Supt. Drake to Stress Community Service

Students who play on athletic teams in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System will be required to participate in community service, according to a plan by parish schools Supt. Warren Drake.
The plan is modeled after a program begun by Central High School head football coach Sid Edwards. Members of his football squad are required to participate in a group called Men for Others. During the summer, football players are active in meeting the needs of the community, whether it is cleaning roads and streets in Central, removing storm debris, or painting an elderly person’s home.
During the school year, they are less active but still take on some projects.  Coach Sid said the program, which he has operated for several years, teaches young people about the needs of the less fortunate and prepares them for a life of service to others.
Supt. Drake said Coach Sid’s organization works and is worth duplicating.  Under his plan, each athletic team will adopt a major service project for the school year. “They will be servant leaders,” Drake said.
“Our students will learn that you don’t have to be wealthy to help your fellow man. It doesn’t necessarily cost you in dollars to give back,” he said.
Drake said the projects chosen would be up to the coach and the team members. “We are not going to approve or disapprove the projects. We are going to see what they come up with,” he said.
It’s all part of Drake’s larger plan to promote good values in public schools.
“We have 10 values we are promoting in the schools this year,” he said. “This month the focus is on having a Vision.”
“It’s really about the question, What do we value, as a person, as a classroom, as a school, and as a school system. We want to help students be focused on character development,” Drake said.
Building values and character fits with Drake’s commitment to excellence throughout the school system.
Under the leadership of Supt. Drake and the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, the school system is focusing on Data Driven Instruction. Each student will be independently tested and assessed.
“This will allow us to identify problems, such as poor math skills, and then focus on helping that student get up to speed. Initially, the program will be in schools that are not up to par, in order to help the students there and help the school itself perform at a higher level,” he said.
Drake said two East Baton Rouge Parish schools are competing to be named Blue Ribbon Schools, and he thinks they have an excellence chance for success.
The parish lost 126 school buses during the flood. They have purchased 80 buses since the flood.  Now they are ordering 26 more.
At the annual parishwide convocation of East Baton Rouge Parish teachers and administrators last week, Supt. Drake emphasized the importance of each employee giving the taxpayers his money’s worth.
“We are not an employment agency,” he told the more than 5,000 employees of the system.  “We have to be like a business that serves our customers,” he said.
Drake said he is deeply grateful for the support the school system and he personally have received from the Baton Rouge community.
“We must never take that for granted.  We work for the people of Baton Rouge.  We must always answer to them and give them our best everyday,” he said.

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