As part of their Education Day on November 18, 2015, the 2016 Leadership Northshore Class attended a presentation by the St. Tammany Parish School Board. The meeting began with Superintendent Trey Folse speaking to the budding leaders of our community. He gave the attendees a “pop quiz” where they were tested on their knowledge of our school system. Questions included identifying the number of schools in our parish and the definition of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Then, Mr. Folse, Mr. Peter Jabbia, Mr. Michael Cosse, and Dr. Regina Sanford each took turns sharing important information about the school system. This ranged from the hiring process for personnel to the number of students with special needs.
Next, the attendees were divided into groups which rotated between four stations. One of the stations was presented by Tracy Hoffman, the district High School Teacher of the Year. Along with some of her students, Tracy did a demonstration on the robotics program at her school.
I had been asked to give a presentation on how I integrate technology into my music classes. For my activity, I shared a lesson that I had done recently with my first grade students that incorporated the use of a promethean board. A promethean board is an interactive whiteboard that connects to your computer. Although the promethean board can be utilized in a classroom in a variety of ways, I explained how I used a “flipchart” on the promethean board to enhance my lesson on rhythm. Flipcharts may seem at first like PowerPoints. However, the students are able to manipulate and interact with the information in the flipcharts. I demonstrated moving visuals for rhythmic notation with a pen in order to model composing. I also showed how teachers can use a pen to write on PDF files that have been imported into the flipchart. Following my presentation, many of the guests expressed their amazement at the advancement of the technology being used in schools.
Mr. Folse spoke again when the guests reconvened. In his closing words, he shared the influence that a great school system has on the businesses in its community. At the same time, he said that the businesses have a significant impact on the schools.
Before leaving to visit various schools in the parish, the guest viewed a video that highlighted students throughout St. Tammany Parish. I loved seeing several of my own students in the video. Along with the images, we heard “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. The first line of this song is “You, who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by.” In the end, the future business and community leaders left with the understanding that the St. Tammany Parish School System lives by the code, “Every Child, Every Day.”