Iberville School Board Superintendent Arthur Joffrion provided updates to members and to the public on the school redesign process at the board meeting on Monday, May 8.

The board approved in April what Joffrion refers to as a “disruptive innovation” to three parish schools: Iberville Elementary, White Castle High and East Iberville.

Iberville Elementary will be transformed into a Montessori school and the state’s Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) will be implemented at both White Castle High and East Iberville schools.

“You (members) challenged me that not only our academies flourished, but that we had quality programs that parents would be proud to send their children to,” Joffrion said to board members in their April meeting.  “We do have some pockets of excellence in some data areas and some grade levels and in some content areas.  However, when you look across the board there is a huge concern.”

According to Joffrion, the district will spend about $1.3 million to implement the Montessori method at Iberville Elementary and about $80,000 on TAP training for teachers and support staff (in addition to performance-based pay) of White Castle and East Iberville schools.

The redesign includes the implementation of new leaders and staff at each of the three schools.  Joffrion announced to board members that principals have been chosen and assigned at each school.

Dr. Calvin Nicholas was named Principal at East Elementary/High School, Adeline Loupe at White Castle High and Jeanne’ Medine at Iberville Elementary.

Current staff at each location wishing to remain on staff at each redesign school are currently interviewing to retain their positions.  On May 12, Joffrion and his staff will inform staff members of the district’s decisions.

Vacant positions at each school will be open for interviews for current staff at other Iberville schools from May 15-24.  Vacant position interviews for out-of-district employees and new educators will open May 30, 2017.

The board also discussed and approved a five percent salary increase for all district employees.  According to Joffrion, those teachers with their salary “step” increase available, the “step” will be taken into account and the five percent will be added to that.

“Step” is a program offered to district teachers that are rated “effective” each year. According to the Master Salary Schedule on the Iberville Parish School Board website, ancillary employees receive a “step” of $150 each year while those with Bachelor’s, Master’s (+30), Specialist degrees or Ph.Ds or Ed.Ds receive an increase of $300 each year they are rated as “effective”.

According to Joffrion, teacher steps go up to 40 years while some non-instructional go up to 14 years.

“Employees have not received a raise since 2008,” Joffrion said.  “With Sales Tax up and with savings due to reorganization that the board approved in December, the funds were available.

“We felt it was an appropriate time to use the money to recognize the hard work of current employees and to attract new employees to the district.”

The salary increase was approved unanimously by the school board. Pam George was absent.