Grant Parish School System
The Grant Parish school system operates eight schools located throughout the parish. The eight member Grant Parish School Board is an elected body.
Click here to go to the Secretary of State database of elected officials, for a listing of the school board members.
The Grant Parish School Board
512 Main St.
Colfax LA 71417
Professional Development Center
600 Main St.
Why go to School in Grant Parish?
This page is dedicated to just that question. The following will give you the answers:
This appeared on the front page of the Town Talk on April 21, 2004:
Grant Parish schools show improvement on test scores
3 Cenla districts rank in top 10 in state
All school districts in Central Louisiana have improved their performance scores and the Grant Parish district has improved more than any other district in the state. The State Department of Education released District Performance Scores Tuesday giving a broad idea of just how well each school district performed in the 2002-03 school year. For the second year in a row, three Cenla districts ranked in the top ten of the 66 districts in the state. Those are Vernon at fifth place, Beauregard at 7th and LaSalle tied for 10th.
DPS is part of the state's top-ranked accountability system that tracks educational progress through standardized tests, school improvement plans and monetary rewards. DPS is formulated from the 2003 scores on the LEAP 21 and Iowa tests, attendance and dropout rates through the 12th grade.
The state average DPS this year is 80.6.
Rapides Parish stayed about the same as last year at 86.6. Since most other districts in the state saw improvements, that means Rapides Parish fell in the rankings from 20th in 2002 to 25th. Parent Brenda Williams said there was little improvement because Rapides Parish has so many financial and discipline issues that the parish isn't focused on academics right now. "The teachers are aggravated because there is no money and they are underpaid," said Williams, the mother of two students. "They are worried about hairdos and uniforms. There is nothing motivating the children to keep them there and nothing to motivate the teachers."
Superintendent Gary Jones has repeatedly said he's eager to get the district's financial woes in order so he can concentrate on improving education, much like he reformed academics for positive results in Claiborne Parish.
Vernon Parish is the top district in Cenla and the fifth-highest performing district in the state, with a DPS of 101.
Superintendent Cindy Gillespie credits parent involvement for her district's top achievement.
"I guess it's something that's rare in other areas, but not here," she said. "We have great participation from our parents, and our teachers have high expectations for the kids."
Grant Parish saw an 15.4-point improvement that kicked the district up to a DPS of 88.1. Now, Grant ranks 21st in the state. "Outstanding," said Superintendent Bob MacLamore. He said teachers have been trained to break down each student's test scores to identify weaknesses and tweak curriculum accordingly.
"This shows that hard work and working with students pays off," he said.
Dry Prong Junior High
Some information about Dry Prong Junior High:
Mr. Ben LaGrone: Mr. LaGrone believes he possessed the ability to undertake the challenge being a principal presented. He says "teaching is the most meaningful job a person can have. As principal, I get the opportunity to lead a group of people who teach and a group of people who learn every day of every year." Mr. LaGrone, as principal of Dry Prong Junior High, is in constant pursuit of avenues to make DPJH a better place and enjoys the challenges that come with the job.
Mr. LaGrone became a principal because of the examples set for him as a student. He saw how his former principals interacted with the assistant principals, teachers, and students. Seeing how they did it made him want the job someday.
Mr. LaGrone says the most rewarding part of his job is "knowing that I am leading an effort that is bringing positive change to people's lives." He says he is proud of Dry Prong Junior High and what the school has accomplished. He is proud of the teachers, staff and community support. Mr. LaGrone feels fortunate to have such great students.
Mr. LaGrone became Regional Principal of the Year in 2001-2002. He met the qualifications to apply. He proved this by creating a portfolio in which he demonstrated the endeavors he had taken. His portfolio was judged against others in Region 6. Mr. LaGrone feels that even though he received this honor, he couldn't have won without the teachers, staff, community support, and great students. Mr. LaGrone feels that in the past 2-3 years, DPJH has undergone many positive changes; they have innovative, fresh ideas and the teachers are willing to make changes. These are the reason he feels he won Regional Principal of the Year.
School Based Health Center
The SBHC started from an idea that Governor Foster wanted in the state. His idea was that many young people don't get the medical attention needed at young ages. This could eventually lead to health problems that could have been prevented, be them psychological, emotional, or physical.
The School Based Health Center at DPJH was one of the first in Cenla and has proven successful. The school was able to get the center thanks to the School Board who was willing to provide the space. St. Francis Cabrini Hospital provides the personnel and supplies. Mr. LaGrone says "The school mission and services provided by the center blend nicely to help meet the needs of many students and families.
DPJH is divided into four small schools called "teams." LaGrone says this is successful because "the teachers get to know the students more completely and students develop a sense of belonging that is very much needed at their young, adolescent age.
Through teams, teachers work closely together to provide learning opportunities that are more like real life experiences for students. We are trying to increase connections to the community through business partnerships. Communication within the school and school-to-home has increased significantly due to team restructure." The schools ultimate goal is to make the middle years of every students school career the best they can possibly be.
To be a part of the "wildcat family" is an exciting experience. "Together we all strive to: Work Hard, Enjoy the Experience, Learn for Life.
Mr. Joel Johnson
Mr. Johnson became a teacher because many people said he would make a great one. He enjoyed the inquisitive minds of young people, parenting, and teaching. His goal is to help young people discover who they are and what they want to do in life.
Mr. Johnson was selected as the 2000 Teacher of the Year. He first was nominated for teacher of the year on a local level; he won by attrition. He then submitted an application and won Teacher of the Year on the regional level and went on to state. He went into a thirty minute interview where he was asked questions. Mr. Johnson honestly didn't think he had a chance in the world of winning, but went simply to have a good time.
At the announcement of the winners, Mr. Johnson didn't think he had a chance of winning, so he didn't pay attention to who won, his mind was on coming home. Suddenly, Mr. LaGrone slapped him on the back and said "You won! You won!" He was asked one question for his acceptance speech, "If you had 1 minute to talk to the legislature about education in Louisiana, what would you say?" All Mr. Johnson could think about was splitting logs. His reply: "In north LA, they burn wood for fuel to heat their homes. When cutting the wood, you cut the log into 18x20 chunks of wood. When the wood is stood up, there is ax X in the center. When you hit the X, the wood splits easily. Give us a check mark that doesn't move at the heart of students. When the teachers hit that mark, you will see the desired effect."