand this. We also understand logic and potential. Logic reminds us of the simple fact that there are other districts that are not declining, but inclining (some pretty drastically) even though the poverty rates are high. This proves that our district can also move forward and at a much faster pace. To further bring this point home, logic also tells us that if a school like our beloved Independence Middle, which serves as a microcosm of a district in much worse shape demographically as ours (95% free/ reduced), can make significant gains in spite of, then we must consider that our district can and should be moving at such a pace.

    The issue is leadership. We have often said that we need fresh-minded, innovative, and proven educators to lead our district in making the gains we can all be proud of. I’m old and I get this.

    In addition, somewhere down the road, the current leaders of our school leaders must be held accountable. The individuals responsible for academics must be held accountable and the Superintendent must be held accountable for the leaders he chooses to lead principals. The NAACP does not support individuals simply because they are black. We support individuals who are effective in providing all kids, especially minority children, the quality education they deserve.
    Our record regarding the individuals we have supported to lead our schools proves such.

    My questions for our Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer are:
    1. Is it impressive that we seldom (if any within the last 5 years) have black kids in the 27+ club for ACT?
    2. Do either of you even know how many or what percentage of black seniors scored 27 or above this past year? 18?
    3. Is it impressive that only 13% of black kids are proficient?
    4. Is it impressive that almost every single high school’s end of course test performance declined? Were these exams “tougher”?
    5. Is it impressive that both East Baton Rouge Parish and Orleans (including recovery district) perform better than Tangi?
    6. Is it impressive that there are other districts with similar poverty rates that are inclining in overall performance?

    Again, I am appalled that such a description as “impressive” was made when considering where we are even with the talented teachers and leaders we still have in this parish. I become upset just thinking about the many black doctors and lawyers that could have been but are now in prison or poverty due to this way of thinking. Our kids deserve better. We definitely do not blame our teachers and school leaders. We blame the decisions and lack of vision and direction of their leaders.

    Again, the board has some difficult decisions to make, and we hope that they place children first and not politics.
    Patricia Morris
    President
    Greater Tangipahoa Parish Branch NAACP

    Read more »
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    Princeton to host academy for minority teen girls

    NEW YORK–For the sixth straight year, the At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy will be held on the campus of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. The Academy is one of the only summer institutes for minority teen girls to be held on an Ivy League campus.

    At the Well Academy is geared towards building leadership skills for minority girls entering the eleventh or twelfth grades of high school. This year’s Academy is scheduled for July 24 – August 5, 2016 at Princeton’s Friend Center. In 2015, almost 50 teenage scholars attended the competitive program.

    The Academy provides on-campus housing at Princeton University that allows the students to experience college life in an Ivy League setting. The curriculum has been developed to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills along with increasing leadership confidence. Facilitators include business leaders, entrepreneurs, and Princeton University staff who teach select classes.

    Admission is competitive and teens must possess a 3.0 G.P.A, and offer an essay as well as academic recommendations. Scholarships are available and need-based financial aid is available on a first-come basis. The deadline to submit an application is March 31, 2015.

    The Academy offers dynamic speakers, standardized test-taking strategies, critical reading courses, college essay writing classes, tutoring, group activities, and field trips. Each year, special guests provide dynamic presentations. The 2015 roster of speakers included marketing guru Terrie Williams, Brandi Harvey, Executive Director of the Steve Harvey Foundation and Yandy Smith executive producer of the television show “Love and Hip Hop.” 2014 roster included husband and wife actors, Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker. Our guest professors were Dr. Imani Perry from Princeton University and Dr. Brittney Cooper from Rutgers University.
    The academic achievement gap between minority teen students and their white counterparts along with the lack of female senior leadership in corporate America prompted Jacqueline B. Glass, CEO and Founder of At the Well Conferences, Inc., to create the Academy. According to Glass, “The U. S. Department of Education statistics state African Americans account for about 13% of the entire college enrollment. The low performance of African American students on standardized tests is alarming. Our preparatory program addresses these issues head-on.”

    About the program
    At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy is a program of At the Well Conferences, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization empowering teens since 2009. “The Academy seeks to empower young women locally to become effective leaders globally. By promoting excellence in education, these young women will transform their communities,” states Glass. For more information, go to www.atthewellconferences.org

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    Pickens named TSU vice president

    Eva K. Pickens was named vice president for university advancement at Texas Southern University in Houston. She has served in this role on an interim basis since September 2015. Pickens has been on the university’s staff for 25 years.

    Pickens is a graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she completed her journalism degree in three years.

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    Hilton named chief of staff at GSU

    Adriel A. Hilton, Ph.D., has been named chief of staff and executive assistant to the president at Grambling State University in Louisiana. He previously served as an assistant professor of higher education student affairs and director of the Higher Education Student Affairs program at Western Carolina University.

    Hilton holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehouse College, in Atlanta. He earned a master’s of applied social science from Florida A&M University, in Tallahassee and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Morgan State University in Baltimore.

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  • ,,

    Students use arts to bring World AIDS Day awareness

    KENTWOOD—French poet Victor Hugo said, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words.” On Dec. 1, this statement was backed by three lyricist at Kentwood High Magnet School as they battle rapped during the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s, “Dream Big! End It” World Aids Day event.

    Contestants were challenged to develop an artistic piece for their peers that would bring awareness about ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    More than 200 students filled the Kentwood High School gym anxiously waiting to cheer on their favorite contestant. AIDS Healthcare Foundation Regional Coordinator Sashika Baunchand told students about the startling statistics on HIV/AIDS cases that were just released this month.

    Kentwood High School Battle Rapped winners from left are Corey Moore second place winner Lil' James Gibson third place winner and Cornelius Moore first place winner

    Kentwood High School Battle Rapped winners from left are Corey Moore second place winner Lil’ James Gibson third place winner and Cornelius Moore first place winner

    For example, the Baton Rouge metro area ranks second among major United States metro areas for new HIV infection diagnoses, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

    Comedian Tony King told the youth that these statistics were not being “shared to scare them, but to help them make sound decisions when it comes to things that can ultimately affect their future.”

    “Ending the AIDS epidemic is possible, but only by educating our youth and connecting them with people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services,” said Baunchand.

    The World AIDS Day activities began at the St. Helena College and Career Academy, as gifted and talented art students Shy’Janae Hookfin and Javier Smith unveiled the “Dream Big! End It” social change mural.

    Students at Kentwood High Magnet School gathered during their lunch shift for a Poetry Slam, using word play to encourage their peers to dream big and end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    Organizers said “Dream Big! End It” means empowering youth in Louisiana, to take a stand for people who may not necessarily be able to stand for themselves.

    “It encourages the students to be a voice of reason when their peers are being pressured into compromising situations. It also opens the door for dialogue with key decision makers in congress when youth dream big to end this crippling epidemic,” said Nicolette Gordon, assistant area youth agent at the SU Ag Center.

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    Saul takes top engineering prize

    Industrial engineering senior Briana Saul recently received first place at the LSU Undergraduate Research Conference for Engineering Level 2 Researchers.

    “The first year I presented, as a Level 1 researcher, I didn’t win anything,” Saul said. “It’s funny to see how everything has turned around. It was definitely my goal to my push myself further, and it paid off.”

    Saul’s award-winning presentation featured research on the handoff process, the passing of information between two professionals during a shift change, in the community paramedic program in the East Baton Rouge Parish.

    This research project is the result of a grant application Saul was introduced to during a conference. In December 2014, she applied for the Supervised Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) grant, a grant supported by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The SURE grant requires applicants to conceptualize their own research interests and projects, collect and analyze data and report the findings.

    “The community paramedic program is different from most handoff programs. With other occupations you complete a 12-hour shift, handoff off your information within 10 minutes and you’re one,” Saul said. “With the paramedic program, you’re handing off information after one month of completing a shift.”

    With her research, Saul aimed to answer the questions: How are they handing off this information after one full month of a shift? How much are they handing off? How much of this information is retained?

    Though Saul was unable complete the implementation process of program, she was able to collect the necessary feedback and data.

    “One phase of data collection focused on how prepared the paramedic was before going on a shift or visit,” Saul said.

    Saul collected data through multiple practices, including ride-along sessions with community paramedics, surveys and general observations. The next set of data was to measure the amount of information that was shared and then retained.

    “They had meetings where they would discuss what went on throughout the month, and I’d ask the ongoing paramedic the five things I was looking for. I’d then follow up with looking at the agreement percentage between what was said by the previous paramedic.”

    The Austin, TX native also received an honorable mention the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Fall Regional Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, for her paramedic research the day after she received her first place recognition.

    Much of Saul’s campus involvement included NSBE, a student-led organization of which she was a member of for six years.

    Read more at LSU

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    SU Ag Center’s Fall Gardening Workshop Draws Large Crowd of Gardeners

    The near-freezing morning temperature didn’t stop almost 100 attendees from showing up for the Southern University Ag Center’s Fall Gardening Workshop, held on November 24 in A.O. Williams Hall – SU Ag Center.

    Prior to the start of the program, attendees were treated to smoothies and a juice breakfast bar made from vegetables grown in the Center’s Urban Demonstration Farm. Stephanie Elwood, Extension Associate at the SU Ag Center, provided the attendees with recipes to make the smoothies and juices at their homes during her presentation on Fall Season Planting and Smoothie and Juice Gardens.

    SU Ag Center Vice Chancellor for Extension Dr. Gina E. Eubanks welcomed the packed crowd to the workshop and to the Southern University Ag Center.

    Other presentations included Pollinators and Pests: Encouraging Healthy Ecosystems, which explained how some insects assist in the pollination of plants; Bee Keeping: Raising Queen Bees in the City, which discussed how to transplant a queen into a bee colony and maintain a bee colony in an urban environment; The Human Element: Maintaining and Growing an Urban Agriculture Community, which focused on community gardening and Non-traditional Uses for Traditional Crops, such as harvesting and selling banana leaves and making jelly from corn cobs.

    Attendees were also given the opportunity to share topics that they would like to learn more about during the next workshop with the Ag Center’s staff.

    The workshop ended with a tour of the Southern University Ag Center’s greenhouses and its Urban Demonstration Farm.

    The Fall Gardening Workshop was co-sponsored by the Southern University Ag Center, its Wisteria Alliance Program and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program.

    For additional information about gardening, the SU Ag Center’s Urban Demonstration Farm or to schedule a tour of the Farm, contact Mila Berhane, Stephanie Elwood, Dawn Mellion Patin or Zanetta Augustine at 225-771-2242.

    PHOTO: Zanetta Augustine, Extension Associate at the SU Ag Center standing on far right in purple, leads Fall Gardening Workshop attendees on a tour of the Center’s greenhouse on November 24. (Photo by LaKeeshia G. Lusk, SU Ag Center.)

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    LaPlace Elementary School wins grant for its first music program in a decade

    Toyota and VH1 Save The Music have completed their national music festival activation and social media campaign to benefit music education. The campaign came to a close last weekend as Toyota presented LaPlace Elementary with a grant that will fund an entire instrumental music program for the school. This will be the first time in over a decade that the New Orleans area elementary has been able to provide music education to its students.

    The grant was achieved through an interactive festival activation and social media campaign implemented at music festivals nationwide including Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Nocturnal Wonderland, Life is Beautiful and Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. The activation engaged with festivalgoers through a life sized Whispering Willow tree on the festival grounds. Participants were asked to write what music means to them on a leaf, hang the leaf on the tree, take a photo, and post to social media with the hashtag #ToyotaGiving. For each social media post, Toyota donated $1 to VH1 Save The Music.

    With the five festival run complete, Toyota was able to fulfill a $30,000 donation to VH1 Save The Music, a grant substantial enough to restore a musical instrument program for the entire school. LaPlace Elementary School was selected as the grant recipient for a multitude of factors. Not only is it the largest elementary school in the Parish, servicing more than 1,000 students, but the school had no music education program in place. With this grant, LaPlace was able to hire a music teacher to implement an instrumental music program that will now thrive with the instruments and equipment purchased and donated by the Foundation.

    At a school wide assembly on Friday, Oct 30, executives from Toyota and VH1 Save The Music met with the Principal and new music teacher and previewed the new music curriculum. Genre-defying artist Santigold treated the students to a live performance.

    CS_uPrNWsAA9UTt“Music has given me the opportunity to explore the world and connect with people internationally,” said Santigold. “My music studies helped me turn my passion into my living and gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams and nurture my creativity. I am proud to support the VH1 Save the Music campaign and the students of LaPlace Elementary in New Orleans. All of our children deserve and need music education.”

    “Toyota is honored to help further music advocacy with a grant to support the creation of an instrumental music program at LaPlace Elementary School,” says Steve Appelbaum, National Manager of Engagement Marketing, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “A curriculum that includes music is invaluable in igniting the passion and curiosity that encourages thinking outside of the box. Music invites innovation – and innovation changes the world.”

    “We are so grateful for the Toyota’s commitment as well as the participation of Santigold and all of the outstanding artists who lent their support and efforts in the music festivals and social media campaign,” says Paul Cothran, Executive Director of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. “Toyota’s leadership and generosity in this highly successful campaign made it possible for the Foundation to provide a full package of instruments, restoring for the students of LaPlace Elementary School access to the exceptional benefits of music study, creative expression and opportunities for brighter futures.”

    “We are grateful that so many people would come together to help a school most probably haven’t even heard of,” says Superintendent Kevin George. “We would like them to know that our students are making music again and we are laying a foundation that we hope will follow them throughout their lives.”

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    Quinton Jason turned love of the Web into a life-changing career

    Quinton Jason was first drawn to the instant gratification of coding in a high school computer literacy class. What started as an interest grew to a passion, which eventually led him to graduate with a computer science degree. However, in the years that followed, Quinton drifted away from the industry. Instead, he dabbled in retail work, the food industry, and telemarketing, but continually found himself uninspired and unfulfilled.

    When a position as a customer support technician led Quinton back to the keyboard, he made the decision to return to his original career path and chose the East Baton Rouge Parish Library and Treehouse to help him accomplish that. Before long, Quinton had gained a solid foundation of skills and was ready to embark on a career in the web industry.

    Today, Quinton is the interactive director at Xdesign in Baton Rouge. He has also taken his love for the web one step further by speaking at tech conferences, including Future Insights Live 2015. Quinton is proud of his new career path and is embracing the opportunity to share his knowledge and passion for the industry he’d always dreamed of being a part of.

    Read Faye Bridge’s interview with Quinton on TeamTreehouse.com

    Read more »
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    19 farmers graduate from SU ag institute

    Nineteen small farmers from LOUIsiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia,Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas were honored during a graduation ceremony on Friday, Sept. 18 for completing their two-year course of study in the Southern University Ag Center’s Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute.

    The graduation ceremony marked the completion of the Institute’s 10th class.

    United States Department of Agriculture’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Joe Leonard served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Leonard praised the SU Ag Center’s administrators and Dawn Mellion-Patin,Ph.D., director of the Institute, for sharing the program with not only the citizens of Louisiana; but the Southern region of the country.

    “This is the best part of my job,” said Leonard, “meeting you all.” Leonard went on to thank the participants for the time they invested
    and encouraged them to continue to learn. “We see you and honor the accomplishments that you have made. We are looking forward to greater accomplishments,” said Leonard.

    The Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute graduates are Decetti Taylor, Tuskegee, AL; Travis Collins, Eudora, AR; Howard Brown,
    Eudora, AR; Alvis Hicks, Pensacola, FL; ShyeastaCullars– Athens, GA; Eric Simpson, West Point, GA; Elmer Miller, Stanford, KY; Ronnie Venson – Boyce, LA; Michael Atkins, Bastrop, LA; Terry Jackson, New Orleans, LA; Valerie Milligan, Jackson, LA; Roberta McKowen – Jackson, LA; Evelyn Jackson, Jackson, LA; Theresa Brewer-Cook, Crystal Spring, MS; Ronald Simmons, Kenansville, NC; Chase Reynolds, Salisbury, NC; Henry Houser, Bowman, SC; John Frazier, Salters, SC; and Jessie Denise Prejean, Hempstead, TX.

    L. Washington Lyons, Ph.D, executive administrator of the Association of Executive Administrators presided over the program. SU Ag Center interim chancellor Adell Brown Jr., Ph.D., provided a welcome and opening remarks and vice chancellor for extension Gina E. Eubanks, Ph.D., provided the program’s closing remarks. The ceremony was also attended by Kevin Norton, Director of Louisiana’s USDA National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Craig McCain, Director of Louisiana’s USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). About the Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute The Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute is a two-year course of study specifically designed
    to guide small, socially disadvantaged, limited resource and/or minority farmers through the transformative process of becoming successful agricultural entrepreneurs.

    The goal of the Institute is to promote the sustainability of small family farms through enhanced business management skills and leadership development. The leadership institute has taken the majority of the participants from being just small producers through the mindset of being great producers with limited acreage, herds or holdings.

    The SU Ag Center is collaborating with the Southern University Law Center, Alcorn State University – Small Farm Development Center, Prairie View A & M University – Cooperative Extension Program and North Carolina A & T State University – Cooperative Extension Program to bring the Institute to the farmers in various locations.

    ONLINE: www.suagcenter.com/small-farmers.
    Photo by Cheryl Ferlygood

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  • ,,,,

    High school students travel to protest Mississippi flag

    Twenty Louisiana Students Traveled to Mississippi to Rally & March over State Flag

    Students from Kentwood High Magnet School and St. Helena College and Career Academy,traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, on October 11 to participate in the One Flag for All Mississippians March and Rally.

    The 20 students were engaged during their civics classes on the importance of letting their voices be heard, and the many ways they can get involved to do so. This sparked their interest in participating in the history making event.

    The march and rally–which attracted more than 200 participants–were organized by local leaders and was led by South Carolina State Representative Jenny Horne, rapper and former Southern University SGA president David Banner, and civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams to show support of Initiative 55, which calls for the removal of the Confederate battle emblem from the State of Mississippi’s flag.

    Standing from left on the steps of the Mississippi State Capitol during a rally following the One Flag for All March are, South Carolina State Rep. Jenny Horne, civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, rapper David Banner, and Mississippi activist Sharron Brown.

    Standing from left on the steps of the Mississippi State Capitol during a rally following the One Flag for All March are, South Carolina State Rep. Jenny Horne, Civil Rights Activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, Former SU SGA President & Rapper David Banner and Sharron Brown.

    The march began at the intersection of J.R. Lynch and Rose Street and ended at the steps on the south side of the Mississippi State Capitol, where the rally lasted from 3:40 p.m. to 5 p.m.

    “We shouldn’t have a flag that represents a bad time in our history,” said Sharron Brown, who proposed Initiative 55 to the Mississippi legislature which would force a constitutional amendment to change the flag. Brown has started collecting signatures for the initiative, and she said she is hoping to see it on the state’s ballot in 2018.

    The students traveled from Baton Rouge with Southern University Ag Center’s assistant area agent Nicolette Gordon, youth coordinator Toni Melton, and St. Helena College & Career Academy’s civics teacher Idella Smith.

    Submitted by the Southern University Ag Center

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    Southeastern University names homecoming court

    Fourteen Southeastern Louisiana University students have been chosen as members of the 2015 Homecoming queen and beau
    courts. The seven women and seven men will reign over Homecoming festivities Oct. 12- 17. Chosen as members of
    the queen court are (L to r): seniors Jamie Lynn Ban, New Orleans; Allison Etzel, League City, Tex.; Si-Arah McCray,
    Baton Rouge; and Jasmine Wilson, Franklinton; juniors Ashley Nelson, Loranger; and Randi St. Pierre, St. Amant;
    and sophomore Christina Ferrando, Mandeville.

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    Attorneys say Moore vs. Tangi schools far from over, community needs to act

    Gideon Carter and Nelson Taylor

    Attorney Gideon Carter, NAACP Tangipahoa president Pat Morris, and attorney Nelson Taylor

    HAMMOND—Lead attorney for the ongoing civil rights case against the Tangipahoa Parish School Board Nelson D. Taylor and Gideon T. Carter told parents and community leaders that the case is not over and the courts have not approved the Duncan Plan, although some reports state 0therwise. Parents and leaders gathered at the African American Heritage Museum were concerned about the large number of students transferring to different schools under the Duncan Plan.

    Under the Duncan Plan, 200 white students from North Loranger will be bus to Amite, 300 white students from the Champ Cooper Robert area will be bused to Hammond. Three hundred Black students west of Hammond will be bused to Ponchatoula.

    Sandra Simmons and Angela Baldassasro

    Sandra Simmons and Angela Baldassasro

    Loranger resident Angela Baldassaaro said, “if the school board accepts the Duncan Plan my child will be attending a failing school in Amite. Make Amite schools like Hammond schools I will be glad to send my child to Amite.”

    Residents from the North and South ends of the parish want all schools to be the same. Taylor said racism is alive in Tangipahoa Parish.“Black students are being expelled from school like running water,” he said, “the school board is hostile toward the court appointed compliance officer.”

    “The school board continues to do what they always did. Don’t hire Black teachers and fire the ones they do have. They promise to build three new schools, and they are not building them. There is a power circle in this parish (with) the school board and judges. The Black community needs to take action,” said Taylor. “We are up against some top-notch lawyers. The community needs to raise some funds, because we need to talk to some people, we need depositions and that cost money. Raise funds and manage those funds,” said Taylor.

    By Eddie Ponds
    The Drum Publisher

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    Ag Twitter Town Hall planned for Oct. 14

    The Southern University Ag Center will participate in the Ag Is America Twitter Town Hall on Oct. 14 from 9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

    Researchers and extension experts from the Southern University Ag Center, along with the University of the District of Columbia, Kansas State University and North Dakota State University will be available to answer questions about various programs during the Town Hall.

    The SU Ag Center will specifically discuss its “Fast Track Gardening Program,” which provides agricultural training to incarcerated and adjudicated youth, during the meeting.

    The general public is invited to tweet questions about the program to @AgisAmerica and include the hashtag #AGisChat in your tweet. For additional information about the SU Ag Center’s Fast Track Gardening Program, visit http://www.suagcenter.com

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    Brown named SU Executive VP, provost

    The Southern University System has selected M. Christopher Brown II as the new executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. Brown has more than 10 years of experience in higher education administration including serving as president of Alcorn State University in Mississippi, and as executive vice president and provost at Fisk University in Tennessee.

    Brown, who is currently senior fellow, Division of Academic Leadership and Change, for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, DC, was chosen from a pool of candidates after a nationwide search to fill the new SUS cabinet position. The search committee, co-chaired by retired SU chemistry professor William E. Moore and Sonya Hester, Southern University Shreveport Faculty Senate president, was comprised of SU faculty from each campus, students, staff, alumni, and community stakeholders.

    Prior to serving as the18th president of Alcorn State University and before his appointment at Fisk, he served as dean of the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, vice president for programs and administration at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, director of social justice and professional development for the American Educational Research Association, as well as executive director and chief research scientist of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute of the United Negro College Fund. Brown has held faculty appointments at Pennsylvania State University, George Mason University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Bowie State University, West Virginia University, Indiana University, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

    “We are pleased that Dr. Brown will join the SUS team,” said Ray L. Belton, SU System president-chancellor. “He is a dynamic and innovative administrator who has demonstrated a high level of engagement working productively with faculty and staff in higher education. Dr. Brown’s extensive academic background and his executive leadership qualities are commensurate with our immediate vision to sustain and enlarge the SU System.”

    Brown is the author/editor of 17 books and monographs. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and publications related to education and society.  Regarded as an international scholar, he has lectured and/or presented research in various countries on six of seven continents – Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

    “I am humbled by this honor. I look forward to working with President-Chancellor Belton to help realize his vision for the SU System,” said Brown.

    He was the recipient of the 2001 Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Promising Scholar/Early Career Award, the 2002 AERA Committee on Scholars of Color Early Career Contribution Award, the 2007 Philip C. Chinn Book Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education, the 2008 Association of Teacher Educators Distinguished Educator Award, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Commission on Access, Diversity, and Excellence 2013 Distinguished Service Award. He also was recognized with a 2013 Trofeu Raca Negra (Black Race Trophy) from the Honors Council of the Society of Afro-Brazilian Socio-Cultural.

    A former member of the South Carolina State University Board of Trustees, Brown is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, the 100 Black Men of America, Rotary International, a 33rd degree Free and Accepted Mason Prince Hall Affiliation, and an ordained Baptist minister.  

    The Charleston, South Carolina native holds a Ph.D. in higher education from The Pennsylvania State University, a master of science in education policy and evaluation from the University of Kentucky, and a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from South Carolina State University.

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  • Southern begins search for Shreveport, Law Center leaders

    Two separate search committees comprised of a diverse group of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and stakeholders will screen applicants and select finalists for two SU System campus chancellors.

    The Southern University Shreveport (SUSLA) and the SU Law Center (SULC) Search Committees will assist the SU System with selecting replacements for Ray L. Belton, the former SUSLA chancellor who was named SU System President-Chancellor in June, and for retired judge Freddie Pitcher Jr. who stepped down as SULC chancellor in June.

    “We will rely on the deliberations and experience of these select groups of knowledgeable individuals as we seek qualified and dynamic leaders for our nationally recognized community college campus and our Law Center,” said Belton, who also is serving as an ex-officio member on both committees.

    The SUSLA committee is scheduled to meet Thursday, Oct. 1, in the Jesse Stone Science Lecture Hall, at noon. The SULC committee will hold its initial meeting Tuesday, Oct. 6, in the Board of Supervisors’ Meeting Room, 2nd floor, J.S. Clark Administration Building, at 3pm. 

    The Southern University Shreveport Chancellor Search Committee includes, from SUSLA:  Levi Brown, SGA president; Larry Ferdinand, executive director for corporate and business development and SU alumnus; S. Albert Gilliam, interim chancellor; Sonya D. Hester, associate professor of English and Faculty Senate president; Janice Sneed, vice chancellor, Community and Workforce Development and Title III; and Tiffany Williams Varner, director, School of Nursing. Other members of the 12-member SUSLA committee include SU alumni:  Dottie Bell, a retired educator and former SU Board of Supervisors member; retired Caddo District Judge Leon Emanuel; attorney Wendell Piper, president, SUSLA Foundation Board of Directors; E. Jean Ware, a retired educator; and Frank Williams, executive director, SUSLA Foundation. The committee’s chairman is Willie C. White III, chief executive officer, David Raines Community Health Centers. Bell and Gilliam will serve as co-chairs.

    The 13-member SU Law Center Chancellor Search Committee will be chaired by SULC alumnus Dwayne Murray, partner, Murray and Murray Law Firm, and vice-chaired by SULC alumna Erin Monroe Wesley, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Baton Rouge Area Chamber. SULC faculty, student, and staff representatives are Alfreda Diamond, interim vice chancellor for institutional accountability and evening division; Angela Scott-Gaines, computer support specialist; Patrick Harrington, president, Student Bar Association and student member, Louisiana Board of Regents; attorney Virginia Listach, director, Law Clinic; Andrea Love, director of recruitment; and attorney Winston Riddick, a retired SULC professor. SULC alumni representatives are:  Timothy Hardy, partner, Roedel, Parsons, Koch, Blache, Balhoff and McCollister Law Firm and member of the Louisiana Technical and Community College System Board of Supervisors; Louisiana State Representative Edward “Ted” James; Domoine Rutledge, general counsel, East Baton Rouge Parish School System, and president, SU System Foundation Board of Directors; attorney Willie James Singleton; and attorney Joseph K. “Joe” West, president and CEO, Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

    Read more »
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    Southern University campuses boast ‘significant’ freshman class

    SU System overall fall enrollment up

    Targeted recruitment campaigns, an innovative alumni enrollment initiative, and creative recruitment strategies helped boost Fall 2015 enrollment for the Southern University System, said university officials in a news release.

    Overall enrollment for the SU System increased by 490 students (12,884), nearly four percent.

    Enrollment numbers show the overall enrollment for the SU System flagship campus in Baton Rouge increased by more than 200 students over the previous year.

    The freshman class enrollment increased by 31 percent. A breakdown of the Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR) enrollment data indicates 6,389 students with 1,210 new freshmen.

    “These figures are encouraging for a number of reasons. First, they signify the much-anticipated news that Southern University’s enrollment woes have bottomed out and that we are entering a new era of modest, yet consistent, enrollment growth. I am confident that 2015 marks the beginning of a new chapter in this institution’s history. Second, our enrollment increases will infuse more general fund and auxiliary dollars into the Baton Rouge campus to support academic instruction, research, student support services, and campus life programs,” said SU System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton.

    Last year, the Baton Rouge campus began a recruiting campaign, “Pathway to Prominence,” that directly correlated to an influx of applications for admission. Campaign tour stops in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Texas allowed students to hear from University administrators and student government leaders, as well as hear and see the SU Jaguar Marching Band and cheerleaders perform.

    The SU National Alumni Federation and the SU Foundation provided critical support for the SUBR Office of Admissions to hire three additional recruiters that are housed in Illinois, Georgia, and Texas.

    “This year’s success is the result of the shared effort of Jaguars across the country. Southern University is witnessing the first significant enrollment gain in nearly a decade. Despite my satisfaction regarding our student count, it is what we cannot count that means the most to me. We will never be able to count the hours that students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners contributed to realizing this goal,” said Brandon K. Dumas, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, SUBR.

    The SU Baton Rouge fall freshmen class comes from 30 states and the District of Columbia. The top five states are Louisiana, Texas, Illinois, Georgia, and Florida. The top five declared majors include nursing, business management, criminal justice, biology, and mechanical engineering.

    Southern University Shreveport’s (SUSLA) enrollment count for Fall 2015 is 3,174, compared to 2,952 last year, constituting a 7.1 percent increase in enrollment.

    Recruitment efforts at the Shreveport campus also combine both traditional and new protocols. “Southern Sundays have proven to be beneficial,” said SUSLA enrollment management director Terrence Vinson.

    The Southern Sundays initiative involves administrators, faculty, staff, and students attending local and regional churches to disseminate information about enrollment opportunities at SUSLA. Additionally, SUSLA has targeted recruitment of HiSet graduates. HiSet students are those students who have successfully completed the Educational Testing Service HISET® exam, the new alternative to the GED® test, which allows them to have a state-issued high school equivalency credential. 

    Southern University New Orleans (SUNO) fall enrollment stands at 2,704, compared to 2,674 for Fall 2014.

    The 2,704 students include 210 first-time freshmen, a 45 percent increase from the Fall 2014 figure of 145. With the addition of 206 students enrolled at SUNO in a joint-program with SUSLA, close to 3,000 students are currently taking classes on both SUNO’s Park and Lake campuses.

    “I am happy to report that we met our enrollment goals this year,” said SUNO Chancellor Victor Ukpolo. “The increase is the result of the hard work demonstrated by our faculty, staff, and administrators to provide the best educational environment for incoming students.”

    Bucking the trend of declining enrollment for law schools across the country, the Southern University Law Center (SULC) enrollment for Fall 2015 is 617, up by 37 students.

    SULC Interim Chancellor John Pierre said the Law Center has implemented a number of strategies and programs for prospective students, to try to get them in the door.

    “One important item the Law Center is emphasizing to prospective students is cost and value,” said Pierre. “Nationally, Southern still has one of the lowest tuition rates, but with an exceptional legal program for students that offers an experience that most other law schools can’t compete with.”

    In addition to touting the value of their programs, SULC is offering enrollment options that will allow students greater flexibility and time to complete their degrees. One particular option is the part-time, day and evening program.

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    Mayor’s youth advisory council seeks new high school members

    Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden announces that the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council is searching for youth leaders from all area high schools and homeschoolers to join the council to advocate for the youth of their communities, collaborate to tackle issues in the area through community projects, and foster leadership and character development amongst their peers.

    Parents and youth (grades 9th-12th) of East Baton Rouge Parish are invited to attend an Information and Recruitment meeting Tuesday, September 15, 2015, where they will learn more about the program and application procedures and meet the advisors. The Information and recruitment meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library located at 7771 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806.

    The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council is looking for youth who are residents of East Baton Rouge Parish, currently enrolled in 9th through 12th grade, and are passionate about youth advocacy and making a difference in their community. There are no requirements to apply. Council members are expected to attend all meetings and events, demonstrate a strong commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy, and maintain positive and respectful attitudes at all times. Youth must show initiative and take responsibility for their actions. When applying we ask that if selected, members keep in mind that they will not only represent themselves, but their families, communities, the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council and the Office of Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden.

    The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council will offer approximately 80 youth from diverse backgrounds a chance to participate in a program that believes youth are the leaders of today as well as tomorrow. Youth will partake in professional development seminars, leadership training, service projects, team building exercises, and field trips. The council seeks to elevate youth voices in the community and provide youth with the unique opportunity to be the drivers of their own ideas from conceptualization to implementation and reflection.

    Community, parents/family members, youth, faith-based organizations, and educators are invited to encourage youth who are interested to fill out an online application.  Online applications will be available beginning Friday, September 18, 2015, and will close Friday, October 2, 2015. Applications can be found at http://myacbr.com/apply/  The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council will announce application decisions at the beginning of October 2015.

    For more information, please contact Jonas Augustine at (225) 389-4222 or via email at jaugustine@brgov.com  or Kia Bickham at (225) 389-3100 or via email at Kbickham@brgov.com  in the Office of the Mayor- President.

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    NBR Initiative to host Aug. 27 discussion with Superintendent Drake

    Members  of  the  community‐led initiative  Our  Schools…Our  Excellence  (OSOE)  are  hosting an  open  forum  with  East  Baton  Rouge  Parish  School  System  Superintendent  Warren Drake, Thursday,  August  27, 6pm, at Star  Hill  Church, 1400 N. Foster Dr.    

    An  Evening  with  Superintendent  Drake  is  purposed  to  connect  the  North  Baton  Rouge  community  with  the  new  parish  leader  as  he  shares  his  plan  for   schools  in  North  Baton  Rouge.  

     “I  believe  it  is  critical  that  we  engage  our  stakeholders  from  every  area  of  the  parish  in  a  discussion  about  the  future  of  East  Baton  Rouge  Parish  schools.  I  look  forward  to  the  opportunity  to  meet  with  members  of  the  North  Baton  Rouge  community  to  address  issues  of  importance  to  them,” said Drake.

    Since  taking  over  as  superintendent,  Drake  has  shared what  he  believes  is  required  to  improve  the  education  ecosystem  in the parish. OSOE leaders said Drake’s  plan  “greatly  aligns  with  OSOE’s  Community  Compact.  Thus,  our  goal  is  clear:  to  allow  Superintendent  Drake  to  explain  his  vision  to  an  audience  that  needs  it  most,  and  to  challenge  the  community  to  work  with  our  new  leader  to  see  it  come  to  pass.”

    The meeting is free and open to the public but registration at  https://eveningwithdrake.eventbrite.com is encouraged.

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    Wheeler leaves for Kentucky State University

    Erin Wheeler, Ph.D., has been appointed assistant vice president for academic support services at Kentucky State University. She was a biology instructor at Southern University and A&M College, an adjunct biology instructor at American InterContinental University Online, and a STEM learning strategy consultant with the Center for Academic Success at Louisiana State University.

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    Meet the Team Celebration

    The Hammond High Magnet School Touchdown Club cordially invites students, parents, and fans to the annual “Meet the Team Celebration,” Sat., August 15,  10am – noon at the HHMS football field.

    The celebration is open to the public.

    It will feature the introduction of the 2015 Tornado freshman, junior varsity, and varsity football teams by Head Coach Cecil Thomas. Other activities will include performances by the Torettes and cheerleaders. Concessions, raffle items, 50/50 drawing, and door prizes will be available.

    “We ask everyone to come out to help honor the hard work and dedication of our players and coaches by attending this event. This event is an excellent opportunity to meet the families and friends of our young athletes and coaching staff and allow us to take pride in their accomplishments as we kick off the 2015 season,” said organizers.

    Season tickets and parking passes will be on sale. For more information, please contact Coach Cecil Thomas at cecil.thomas@tangischools.org.

    @jozefsyndicate

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  • School starts this week!

    The first day of school for public school students in East Baton Rouge Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, East Feliciana Parish, St. Mary Parish and Point Coupee Parish is Thursday, August 6, and teachers and parents are ready. Public school students in Livingston Parish and St. Helena Parish will return to school on Friday, August 7. On Monday, August 10, public school students in Assumption Parish, Ascension Parish and West Baton Rouge Parish will begin the new school year.

     

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    Scotlandville area elementary schools come together for Back-to-School Bash, Aug. 3

    The East Baton Rouge Parish School System elementary schools serving the students of the Scotlandville area are coming together on Monday, August 3, noon – 2 pm for a Back-to-School Bash, at Progress Elementary School, 855 Progress Road.

    To get students excited and prepared for the 2015-16 school year. Families of students currently enrolled or interested in enrolling in Crestworth, Ryan and Progress Elementary Schools are invited to participate in the Back-to-School Bash from noon to 2 p.m. at Progress Elementary.

    The event is designed to bring together the Scotlandville community for a time to learn more about the community partnerships and the three elementary schools. Students and parents will have an opportunity to meet school staffs, register onsite, and receive free school supplies. Community partners will be on hand to provide information on adult educational opportunities and career options. There will also be health care information available.

    The celebration will include a DJ, face painting, BREC on the Geaux mobile recess activities, as well as refreshments, inflatables and other fun for the entire family. More than 10 area barbers and hair stylists will be providing free basic services to students as they get set to go back to school.

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    SUS Million Dollar March kicks off

    The Southern University System Foundation kicked-off its second annual Million Dollar March campaign July 23, 2015, at the Donald C. Wade House on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus.

    The 90-day viral campaign endeavors to bring campaign volunteers and the business community together via email, text, and social media posts in effort to secure philanthropic contributions to support the five campuses of the Southern University System.

    Southern University System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton Ph.D. said, “I am overwhelmed to have the opportunity to be in the midst of the Southern University supporters who give unselfishly of themselves to the Million Dollar March, and I am excited to be among those who make sure the University has the infrastructure to support the goals and aspirations of the Southern University System.”

    SUSF Foundation Board Chairman Domoine D. Rutledge said the success of the Million Dollar March means the University will continue to grow and remain stable. Rutledge reminded the audience that, “as we work for Southern we must remember that we are remnants of the legacy of Southern and with that comes the great obligation to stand and confront the challenges and overcome those challenges to embrace the future of our University.”

    Agricultural sciences and animal science major, Robert Easly Jr. echoed the sentiments of Rutledge, as he stated his experiences as a SU student and his gratitude to the SUSF donors who support students like him. SU student Robert Easly Jr. The Opelousas native is a testament of the positive impact of philanthropy, and says that he is proud to serve his University as a SUSF Jag Talker. “As a first-generation college student, I was afraid of the challenge I was about to face. Today, I can say that Southern University not only paved the path that led me to my highest potential, but also did the same for countless of other students. I learned about resilience, tradition, and pride. Most importantly, I learned that the true purpose of living is to take what you have received and give it back,” said Easly.

    Last year, the MDM generated $1.2 million in cash. That success stemmed from the dedication of volunteers who contributed their time and loyalty to the cause to support SU. “People give to people for good causes, and the success of the Million Dollar March will be based on the work that we do as volunteers,” said Alfred E. Harrell III, chief executive officer for the SUSF. Harrell adds that, “The impact of that success can be seen from the work of the SU family.”
    SUSF Chief Executive Officer Alfred E. Harrell III

    The MDM Campaign will end on October 1, 2015, with a one-day giving blitz. The amount raised will be announced on Saturday, October 17, 2015, during the homecoming football game halftime show.

    The Mission of the Southern University System Foundation is to promote the educational and cultural welfare of the SU System by generating annual reoccurring financial support for its five campuses.

    ONLINE: milliondollarmarch for more details.

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    Ursula White’s quest to understand women’s fat

    Local researcher looks for answers about body shape and health

    Long before Monroe native Ursula White earned a PhD and years before a distinguished career as a scientist was even a fleeting thought, she was a self-described curious child.

    “I always wondered about the world around me and why it worked the way it did,” said White. “I was always asking ‘Why?’”

    That insatiable curiosity is what drove White into her career as a biomedical researcher, but it’s her family background that led her to specialize in thebiology of fat cells (or adipocytes) and metabolic disease.
    “Many relatives on my mom’s side of the family struggle with their weight and have Type 2 diabetes. Growing up, I watched my great grandmother and grandmother struggle with the disease. All of my mom’s siblings are diabetic.”

    White’s great grandmother had only a fraction of the resources available to her to manage the disease that people with diabetes have today, and eventually one of her legs was amputated due to complications from the disease.

    Seeing the prevalence of the disease in her family left White concerned.“Am I destined to have diabetes, or are there things I can do to prevent it?” White asked. “You know genetics play a huge role, but there have to be other factors at play.”

    With those questions in mind, White entered LSU as a biology major, and eventually found herself as a student in a human disease course taught by Jackie Stephens PhD.
    White was intrigued by what she learned in  Stephens’ lectures about the important role that fat cells play in our bodies and how their actions can influence health.

    Upon entering graduate school, it was in White’s last laboratory rotation that she was sure she’d found her passion; and she again found herself learning from Dr. Stephens, who served as her advisor and mentor.
    After earning her PhD in adipocyte biology from LSU, White began working at Pennington Biomedical Research Center to pursue her interests in translational research, which applies important findings in basic science—like adipocyte biology—to significant developments in human research to enhance health and well-being.

    “My experiences from basic fat cell research sparked my interests to better understand how adipocytes behave in humans. While we know that there is fat in different areas of the body, we want to know if it differs by location,” said White.

    Now, White is hard at work on the Apple & Pear research study at Pennington Biomedical, where she is partnering with women in the community to try to understand why women carry weight differently and how it may affect health.

    “We know that women who are more apple-shaped and carry their extra weight in their abdomen are at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and other dangerous health problems, while pear-shaped women with more fat in their hips, thighs, and buttocks may be protected from these diseases” said White. “Now we want to know why the fat in the abdomen is different from the fat in the thighs and how these differences impact health.”

    White is determined to make a positive impact on the health of our community and our state through her work, and she knows first-hand about the power of people who participate in research.

    “If it weren’t for people who stepped up in the past to help scientists develop better diabetes medications, many people, including my mom’s siblings, may not be here today,” White said. “When you volunteer for a research study, you are actively changing people’s lives for the better. That’s why I do what I do every day—I want to help people live better lives.”

    If you are interested in participating in the Apple & Pear study, you may be eligible to receive health assessments, as well as nutritional/lifestyle counseling, at no cost to you, along with compensation for your time.

    ONLINE: www.pbrc.edu

    @jozefsyndicate

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    SUBR set to win four HBCU Digest Awards

    Southern University is a finalist in four categories in the 2015 HBCU Digest national awards competition.

    SU’s College of Nursing and Allied Health is a finalist in the Best Nursing School category and the Human Jukebox Marching Band is among the top Marching Bands.

    Southern scored in the Top Alumnus category with National Alumni Federation President Preston Castille. The SU Alumni Federation also finished among the top National Alumni Association of the Year Category.

    The winners will be announced and receive their awards at a ceremony July 10 at Hampton University in Virginia. The ceremony is part of the HBCU National Media Summit being held at Hampton from July 9-11.

    According to HBCU Digest, finalists are annually selected based on the impact of nominees’ achievement on institutional development, and for media coverage earned for the institution by way of the nominee.

    The Marching Band category includes: Southern, Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets, Florida A&M University Marching 100 and Albany State University Marching Rams Show Band.

    Schools in Best Nursing School category, include: Southern, Prairie View A&M University and Tougaloo College.

    The Alumnus of the Year category, includes: Castille; Adriel Hilton of Morehouse, FAMU, and Morgan State University; Michael Jones, of Dillard University; and John Thompson, FAMU.

    The National Alumni Association category includes: Southern, FAMU, South Carolina State University, Tuskegee University, Xavier University of Louisiana and Clafin University.

    Winners are selected by an academy of former HBCU Awards winners, former and current HBCU presidents, alumni, faculty, students and journalists covering HBCU issues for local or national outlets.

    Created in 2011 by HBCU Digest Founding Editor Jarrett L. Carter Sr., the HBCU Awards is the first national awards event to recognize the influence and impact of HBCUs on American culture.

    The SU Alumni Federation previously won the HBCU Digest’s inaugural National Alumni Association of the Year award in 2012.

    @jozefsyndicate

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    Dillard finalist for six HBCU Digest Awards

    Dillard University ranks among the finalists in six “Best Of” categories sponsored by the HBCU Digest annual awards ceremony that will be held this week on Dillard’s campus. The HBCU Digest is a daily blog/news resource providing news synopsis, links and commentary on stories about America’s 105 historically black colleges and universities.

    Each year it sponsors the HBCU Awards event to honor, acknowledge and celebrate achievements at historically black colleges and universities throughout the country.

    Crowning winners in the fields of leadership, arts, athletics, research, and community engagement, the HBCU Awards is the first and only event to recognize the influence and impact of HBCUs on American culture.

    The HBCU Awards ceremony will be held July 10 during the HBCU National Media Summit, which is July 9-11 at Hampton University in Virginia.

    From a pool of 430 nominations, Dillard University was selected as a finalist in the following areas: Best Choir; Best Fine Arts Program – (Film and Theater); Best Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics STEM Program (Physics); Female Faculty of the Year – Kemberley Washington; Male Alumnus of the Year – Michael Jones, ’82; and Male President of the Year – Dr. Walter Kimbrough.

    @jozefsyndicate

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    50th Anniversary of the MC Moore desegregation Case featured on The Ed Show

    Blacks in Ponchatoula, La., are still pushing for equality in the Tangipahoa Parish School System after 50 years.
    This segment of The Ed Show: Let’s Talk About It, features the original family of the M.C. Moore Desegregation Case.

    The Ed Show is hosted by The Drum Newspaper publisher Eddie Ponds on WSTY-TV in Hammond. To be a guest, complete the form on the Submit News page of this site or click here.

    Read more about this case at Does the education of Black children matter in Tangipahoa?

    @jozefsyndicate

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  • Willie D. Larkin named next Grambling president

    UL System Board Names Next President of Grambling State University

    GRAMBLING–The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System today named Willie D. Larkin as the ninth president of Grambling State University.

    Larkin, chief of staff to the president of Morgan State University, is expected to assume the presidency on July 1.

    Larkin thanked the board and the Grambling community. “I’ve been working for this my entire life. I thank my mom and dad. Although they’re not living anymore, they’d be extremely proud,” he said.

    Larkin was among five candidates who interviewed publicly on the Grambling campus this week. A search committee, appointed by the UL System Board, consisted of board members, students, alumni, faculty and community representatives. After interviewing semifinalists, the Board selected two candidates for final interviews today in front of a diverse university audience.

    In his interview, Larkin stressed the leadership and collaboration skills he’s honed in the decade he served leaders of Morgan State and the University of Wisconsin Colleges, as well as his experiences with the Faculty Senate and University Senate at Auburn University.

    Larkin said his first task will be to put together an executive team and to begin developing an agenda “to turn this university around” and return it to greatness “in every respect.”

    He said, “I know that we’re a great athletic school and that people here love academics, but academics are important as well. The key is to balance those things out.”

    Despite a modest background, Larkin explained, his opportunities have inspired him to seek similar opportunities for others.

    “Coming from an agricultural rural background, the oldest of eight children, born to uneducated parents and getting the opportunity to leave that sharecropper farm and go to college and get a college education, most people would say, ‘You’re really not supposed to be where you are. You’re not supposed to have accomplished what you’ve accomplished,’” Larkin said.

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    COMMENTARY: When different is the same in EBR schools

    Our Schools Our Excellence, an initiative of MetroMorphosis, which the Rev. Raymond Jetson created in Baton Rouge, is a great example of a different approach to addressing the educational needs of our children. The initiative was founded on the principle that every child deserves an excellent education.

    Sadly, every child is not getting an excellent education. Students within the same school districts-even students in the same building-are not receiving an excellent education. This is especially the case in magnet and charter schools in districts where many of the traditional public schools are considered “failing.”

    In the East Baton Rouge School District, most of the majority minority schools in North Baton Rouge are considered failing. At the same time, new charter schools are cropping up across the parish. There is a highly sought after magnet school, Baton Rouge Magnet High School, in the district that is popular, in part, because of the many advanced placement course offerings. The school is 38 percent White and about 43 percent Black. About 34% of students receive free or reduced lunch. The school district is about 45 precent Black and over 80 percent of students qualified for free or reduced lunch as if October 2014, before recent changes making all students in the district eligible.

    Another magnet school, Lee High Magnet School, which is in year two of transiting from a failed traditional public school to a magnet school, is increasing in popularity because of a focus on science, engineering, and math, and dual enrollment courses with the state’s flagship institution, among other reasons. Traditional public schools either offer no such classes or dual enrollment classes with Baton Rouge Community College.

    As Lee High Magnet continues to transition, many minority students who survived the turbulent first year may get to the mountain top, but seeing the promised land is doubtful. They are in a “different” situation than many in their cohort who were ill-prepared to maintain the required grade point average and were ultimately sentenced to serving out the remainder of their high school careers in failing neighborhood schools. The students who survived will not have access to all the promised technological changes, internships, additional course offerings, etc. as these will be phased in for new cohorts. For example, new cohorts are scheduled to enjoy Chrome Books with e-versions of all required textbooks and older cohorts will continue to haul around heavy and costly textbooks in new aged buildings that don’t have lockers or desks where books can be stored.

    EBR schools are not alone in these regards. Administrators of magnet and charter schools in districts with “failing” schools across the country apparently read from the same script, which requires the repeated use of the term, “different.” Magnet and charter schools, the administrators often contend, will have “different” curriculum, or produce “different” results, when compared with traditional public schools, when in fact, many of these schools represent more of the “same.”

    The schools represent the perpetuation of an unjust system that privileges some people, and is at the same time a continued source of misery and despair for others, especially people of color and the poor. The celebration of “difference” is in many ways an indictment of the quality of education available to communities of color and the poor. It is also an acknowledgement of the existence of a two-tiered system, which prepares some for success and citizenship while simultaneously reminding others of their place in a social institution, and in the broader society, that perpetuates inequality all the while extolling the virtues of fairness and justice.

    It’s time to take off the blindfolds and throw out the pacifier that is privilege.

    According to these administrators of choice schools, considered by some the mouthpieces of a misguided movement to use public schools as a profit generating machine, parents with children in their schools should feel grateful that their children have the opportunity to enjoy a “different” academic experience. On the contrary, parents, community leaders, school administrators, teachers, elected officials, etc. everywhere should all feel the “same” moral outrage. Our Schools Our Excellence got it right. “Every” child deserves an excellent education and no one should turn a blind eye to the injustices that are preventing the initiative’s rallying cry from becoming a reality.

    Lori Martin, Ph.D.

    Lori Martin, Ph.D.

    By Lori Latrice Martin
    Guest Columnist


    Lori Latrice Martin, Ph.D., is associate professor of sociology and African American Studies. She is the author of Big Box Schools: Race, Education, and the Danger of the Wal-Martization of Public Schools in America.

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    Woman to Watch: Angela Myles

    On any given day, conversations with Greensburg , La. native Angela Myles can veer from excitement about the young 4-H club members she mentors to worry about the unkept community garden tucked away at St. Helena College and Career Academy and  closed for the summer. If you stick around her for a while, the talk moves from one of her nine Godchildren and church VBS plans to a lively discussion on the  extraordinary cattle and goats roaming  small farms throughout St. Helena parish and the teenage farmers preparing to compete in the next statewide livestock show or cookery competition.

    In fact, Myles’ conversations are much like her smile and personality: broad, bright, and full of energy. The 34-year-old extension parish chair supervisor for the LSU Ag Center is working passionately in agriculture–a career many people expected to be replaced by machines and technology. And she’s using the national 4-H model to teach it to a new generation along with lessons on nutrition, technology, rockets, and leadership.

    A self-described farm girl, Myles said she wanted to go to the military but instead earned two degrees from Southern University in agriculture family consumer science and in education leadership. She now plans specialize in youth development and earn a doctorate in education leadership.

    This summer she is teaching a STEM camp,  taking a group of  preteen 4-H’ers camping in Polluck, La.,  and traveling to Baton Rouge with high schoolers who will attend the 4-HU’s Clover College and compete in ATV, computer simulation, and forestry challenges.

    “I love what I do,” said Myles who started her 10-year career at the Southern University Ag Center and the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service as a parent educator then as a youth specialist.

    “My church is where I started being a leader for my community. I would like to thank the late Rev. Stanley J. Carter for his leadership and helping to mold me into the person I am today. I have to tell all of my parents in St. Helena Parish thank you for trusting me with your child and helping me to make this a great program a success for your child and their family,” she said. For that, she is a woman to watch.

    Meet Angela Myles, 34
    Professional title: Parish Chair and associate extension 4-H Agent St. Helena Parish with the LSU Ag Center

    Hometown: Greensburg, LA
    Moves made in 2014: Reached out to youth in areas of, 4-H youth development through livestock, club meetings, Jr. Leader Club, cookery contests, nutrition, gardening, camps, character development, reading literacy projects, STEM projects, and reaching youth through and in schools.

    What to expect from you Expect for youth in St. Helena Parish to live by the 4-H slogan “To Make the Best Better”. We will attend 4-H camp, 4-H U at LSU, STEM Summer Camp, Louisiana Outdoor Skills and Technology (LOST) Camp, Challenge Camp, 4-H club meetings, robotics club meetings, livestock meetings, and character development.

    Personal Resolution: To read a new book every other week with an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies. Develop and maintain website for different companies. Donate to a needy organization in the state of Louisiana whether if it’s items, money, or time.

    Professional Resolution: Seek more professional development from the LSU Ag Center.

    Life/business motto: LSU Ag Center Mission Statement: to innovate, to educated and to improve lives. My personal motto is to have a “The sky’s the Limit” approach to life. Never be afraid to dream big and do bigger, you know that you can do anything you set your mind to.

    What music are you dancing to? Gospel, I love to give God praise through singing and dancing!

    What are you reading? The Spirit of Leadership by Myles Munroe 7 Habits of Effective Leaders by Steven Coyey, and The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

    Mentors or Role Models: My mother Mary E. Hickerson was my role model until her death in 1990. My other role model was my adoptive mother Margaret P. Overton until her death in 2013. At this point in life, I look up to my oldest sister, Cynthia, for support and advice. I have developed to become my own role model and I consider myself to be a role model to many youth in my community and across the state of Louisiana.

    ONLINE: Rockets to the Rescue featuring Angela Myles.

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  • Belton, Hatches, Tolson named finalists for SUS president

    The Southern University System Board of Supervisors’ President/Chancellor Search Committee announced on May 28,  three finalists for the position of president/chancellor. The finalists have been invited to the Baton Rouge campus on Thursday, June 11, for interviews with faculty, staff, students, alumni and stakeholders.They will be interviewed by the SU Board of Supervisors during its regular meeting, Friday, June 12.

    After interviewing six applicants during its final meeting today at the Hilton Garden Inn in Baton Rouge, the 15-member search team narrowed the list for the next SU System leader to the following three candidates who will be recommended to the SU Board of Supervisors:

    Ray Belton, chancellor, Southern University Shreveport (SUSLA), a graduate of SUSLA and Southern University Baton Rouge. He has a master of arts in counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a doctor of philosophy in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

    Barrett Hatches, president and CEO Chicago Family Heath Center, received his undergraduate degree in political science from Jackson State University, a M.A. in management from Webster University, and a Ph.D. in urban higher education from Jackson State University.

    Ivory Toldson, deputy director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Louisiana State University, a M.Ed. in counselor education from The Pennsylvania State University, and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Temple University.

    “We are pleased with the committee’s work and with the experience and quality of the candidates for the Southern University president/chancellor’s position,” said Albert Sam, M.D., chairman of the search committee.

    “The future of this historic university system will be in accomplished hands with either of the finalists vetted through the process,” Sam added.

    The finalists will be invited to Southern University Baton Rouge Thursday, June 11 for interviews with faculty, staff, students, alumni and stakeholders.

    The SU Board of Supervisors will interview the finalists during its regular meeting Friday, June 12.

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  • Flight training program offered for middle, high schoolers

    Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum is hosting a STEM/Flight Training Program, June 1 – 26, at 1600 Phoenix Square in Hammond. The four-week program provides junior high and high school students with an opportunity to get an early start towards a career in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and aeronautics.

    Attendees will:
    • Learn how to build a personal desktop computer
    • Learn about electronic components and circuit design (build a digital count-down clock circuit)
    • Learn how to build and launch model rockets
    • Learn how to build and fly remote control model airplanes, quad-copters and helicopters
    • Examine general aviation aircraft and engine design
    • Learn about the fundamentals of airplane flight
    • Get behind the controls of an single-engine aircraft while in flight with an FAA Certified Flight Instructor
    • Explore a US Army Blackhawk helicopter and private jets
    • Visit from computer/electrical/civil/mechanical engineers and aviation professionals (airline pilots and military pilots)
    • Participate in a weekend field trips

    Summer camp tuition cost is $250 per student. For more information, call the museum at (985)-542-4259.

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  • ,,,

    Does the education of Black children matter in Tangipahoa?

    The Fight Continues: 50th Years of Moore v. TPSB

    The fight to ensure equality for all children and employees in the school has extended through its fiftieth year. On May 3, 2015, the lawsuit filed by M.C Moore against the Tangipahoa Parish School System turned fifty with no resolution to the desegregation suit. The lawsuit was initially filed on behalf of his daughter, Fannie Moore, who was disenfranchised and not given an opportunity to receive an equitable and fair education, which is guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The name of this case was later changed to Joyce Marie Moore v. Tangipahoa Parish School System, and was named after his younger daughter, thus becoming a Class Action Lawsuit with the plaintiffs being the class of Black parents and their children in Tangipahoa.

    Fifty years later, the question remains whether or not education in the lives of Black children matter. The answer is emphatically, yes it does, because the fight continues for equity in this school system. Unfortunately, there is very little resolve towards settling this decades old desegregation lawsuit.

    Moreover, many are keen to talk about or write pieces about what happens or does not happen in the public school system in Tangipahoa Parish. Consequently, I process and attempt to find balance with personal ties to the conflicts in Tangipahoa Parish race relations and injustices found in our school system that have had my attention for decades now.

    As we begin to reflect on the importance of this lawsuit, we think of the lawsuit being filed in 1965. As a result of this filing, Mr. Moore was ostracized. For instance, he and his family were threatened, and his livelihood and means of providing for his family were taken away through his logging business being sabotaged, which resulted in his having to bake cakes to sell to provide for his family. Men guarded his home at night after his home was shot into early one morning. His wife heroically crawled through grass and weeds to a neighbor’s home to call the police because their telephone lines were cut on the outside of their home. Those bullet holes remain in Mr. Moore’s home to this very day. Despite having his life threatened and his livelihood compromised, Mr. Moore pressed on. Thank you, Mr. Moore, for your courage and tenacity in ensuring equality for African-

    American children, and ultimately all children.

    After this case was filed and opened in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, with the late Honorable Alvin Benjamin Rubin as the presiding judge, the Tangipahoa Parish School System was forced to integrate its public schools in 1969. Judge Rubin ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, stating, in pertinent part, that the Tangipahoa Parish School System was segregated and did not provide equitable educational access to African-American students. As a result, the school board was ordered to reinstate the jobs of all terminated African-American employees as one of the wrongs the Tangipahoa Parish School System committed following forced integration in 1969.

    The plaintiffs’ case was led by Attorney Nelson Dan Taylor, Sr., who is now the Lead Attorney in the Moore Case. This case was Attorney Taylor’s first case as an attorney for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund.

    Unfortunately, the school system did not comply with Judge Rubin’s order, and the case became dormant following Honorable Alvin Benjamin Rubin’s untimely death.

    The case was later reopened in 2007 at the urging of the Greater Tangipahoa Parish Branch NAACP because of numerous complaints of the school system’s wronging of African-American children and African American employees. Evidence was provided to prove that the same segregated conditions still exist in Tangipahoa Parish School System. The test case used to reopen the M.C. Moore desegregation case was the case of Coach Alden Foster, who became the first African-American head high school football coach hired in Tangipahoa Parish. Coach John Williams was reportedly the first African-American head high school football coach in Tangipahoa Parish. However, after speaking to several others, including Coach Williams, we discovered that he was not given the position of head football coach at Hammond High School in Hammond, La., despite being appointed by Judge Rubin. Instead, Coach Carmen Moore, a white coach, was named as the head football coach at Hammond High.

    The discourse of this article is too long to write all of what has happened over the past fifty years in the Moore Case, however, a Master Thesis done by Dr. Wayne Brumfield is found in the Southeastern Louisiana University public library.

    As we commemorate the lawsuit’s fiftieth anniversary, let us remember to thank God for the stamina of Mr. Moore, his trials endured, and triumphs he and others made for every child attending school in the Tangipahoa Parish School System. Let us be mindful, as well as thankful for all of the accomplishments seen and unseen in this case having been reopened, because without such, sitting conservative judges would have dismissed this case due to its inactivity.

    While there are some 36 unopened desegregation cases, let us be mindful that the M.C. Moore lawsuit has set a precedent for subsequent desegregation cases. As President of the GTPB NAACP, and as I walk in the shoes of the late Mr. M.C. Moore, I feel his pain many times, and my heart breaks as I continue to witness the disenfranchisement of African-American children in the Tangipahoa Parish School System. Despite the many wrongs of this school system, I am reminded by Ecclesiastes 9:11 that “the race is not given to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor the bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill, but time and chance happeneth to them all.” With these words in mind, the fight for equality will not end, and it cannot until “justice rolls down like a mighty stream” for every student and employee in this school system. There can be no other way, and no person will be left behind.

    Patricia Morris
    NAACP Tangipahoa Branch President
    Ponchatoula

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    SU Ag Center to host C.H.E.F. Summer Cooking Camp for Youth

    The SU Ag Center, in collaboration with the LSU AgCenter, will sponsor a youth cooking school entitled, “Creating Healthy Enjoyable Foods” (C.H.E.F.), for youth ages 9-11 on July 13-17 and ages 12-14 on July 27-31.

    The C.H.E.F. cooking school is designed to teach youth basic cooking principles and nutrition education based on the USDA’s, “MyPlate” food guidance system and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.

    Each day, participants will work together to create an entire meal while learning healthy eating and physical activity principles, food preparation, kitchen and food safety, common cooking terms, proper food handling, measuring techniques, critical thinking and team building skills, planning and time management.

    “These camps are designed to teach children the basic principles of healthy eating,” said De’Shoin York Friendship, Associate Specialist for Nutrition at the SU Ag Center. “In many households the parents work and very often when kids get home from school they are home alone. Instead of choosing fast foods or frozen prepared foods, which may be high in fat or sodium, our cooking camps teach youth how to safely prepare nutritious snacks and meals, many of which do not involve the use of a stove,” she added.

    Both sessions will be held on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus in Pinkie E. Thrift Hall from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. To ensure the safety of all participants, only 12 youth will be accepted per session. Participants are required to bring a bag lunch and snack each day.

    To register for the camps, parents must submit a completed register form with the $30 registration fee. This fee, which must be pay in the form of a money order, includes all materials, food and attire needed for the camp. Money orders should be made payable to the Southern University Ag Center and mailed to: C.H.E.F., Nutrition Education Program, Southern University Ag Center, P. O. Box 10010, Baton Rouge, LA 70813.

    For additional information or to obtain a registration form, contact Kiyana Kelly or Marquetta Anderson-Reynolds at 225.389.3055 or via e-mail at, kiyana_kelly@suagcenter.com or marquetta_anderson@suagcenter.com.

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    SU breaks ground for new Jaguar Park

    Plans are underway to transform the east side of AW Mumford Stadium into Jaguar Park, an attractive urban sport complex. On May 11, the Southern University System Foundation broke ground to launch construction of the campus’ new addition.

    Jaguar Park will feature a lighted NCAA regulation soccer game field and football practice field, a soccer field house, coaching observation tower, along with javelin and discuss runway.

    image

    The facility will be enclosed by mesh and aluminum fencing with 40 connecting brick columns.

    SUS Foundation executive director Alfred Harrell talks about the new Jaguar Park at the groundbreaking: http://t.co/iIGIvDQ5x0

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  • SU program increases male student retention

    A Southern University System program designed to reverse the trend of fewer Black male students attending and graduating from college is demonstrating higher than average success in student retention.

    Implemented in 2012 and located on the Southern University New Orleans  campus, the Honoré Center for Undergraduate Student Achievement (CUSA) is the centerpiece initiative of the Five-Fifths Agenda for America (FFAA), a demonstration project with the dual goals of increasing the number of college degrees among black men and increasing the ranks of black male classroom teachers.

    Data from a recent internal SU System CUSA enrollment and retention status report indicates that the Honoré Center program is associated with an increase in fall-to-fall retention in a range of 25 percent to 46 percent.   Of the 30 total students who completed at least one semester after enrolling in the Honoré Center over the past three academic years, 12 remain actively enrolled in the program and another 12 students remain enrolled at SUNO in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Those numbers represent a 40 percent program retention rate, however overall retention rises to 80 percent when including former cohort members still enrolled at SUNO.

    “Not only are Honoré participants being retained in school at a higher rate then comparable students at peer institutions in Louisiana, they are making faster progress towards earning bachelors degrees. All of the Honoré students remaining in school are on pace to earn degrees in six years or less,” said CUSA director Warren Bell Jr.

    The  goal  of  the  FFAA  national  initiative  is  to  “identify  and  enable  young  Black  men  from  the  bottom  quartile  with  character  and  leadership  potential  to  become  educators  and  servant  leaders  who  will  seed  positive  change  in  their  schools  and  communities.  A  value-‐added  goal  is  to  establish  public  Historically  Black  Colleges  and  Universities  as  institutional  bases  for  long-‐term  systemic  change,”  said  FFAA  founder  and  SU  System  President  Ronald  Mason  Jr.

    Bell  said  the  Honoré  program reached  a  milestone  in  April when two  original  cohort  members,  third year  students  Louis  Blackmon  and  Dominique  Carter,  earned  Honor  Roll  recognition  during  SUNO’s  Spring  2015  Academic  Honors  and  Awards  ceremony.  

    image

    Honoré  Center  for  Undergraduate  Student  Achievement  (CUSA)  students  Louis  Blackmon  (right)  and  Dominique  Carter  (left)  pictured  with  CUSA  director  Warren  Bell  Jr.  after  receiving  honor  roll  recognition  during  SUNO’s  Spring  2015  Academic  Honors  and  Awards  Day  Program,  April  8,  2015

     About  the Honoré  CUSA
     The  state  of  Louisiana  in  2012  awarded  the  Southern  University  System  a  half  million  dollars  in  funding  to  plan  and  implement  an  initiative  designed  to  address  an  important  national  challenge:    to  reverse  the  trend  of  fewer  African-‐American  male  students  attending  and  graduating  from  college.    Named  for  retired  US  Army  Lieutenant  General  Russel  L.  Honoré  who  led  all  active-duty  troops  from  all  military  branches  for  the  storm  recovery  operations  following  Hurricane  Katrina’s  destruction  of  the  Gulf  Coast  in  2005,  the  Center  recruits  New  Orleans-‐area  male  students  into  a  highly  structured  living  and learning  environment  designed  to  ensure  their  academic  and  personal  success  as  college  men  and  future  leaders.    All  Honoré  scholars  promise  to  serve  at  least  two  years  after  graduation  as  local  classroom  teachers.  They  agree  to  rigorous  rules  of  conduct  and  performance.    The  State  of  Louisiana  provided  a  total  $1-million  to  support  the  Honoré  Center.  In  addition  to  Louisiana  Legislative  start-‐up  support,  the  project  is  endorsed  and  receiving  further  support  to  continue  its  operations  through  private  donors  and  philanthropic  organizations  including  the  Thurgood  Marshall  College  Fund,  the  Open  Society  Foundation,  Educational  Testing  Services  plus  the  Kellogg,  Lumina,  and  Kresge  foundations.  CUSA  will  move  ahead  as  a  project  that  is  completely  underwritten  in  FY2016  by  private  and  foundation  dollars.    For  more  information:    http://honorecusa.sus.edu

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  • ,

    Tierra Smith named national student journalist of the year

    The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is proud to announce the selection of Tierra Smith of Grambling State University as the association’s 2015 Student Journalist of the Year. The award recognizes a full-time collegiate journalist who displays a commitment to NABJ’s goal of outstanding achievement within the field of journalism.

    It isn’t often that a historically Black college or university has a campus newspaper willing to dig deeply – even when a powerful administration is watching and questioning nearly every move. It’s with this approach that Smith has led the campus newspaper with tenacity comparable to some of the nation’s top editors, just on a college campus. Under her leadership, The Gramblinite, GSU’ s campus newspaper, has been diligent in holding GSU’s administration accountable, from questions on salaries of top administrators, to spending, and lack of resources for the school’s football program, Smith has continuously been unafraid to ask the hard questions.

    “We couldn’t be more proud of Tierra. She is clearly off to a great start, and we wait with anticipation to see what will be next as she begins her journalism career,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “Tierra is an aggressive and passionate journalist which will serve her well as she continues to pursue her passion.”

    A native of Milwaukee, Smith became fascinated with the media when she was accidentally enrolled in a journalism course at her high school in Houston.

    “If they never put me in that class, I would have never been exposed to journalism,” Smith said, in a piece written last year for The New York Times Student Journalism Institute. She was a 2014 participant in The Times program at Dillard University and she was a 2014 student journalist with the NABJ Student Multimedia Projects.

    Her high school journalism teacher was going to remove her from the class because she did not have the necessary prerequisites, but she saw her passion and decided to let her stay. A few months into the class, Smith was named an editor of the high school’s newspaper and yearbook.

    Now a graduating senior, Smith, 22, is majoring in mass communications with a concentration in sports journalism. Smith was also a participant in the 2014 Class of the Sports Journalism Institute, a program geared toward creating a pipeline of more women and minorities in sports journalism. Additionally, Smith was the recipient of the 2014 NABJ Sports Task Force, Larry Whiteside Scholarship.

    Smith is a talented student journalist, and a strong NABJ student member. She’s been a part of NABJ since 2012, attending three national conventions, a regional conference and restarting the GSU student chapter as founding president. She has grown her chops at Grambling State along with internships at Gannett’s The News-Star and the Gannett Content Production Center in Monroe, Louisiana. In Summer 2014, she was a sports intern at the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah.

    Smith was most recently named a Dow Jones News Fund business reporting intern for Summer 2015. She will be working for NABJ’s Greg Moore at the Denver Post. She also has an active role in the GSU chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and she maintains a 3.6 GPA. Smith will start the next chapter of her journey as a graduate student at Louisiana State University this Fall.

    Smith will be honored along with other honorees at NABJ’s Annual Convention and Career Fair this summer in Minneapolis.

    An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation, and provides educational, career development and support to black journalists worldwide.

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  • ,,

    SUNO researcher partners with PBI to continue DNA forensic research

    Pressure BioSciences, Inc. announced it has entered into a Collaboration Agreement with Southern University at New Orleans to focus on improving and extending the applications of the Company’s unique and patented pressure cycling technology platform for the detection of DNA in forensic samples.

    Pam Marshall,Ph.D., interim director, Forensic Science Program SUNO is an expert on sexual assault kit examination and collection practices and will lead the program with Pressure BioScience Inc.

    While a graduate student in the laboratory of Professor Bruce Budowle (a recognized key opinion leader in forensic science) at the University of North Texas’ UNT Health Science Center, Marshall and her colleagues showed that incorporating PCT into the testing protocol for poor quality bone enabled more DNA to be detected as compared to standard methods. As part of the collaboration, Marshall will continue this pioneering work. She and her team at Southern University also will investigate other important areas in which PCT might enhance forensic sample testing.

    “A critical yet often difficult task in forensic analysis is the extraction of high quality DNA from challenged or inhibited samples,” said Marshall. “My previous work with the PCT platform gave me an appreciation for this powerful and enabling technology. My published research established that improved quality and quantity of DNA could be extracted from human bone samples with PCT, as compared to bones not treated with PCT.”

    Marshall said she believes that several projects undertaken during the collaboration could help establish PCT as a standard method in forensic science. For example, in an effort to reduce poaching, the extraction of DNA from seized African Elephant ivory samples is an important yet very difficult challenge at the present time. “We believe PCT might enable the recovery of greater amounts of DNA compared to current methods,” she said. “If successful, this could lead to the use of PCT for the extraction of DNA from a variety of difficult samples. This will be one of the first projects undertaken.”

    “We are pleased to support Dr. Marshall and her team in their development of new, improved, and expanded applications of the PCT platform in the testing of forensic samples. We believe their efforts will result in commercially profitable PCT-based products for PBI, possibly before the end of 2015,” said Nate Lawrence, vice president of marketing and sales for PBI.

    “In addition to the possible development of new PCT-based products, we are pleased that the collaboration also will support the Forensic Science program at SUNO,” said Mr. Richard T. Schumacher, President and CEO of PBI. “This program provides students with the course work, skills and experience necessary for success as a forensic scientist. This role is critical to our criminal justice system, since investigators, courts, and the public depend on forensic scientists for accurate and timely information.”

    Mr. Schumacher continued: “Our country needs well educated, professionally-trained, forensic scientists. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently estimates an approximate 20% increase in job growth in the forensic science field over the next six years. However, although the number of forensic science graduates nationwide is high, the number of graduates among underrepresented minorities is highly inadequate. That is why we are pleased to support educators like Dr. Marshall and universities like SUNO who are at the forefront of developing the next generation of highly skilled forensic scientists, with a vast majority from underrepresented populations.”

    Southern University at New Orleans was founded in 1956 to expand academic opportunities for Blacks. Today, SUNO still serves as a beacon for those looking for educational advancement in an environment that provides the personal attention some students need for success. With our mission in mind, we plan to be America’s premier urban institution of higher learning in the field of Forensic Science, providing educational access to students ready to contribute to our city and nation. In 2013, SUNO successfully implemented the Forensic Science Bachelor of Science degree program. SUNO is the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Louisiana to offer this degree and one of four nationwide. The BS in Forensic Science degree program is committed to producing technically knowledgeable and skilled graduates equipped with the basic foundational science and laboratory problem solving skills necessary for success in the crime laboratory. Upon completion of the Forensic Science program, graduates will be prepared to function as forensic scientists, or for advanced study in such areas as forensic science, biomedical research, medicine and law. Please visit the University’s Web site at www.SUNO.edu.

    Pressure BioSciences Inc. develops, markets, and sells proprietary laboratory instrumentation and associated consumables to the estimated $6 billion life sciences sample preparation market. PCT customers also use our products in other areas, such as drug discovery and design, bio-therapeutics characterization, soil and plant biology, vaccine development, histology, and forensic applications.

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  • ,,

    Chief Justice Johnson declares May 1 as Law Day

    The Louisiana Supreme Court issued a resolution urging all Louisiana state court judges to dedicate the month of May 2015 to reaching out to schools to provide students with an opportunity to learn about the law, the role of judges, and the court system from members of the judiciary. Law Day was established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to strengthen our heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law. In 1961, Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day. Every president since then has issued a Law Day proclamation on May 1st to celebrate the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. The 2015 national Law Day theme is “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law.”

    “During the month of May, the Louisiana Supreme Court will host school students participating in Law Day activities including: mock trials and tours of the Royal Street courthouse which include visits to the Louisiana Supreme Court Museum and the Law Library of Louisiana,” said Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson.

    On this 57th anniversary of Law Day, the resolution states in part that “all judges have a unique ability to educate young people about our legal system and respect for the law.” Teachers or principals interested in coordinating a Louisiana Supreme Court tour or a Law Day presentation with a local judge, contact the Louisiana Supreme Court Community Relations Department at 504.310.2590.

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    LeBas seeks to ease substitute teacher shortage

    Legislation filed by State Rep. Bernard LeBas, D-Ville Platte, is aimed at relieving school systems’ shortage of qualified substitute teachers and helping retired teachers supplement their income.

    “This is for the students,” LeBas said. “It’s best for students to have qualified teachers everywhere,” but current law limits how much time retired teachers can spend in classrooms without affecting their retirement income.

    LeBas’ House Bill 43 seeks to increase the number of days retired teachers can work as substitute teachers without decreasing the size of their retirement checks.

    Former teachers collecting benefits through the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana are prohibited from continuing to receive retirement pay if they return to fulltime teaching. Current law allows them to work as substitute teachers and collect salaries up to 25 percent of their retirement checks, but any pay above that amount results in an equivalent reduction in retirement benefits.

    HB43 would raise the salary cap to 50 percent of benefits, so a teacher who’s eligible to teach 50 days would be able to teach 100 days as a substitute without affecting retirement pay.

    “School board members and superintendents have expressed interest in this because they can’t find qualified teachers to substitute when a regular teacher is out of the classroom,” LeBas said. “Also, many retired teachers have approached me wanting to be substitute teachers.

    “Everyone is saying they have a problem. The whole idea is to offer our students the best possible education,” he said.

    Debbie Meaux, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators, said school systems are having “big problems” finding qualified teachers to work as substitutes, especially when a regular teacher is taking extended medical leave, maternity leave or sabbatical.

    Because of the salary limitation, substitutes often can work only short-term and “We want to make sure that when a classroom teacher (takes leave), students are not having to change teachers three or four times because they’re reaching the salary cap,” Meaux said.

    “If we have to hire substitute teachers, why not have the best teachers for our students?” LeBas said. HB43 is awaiting a hearing in the House Education Committee. The 2015 legislative session begins at noon Monday and must conclude no later than 6 p.m. June 11.

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  • Funds will help disadvantage kids get ready for Kindergarten

    Increased Demand for Early Childhood Seats Signals Need for Increased Funding

    The Department of Education announced funding awards for statewide Early Childhood Pre-Kindergarten programs that benefit low-income four-year-olds. More than $81.6 million will fund 17,851 children served through the Cecil J. Picard LA4 Early Childhood Program and the Nonpublic Schools Early Childhood Development program (NSECD). This year, 1,850 families seeking pre-kindergarten slots were unable to obtain LA4 or NSECD admission because of a shortage of seats in these programs. Overall, 3,150 Louisiana four-year-old children are at risk of not being served by any early childhood program, including pre-kindergarten, Head Start or child care, because of an inadequate number of seats.

    “We must remain committed to the welfare of our greatest asset, our children,” said State Superintendent John White. “That commitment is dependent upon our assurance our at-risk children have access to these Early Childhood programs which will prepare them for the rigors and challenges of school. Without funding for these programs, these children are at risk of falling further behind.”

    Today, only half of Louisiana children enter kindergarten ready to learn with basic number and letter recognition skills. Louisiana’s pre-kindergarten programs – LA4 and NSECD – provide disadvantaged four-year-olds six hours of early childhood education each day, and have been proven to enhance participants’ language and math skills. To provide families with choice, these programs are offered in public schools, state-approved private preschools and child care centers. These two programs are expected to serve 17,851 children across the state, at a rate of $4,580 per child.

    Both programs are very popular with families. Communities indicate there are at least 1,850 families of at-risk four-year-olds who are seeking a spot in high-quality pre-K this fall, but there is not enough funding available. At the current rate, the state would need an additional $8.5 million to offer slots to these children this fall.

    “The increase in cost and interest clearly demand a need for more funding,” said Superintendent White. “These children deserve the same educational opportunities given to every other child in Louisiana.”

    In 2012, the legislature passed Act 3, requiring the creation of a unified network for early childhood care that would establish a common expectation for excellence among all publicly funded service providers, along with accountability for results. That same year, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved the state’s multi-year strategy to implement Act 3, the Early Childhood Care and Education Networks.

    To help address family demand, the Department applied for the Preschool Development Expansion Grant in 2014 and will partner with local Early Childhood Networks to offer an additional 4,600 high-quality pre-K slots to families over the next four years, starting in 2016. Participating communities will coordinate enrollment to make it easier to apply and families will be able to choose between public, nonpublic school and child care settings.

    Still the Department estimates there are an additional 3,150 low-income four-year-olds who qualify for child care, Head Start, or Pre-Kindergarten, but whose families may not be aware of what is available. As demonstrated in the recent Early Childhood Funding Model required by the Legislature, the Department estimates an additional $26 million investment is needed to provide a high-quality pre-K option to every at-risk family in Louisiana that wants one.

    The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved the Department’s LA4 and NSECD allocation recommendations.

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  • ,

    Bagayoko secures $500k for SU research

    Southern University System’s Distinguished Professor of Physics Diola Bagayoko,Ph.D., has received a three-year, $503,931 federal research grant to help develop new methods and processes in the field of materials and energy science.

    The grant is from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration. The newly funded project is a major component of the Consortium for Materials and Energies Studies (CMaES) led by Florida A&M University.

    The first year funding for Southern University at Baton Rouge is $153,931 and the funding for each of the following two years is $175,000 for a total of $503,931.

    CMaES is a collaborative effort among seven Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and two national laboratories of the DOE. Some of the other key objectives include the production of new knowledge, and the training of the next generation of scientists and engineers in areas of interest to DOE.

    Besides SUBR and FAMU, other collaborating organizations include: Prairie View A&M University, Tuskegee University, Tennessee State University, Benedict College, Morehouse College, Allen University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

    Tommy Rockward, who received his Bachelor of Science and master’s degrees in Physics from SUBR, is the lead scientist for the collaboration at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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  • Lela offering free FAFSA workshops, scholarships throughout March

    The Louisiana Education Loan Authority is gearing up to assist high school students and their parents in checking a major item off of their lists as they near high school graduation — completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as “FAFSA.”

    Lela will conduct FAFSA completion workshops, upon request, at high schools throughout the state and will continue to offer one-on-one counseling by appointment to students at its College Planning Center on Acadian Thruway in Baton Rouge. The team will also host a free, statewide FAFSA completion online webinar at noon on Wednesday, March 18, that is geared to parents and a hands-on FAFSA completion workshop in Baton Rouge on Saturday, March 21.

    To register for the statewide webinar or Baton Rouge workshop, to request a workshop in your area, to make an appointment, or for more information, contact Lela staff at info@lela.org or (800) 228-4755 or visit the Lela website at www.AskLela.org.

    Students and parents can learn more about the FAFSA and complete the free form by logging onto http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. The page contains links to YouTube videos and other resources that help walk students and parents through the process of applying for aid.

    Lela is also offering $5,000 in college scholarships through its “Cash for College Scholarship Contest,” with grand-prize winners each taking home a $1,000 scholarship for the best essay and video. The second-prize winners in each category will each win $750 scholarships. The theme is “What’s Your College Game Plan?”

    Three seniors will win $500 scholarships through random drawings, which they can enter in three ways: by attending a Lela workshop, registering at http://www.AskLela.org or by submitting an Instagram photo. Details for the scholarship contest and drawings are available at http://www.GoFAAM.com. The deadline is March 31.

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    Student chemists advance to state competition

    PLAQUEMINE–More than 200 parents, teachers, students and community members assembled at the Math, Science & Arts Academy West in Plaquemine for the second annual Dow Westside You Be the Chemist Challenge® on Feb. 11.

    Thirty-three 6th – 8th grade students from Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes competed against one another through numerous rounds of multiple-choice questions that tested their knowledge of chemistry concepts, important discoveries, and chemical safety awareness.

    Sponsored locally and nationally by Dow, the Challenge is an academic competition created by the Chemical Education Foundation (CEF). The Challenge aims to engage middle school students in chemistry through a dynamic event that partners members of the chemical industry with schools and organizations in the communities in which they operate.

    “At Dow we are committed to supporting the next generation of scientists, engineers, chemists and innovators for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields,” said Abby Cook, Public Affairs Manager, Dow Louisiana Operations. “We are proud to collaborate with organizations like the Chemical Education Foundation to do the important work of changing lives through quality education.”

    After six rounds of competition at the Dow Westside Challenge, the Champion, First Runner-Up, Second Runner-Up and Third Runner-up from both West Baton Rouge and Iberville Parishes were decided. Alex Gautreaux, student in Cynthia West’s class at Devall Middle, took first place for the second consecutive year! Erin Stephens of Janell Albarez’s class at Brusly Middle achieved First Runner-Up. Hanna Prather, also a student of Cynthia West’s class at Devall Middle, placed Second Runner-Up and Naturi Scott of Delky Arbuckle’s class achieved Third Runner-Up for West Baton Rouge Parish.

    Kristopher Cayette, a student in Tanya Taylor’s class at MSA West achieved Champion for Iberville Parish. Lucas Sanchez, a student from Tyne Courville’s class at MSA West took First Runner-Up. Second Runner-Up was achieved by Emily Deslatte of Pam Mechana’s class at St. John and Alixes Bouvay of Dorothy Trusclair’s class at Plaquemine High received Third Runner-Up.

    Champion, First Runner-Up, and Second Runner-Up recipients from both Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes will advance to the You Be the Chemist State Challenge, April 25 at Louisiana State University. The winner of the state competition will move on to compete in the National Challenge held Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June.

    Participating schools in the local Dow Westside Challenge included: Devall Middle, Port Allen Middle, Holy Family, Brusly Middle, MSA West, MSA East, St. John School, Plaquemine High, and White Castle High.

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    Youth invited to The Kickback roundtable, Feb. 21

    Our Schools…Our Excellence will host a youth-led round table, The Kickback, Saturday, Feb. 21, at Star Hill Church, 1400 North Foster Drive, starting at noon.

    Organizers said the dialogue will be led by students, with minimal adult interaction. This gives middle and high school students in North Baton Rouge an opportunity to share, discuss and thoroughly understand their educational experience.

    Two students from each North Baton Rouge School have been asked to attend and participate in the discussion in order to have a better understanding the major problems plaguing the schools. “The children should not be penalized by receiving poor education because of lack of structure within our communities. We are all directly responsible for the success or failure of our children,” said Kali Johnson, lead consultant with Our Schools.Our Excellence.

    “The days of placing the blame on the school, teacher, student or parent are over. The concern now, is what strategies and tactics can we create together to see our goals come to fruition. One goal in particular is to increase student participation in the improvement and success of their education through the organization’s Youth Involvement cluster.” Johnson said the organization is committed to facilitating change within the North Baton Rouge School System.

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    Applications open for Ernest J. Gaines Summer Teaching Institute

    The Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, in conjunction with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, is hosting the Second Annual Ernest J. Gaines Summer Teaching Institute June 8-June 12, 2015 for educators who would like to learn more about Ernest Gaines’ writings and how to incorporate the writings into their classrooms. The deadline to apply for the Second Annual Ernest J. Gaines Summer Teaching Institute is March 18, 2015. The institute will be limited to 10 participants, and each participant will receive a $200 stipend and a certificate showing their participation for professional development purposes. To apply, complete the application form below. Participants will be notified by April 15, 2015 on the status of their status. Applicants must provide the following information.

    Texts:
    Bloodline
    The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
    A Gathering of Old Men
    A Lesson before Dying

    Activities:
    Round table discussion
    Examination of archival materials
    Lectures from Ernest J. Gaines scholars Dr. Marcia Gaudet and Dr. Darrell Bourque
    Creation of pedagogical materials

    For more information, visit the Ernest J. Gaines Center’s blog or contact Dr. Matthew Teutsch at (337)-482-1848 or at gainescenter@louisiana.edu.

    The deadline to apply is March 18. For more information, visit http://ernestgaines.louisiana.edu/node/44

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    La. teachers have until Jan. 31 to apply for classroom funding

    AdoptAClassroom.com and ExxonMobil have extended the deadline for teachers to receive up to $100 each of free funding for their classrooms through Jan. 31.

    The opportunity has also expanded to include middle and high school teachers at qualifying Title 1 Schools in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas. The non-profi t, AdoptAClassroom.org pairs up donors with
    teachers across the U.S. to provide the funds they need to purchase hands-on learning resources.

    When “adopted,” teachers receive 100% of the contributed funds to purchase items that meet their individual classroom needs.

    The $100,000 check presented to support local Baton Rouge classrooms
    through AdoptAClassroom.org was funded from the commitment of donating two cents per gallon of fuel sold at local ExxonMobil-branded service stations throughout the month of November 2014.

    Teachers may visit AdoptAClassroom.org and click on the “Register Your Classroom” link to register.

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    LSU to host MLK Commemorative Celebration Week

    Martin Luther King Jr. once said that life’s most persistent and urgent question is: “What are you doing to help others?”

    Every year, the LSU community comes together to answer that question with LSU’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration Week, where the highlights and memorialization of the work, accomplishments and legacy of one of the greatest Civil Rights and African American leaders in modern history are honored.

    The Commemorative Celebration kicks off at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 19, where LSU and Baton Rouge community members come together for “MLK Day of Service.” Approximately 200 registered volunteers from LSU’s students, faculty, staff and administrators, as well as other community partners will participate in revitalizing multiple Baton Rouge programs and their facilities to better the community. Students, faculty, staff and community members participating in events can share their #MLK week experiences with LSU on Twitter @LSU or Instagram @snapLSU.

    Following the Day of Service, a candlelight vigil and march sponsored by National Pan-Hellenic Council will be held to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The vigil will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a short program beginning at the Memorial Tower in honor and remembrance of King’s work.

    On Wednesday, Jan. 21, the Student Union Theater will host the MLK Performing Arts Night, where people can celebrate the life and legacy of King through the arts, poetry, dance and musical expression. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

    The signature program is the MLK & Black History Month Commemorative Celebration, which will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22, in the Student Union Theater. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month Committees will host journalist, scholar, author and activist Marc Lamont Hill as the keynote speaker for the celebration.

    Marc Lamont Hill

    Marc Lamont Hill

    Hill is one of the leading intellectual voices in the country and is the host of HuffPost Live and BET News; commentator on Our World with Black Enterprise; and political contributor to CNN and Fox News. A distinguished professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College, Hill is also an award-winning journalist, receiving several prestigious awards from the National Association of Black Journalist, GLAAD and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

    Throughout the month of January, the MLK Committee will host a food drive to aid in LSU’s Food Pantry. Drop-off locations include the Office of Multicultural Affairs, located in room 335 of the Student Union, and the African American Cultural Center, located behind the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at 3 Union Square.

    The 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration is coordinated by the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee and the Black History Month Committee.

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    COMMENTARY: Is Obama trying to kill Black colleges?

    Is Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, trying to kill Historically Black Colleges and Universities? If he’s not, he’s going to have a difficult time convincing HBCU presidents, trustees and alumni. Surprisingly, Obama has become their worst nightmare.

    George Curry

    George Curry

    Neither President Obama, the First Lady, the Secretary of Education or the president’s closest advisers attended an HBCU and, consequently, are tone death in recognizing what is broadly viewed as sound policy can inadvertently harm our nation’s HBCUs.

    President Obama’s proposal that the federal government pick up the tab for a worthy student’s first two years of community college is a case in point. Without a doubt, a move toward free, universal higher education is an excellent decision.

    But if the president had consulted the major organizations representing HBCUs, he would have heard suggestions on how to tweak his proposal so that it would not needlessly harm Black colleges, which it is certain to do.

    The amended Higher Education Act of 1965 defines an HBCU as: “…any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of Black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.”

    HBCUs enroll only 3 percent of college students yet are responsible for nearly 20 percent of all bachelor degrees awarded to African Americans. In some fields, the figures are significantly higher.

    President Obama noted, “America thrived in the 20th century in large part because we had the most educated workforce in the world. But other nations have matched or exceeded the secret to our success.” And the U.S. can’t afford to lose the valuable contributions of HBCUs.

    HBCUs compete directly with community colleges. Both enroll students who may need some additional tutoring or training before they are college ready. More importantly, students who enroll in community colleges and HBCUs are in dire need of financial assistance. If you make the first two years of college free to community college students – and not to HBCUs – you don’t have to be a rocket or social scientist to see that Black colleges will come out the losers.

    And the bleeding doesn’t stop there.

    If and when community college students decide to continue their education, they may be more inclined to transfer to a state-supported public university, where costs are cheaper than those of a private or public HBCU. In many instances, that state-supported university might accept all of the student’s credits whereas the Black institution might accept some of them.

    Public HBCUs are likely to suffer under this scenario as well. If a Black student has attended a community college in Alabama, for example, he or she may be more prone to enroll in the University of Alabama or Auburn than they would if they had initially enrolled in Alabama A&M University or Alabama State. And given the costs, those students might totally bypass Tuskegee University, Talladega College or Stillman College, all private institutions.

    Colleges such as Spelman and Morehouse, though harmed, can probably sustain the drop in enrollment. But without any adjustments, it could be the death knell for many others, including Miles College, Tougaloo, Paine and my alma mater, Knoxville College, which already has a foot in the grave.

    With Republicans now in control of the House and Senate, it would have been far wiser for Obama to huddle with Republicans – whose presidents have been strong supporters of HBCUs over the years – to come up with a proposal that both sides could support. Going it alone, especially in this environment, virtually guarantees that the America’s College Promise program will go nowhere.

    What should be done?

    As one educator told me, it would have been better if Obama had said the federal government would pick up the first two years at a two- or four-year college. That would be better for most HBCUs. Because public tax dollars probably would not be designated for private colleges, the private and religious-affiliated institutions would still be in a bind.

    As for the Republican majority accustomed to saying “no” to everything when they were out of power, education would be a good thing to say “yes” to. And correcting the blunders made by the White House may even help in reaching out to a broader political base, a goal the GOP claims it wants to achieve.

    In the meantime, this new community college proposal, coming on the heels of the administration dropping the ball on Parent PLUS student loans that caused some HBCUs to lose as much as 20 percent of their student body and a proposed federal rating system that could also disadvantage some HCBUs, has some of Obama’s ardent supporters wondering if this is part of a plan to kill Black colleges. If it’s not, it may have the same sad effect.

     By George Curry
    NNPA Columnist

    George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA.) He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge and George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook.

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    $20k to be awarded in scholarship

    The deadline to apply for the scholarship is January 14, 2015.

    The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (also known as the Bill Gates Scholarship) awards scholarships each year to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American students.

    The program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, selects 1,000 talented students each year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. The scholarship is renewable and may be used in the freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate years. Students must have financial need and meet Pell Grant eligibility requirements. They must also maintain a grade point average of 3.3 and have a strong interest in leadership and community service. Students may attend any college or university they choose.

    Established in 1999, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program aims to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential. The program reduces financial barriers for African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with high academic and leadership promise who have significant financial need. The program also increases the representation of these target groups in the disciplines of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and the sciences, where these groups are severely underrepresented; and develops a diversified cadre of future leaders for America by facilitating successful completion of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

    For more details and/or to apply, visit: http://www.gmsp.org/

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    Morrell to confront school reform

    NEW ORLEANS - Senator JP Morrell announced today that he will be resigning his long standing position on the Louisiana State Senate’s Natural Resources Committee to fill the vacant seat on the Senate Education Committee. Morrell’s bold move comes at a contentious time for education in Louisiana.

    Statement from Senator JP Morrell:


     “I did not get into politics to skirt the tough issues. I sought office to help bring about positive, lasting change. That is why I have requested to be appointed to the Senate Education Committee.

    Improving education is the most effective way to enhance quality of life in Louisiana. Today we are faced with a range of challenging issues, including: funding, Common Core, career and technical education, early childhood programs, and school governance. While I do not have all of the answers, I am going to listen to all sides, do my homework, and strive to resolve these issues so that we can get about the business of educating our children and preparing them to succeed in life.

    I support our teachers, our parents, and above all, our students. I learned a lot from watching my mother when she was the principal of McDonogh #15 Elementary School. I saw firsthand the effects of insufficient funding, what can be accomplished by a hard-working, professional faculty and staff, and the impact of parents dedicated to helping their children achieve a better future. As a father of two young children, I want to do my part to ensure that Louisiana is a place where they can receive a world-class education.


    We have arrived at a critical juncture, and the future of our state’s education system – Pre-K to Higher Ed – hangs in the balance. That is why I have taken on this role. I hope to bring people on all sides of the issues together to try to do what is best for our children and the future of this great state.”

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