EBR teachers and parents blast Superintendent’s ‘Smart Start Plan’ at town hall meetings

EBR teachers express anger about 'Smart Start' plan

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse had to answer to teachers and parents at three separate town halls, about his ‘Smart Start Plan.’

It’s a plan to move the first day of school to July 28 so kids can catch up in school.

“This is what I believe is what many others, our cabinet, and other leaders that we talked to, will help us to do better as an entire school system,” said Dr. Sito Narcisse, EBR Schools Superintendent.

Dr. Narcisse held three town halls, two at Woodlawn Baptist Church and another Glen Oaks High School, to try and convince teachers, parents, and staff, that his ‘Smart Start Plan’ is the best option for the students to make up ground lost from the COVID-19 pandemic.

EBR teachers and parents blast Superintendent's 'Smart Start Plan' at town hall meetings
EBR teachers and parents blast Superintendent's 'Smart Start Plan' at town hall meetings (Source: WAFB)

“Our intent always is the same, how do we get our kids re-acclimated into school,” said Dr. Narcisse.

But the plan to start school on July 28 is getting pushback from teachers.

“I want these kids to succeed. I am a product of EBR, and I want good things for this place. But the way you seem to be going about it, is wrong,” said Kylie Davis, Northeast High School teacher.

“What kind of support are you providing specifically because I’m burnt out. And I’m sure my co-workers are burnt out. And we really feel like we’re not being supported,” said Jessica Smith, a teacher at Southeast Middle School.

EBR teachers and parents blast Superintendent's 'Smart Start Plan' at town hall meetings
EBR teachers and parents blast Superintendent's 'Smart Start Plan' at town hall meetings (Source: WAFB)

“To even imply that any teacher in this district, hasn’t put every ounce of energy and effort into this school year, is a slap in the face,” said another teacher.

And a lot of parents weren’t happy either.

“Why don’t you take the D and F performing students, make them come,” said one EBR Schools parent.

“What are you going to do during those 8 days, to make them more valuable than the regular first days of school?” questioned one EBR Schools parent.

“I think this is a terrible idea, I feel like maybe it’s a good plan, but this is not the time,” said Harmony Hobbs, parent of a Mayfair Lab School student.

A lot of the people who spoke up in these meetings feel blindsided by the Smart Start Plan, and say after this crazy school year, now is not the time to cut summer short.

The superintendent says they’re still discussing whether or not those proposed extra school days will be mandatory attendance for teachers and students.

“These are additional days for teachers, so if they don’t come, they just won’t get their regular salary. The feedback that I’ve heard, is that we want to require for students come back. The big thing for me, is the more children we get back, the better,” said Dr. Narcisse.

The EBR School Board will vote on the ‘Smart Start Plan’ on April 22.

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