Suggestions given on how to make reopening Istrouma High successful

Suggestions given on how to make reopening Istrouma High successful
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - People in North Baton Rouge now wait for an agreement between the state board of education and the East Baton Rouge School Board, following a unanimous vote from the board to reopen Istrouma High School.

Istrouma High was boarded up last year after issues under the operation of the Recovery School District.

"That was the only high school in 70805 that was shut down. That made no sense," said Carnell Washington, the president of the EBR Federation of Teachers.

Washington has no personal connection with the school, but said he felt compelled to get involved when he heard students talk about it when the decision to close it was made.

The EBR-LFT and concerned citizens flooded the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education with postcards and petitions. Those postcards read "Take the Locks Off and Let Our Children In" among others.

Now, it seems the school could possibly reopen as early as next year.

The parish school board is closer to regaining control from the state, pending they can both agree on a proposal.

Washington said there are some changes that need to happen to make Istrouma more successful that it was. For example, he said initially it should not reopen as a four-year high school. Instead, he believes it should open as a two-year high school. Starting with 9th and 10th graders and adding a grade level until it is back to 9th through 12th.

Some of these changes Washington has already discussed with EBR Superintendent Warren Drake.

"Have some adult programs, for adult literacy maybe, starting at 4:30 in the afternoon. Might need apprenticeship programs for job training," Washington said. Things like nursing programs or barber school.

He said the national trend now among urban schools is to make them true community schools.

"A school that services the entire community. Adult population and youth population."

That means having a traditional school from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., but making it available for other technical classes. Washington said doing so should lead to more pride in the school, thus giving the community a true buy in to what happens there.

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