In a landscape full of educational options for parents and students, the East Baton Rouge School System is working to provide a well-rounded, quality program.
The school district is focused on building strong academic foundations for children in the parish to ensure they thrive as successful adults. The district is changing and growing, with exciting programs and opportunities for children across the Baton Rouge community.
We talked with three parents to learn more about why they chose East Baton Rouge public schools.
The Emphasis on Academics
Hattielynn Fridge says she chose East Baton Rouge public schools because her children’s schools are close to home, have healthy structure, and keep up with their academics and behavior.
After a bad experience with her oldest son at a charter school, Fridge says, she enrolled her children in traditional public schools. Her son, who is 9, attends Labelle Aire Elementary and her 15-year-old daughter attends Belaire High School.
“The charter school gave the children too much freedom and did not give my son the one-on-one support he needed academically,” Fridge says. In contrast, she says, Belaire High performs far better.
Another parent, Christine Assaf, says she switched to the East Baton Rouge public school system for a stronger academic program for her daughter.
Assaf says her daughter was struggling in private school because she wasn’t placed with other gifted children or being challenged enough. She requested testing for her daughter for the East Baton Rouge Gifted and Talented program and enrolled her at Westdale Middle School. Her daughter, 16, now attends the magnet program at Lee High School, maintaining a 3.5 GPA.
Assaf says the Gifted and Talented program and the magnet system in East Baton Rouge Parish schools gave her daughter the structure and attention she needed to excel academically. “It’s possible to get a good education at East Baton Rouge schools,” Assaf says. “My daughter is proof of that.”
Plenty of Opportunities for Enrichment
East Baton Rouge Parish schools offer a wide variety of activities and alternative programs beyond the core classes.
“I am extremely happy with the magnet program because of the focus on academics along with other opportunities for enrichment,” says Gloria West, parent of two children in Baton Rouge public schools.
West says East Baton Rouge public schools’ magnet system has given her children the opportunity to participate in the arts, sports and service organizations that make them well-rounded individuals.
West’s two daughters attended Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts, Sherwood Middle Academic Magnet School and Baton Rouge Magnet High School. One of her daughters just graduated from Baton Rouge Magnet High, and the other will be a freshman there in the fall. Both of West’s daughters play soccer. The oldest was also part of organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the National Honor Society, and her youngest daughter will be in the Talented Art Program, she says.
Assaf says she was also impressed with the access to enrichment activities, noting that her daughter chose to attend Lee High because the school has opportunities for her to study digital multimedia.
A Hands-on Approach to Learning
All three of the parents we contacted said EBR schools take a hands-on approach when it comes to teaching students and interacting with parents to ensure the best education for students. Administrators see the relationship between school and home as a partnership.
“I chose EBR public schools, specifically Gifted and Talented and magnet schools, because the class sizes are smaller and there is a one-to-one student-teacher interaction,” Assaf says.
EBR schools also provide opportunities for parents to speak one-on-one with faculty and administration to help improve schools.
At Belaire High, for example, Fridge says she wanted to see more parent-teacher involvement. She talked to the principal about her concern, and now a PTA is on track to launch this fall. Through continued conversations with the principal, Fridge says, she hopes to keep improving the school.
A Quality Education Supported by the Community
Each of the parents said it’s important to have public schools close to home that can offer a strong education for their children, and that by supporting these schools, they can strengthen their communities.
“When we invest in education for our entire community, we bring up the level of basic education for all, and thus create smarter citizens for our workforce, which helps our community thrive,” Assaf says.