east Baton Rouge parish school system

volume 14, issue 4  |  November 2021

Dear parents and guardians, I am so excited to welcome you to our Parent Power Newsletter. We're thrilled that you’re interested in learning more from our dedicated team at EBR Schools and can’t wait to start sharing with you here.

Inside this Issue


How to get EBRPSS diplomas 
and transcripts reissued
Boost your child's reading 
comprehension with these five tips



Don't let electronic devices derail 
your middle schooler's studies
The need for boundaries



Campaign:  No Vape November
Mental health links for families



Attendance and truancy
Two things to know before buying 
and using portable electric space heaters



Line4Line brings Change the Narrative
to Merrydale Elementary
November calendar

How to get EBRPSS diplomas and transcripts reissued
Upon request, the Information Technology Department provides reissued transcripts and diplomas to EBR graduates.
How to request:
  • Call (225) 922-5524 between noon and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Visit 1050 S. Foster Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    to request in-person between noon and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Reissued diploma: $5
  • Reissued transcript: $1 per page (Transcripts are usually one to three pages.)
Forms of payment accepted:
  • Exact cash – no change will be given
  • Money order
  • No checks or cards accepted
- There is a processing period of seven to 10 business days for all diploma and transcript requests.

Boost your child's reading comprehension with these five tips
The older your child gets, the more complex their school reading will become. They will need strong reading comprehension skills to do their best in school. To help your child understand what they read, encourage them to:
· Read aloud. This slows down reading and helps your child “process” words.
· Read to relax. Encourage your child to read enjoyable books for fun.
· Reread. Reading things more than once familiarizes your child with new concepts and           vocabulary.
· Supplement reading. Look for interesting, nonintimidating materials related to what your      child is learning in school.
· Discuss reading.  Ask questions that encourage thinking, such as, “Would you recommend    this book to a friend?  Why or why not?"

Don't let electronic devices derail your middle schooler's studies
Sometimes it seems that middle schoolers are permanently attached to their phones, tablets and other devices. They text from the minute they wake up until they go to bed. They share funny videos and pictures with their friends. They scroll through social media.
So it’s no surprise that students often try to use their phones while they’re working in class or doing homework. But several research studies show that the more time students say that they text, use social media or read online while they do schoolwork, the lower their grades are.
Students often think their devices can help with their work. After all, they can watch a video of the pyramids while studying history. They can check their answer to a math problem.
There’s just one problem: Kids seldom stay focused on the work they are doing.  Pretty soon, they click from the history video to the latest internet joke. From then on, history is not their focus.
What can you do to help your child stay focused on their work and not on the smartphone?  Here are some tips:
· Talk about multitasking — and how research shows it doesn’t work. Students need to focus while studying or they won’t learn.
· Follow the rules regarding devices in class. Many teachers have a “parking lot” where students must leave their phones or tablets.
· Limit the use of devices during homework time. Studies show that the more time students spend multitasking, the longer their studies take.
· Be a role model yourself.  Don’t check your phone during family dinner or (especially) in the car.

The Need for Boundaries
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Following a heated exchange, has your child ever stomped a foot and declared, “You’re not the boss of me”? As hard as it is to hear, your child was probably right!  
Before hearing those words from your child, you had probably made a request with empty threats at least five times. You begged, bargained and berated to no avail. Your child’s defiance had not wavered. And to make matters worse, this same scenario had taken place yesterday, the day before and the day before.  
How do you break this unproductive and unhealthy cycle? Begin by hearing the needs of your child’s heart. Your child is trying to let you know their need for you to teach them right from wrong; the difference between expectations and requests; and the consequences of choices.  
I think of discipline as the continual everyday process of helping a child learn self-discipline.  
~Fred Rogers  
Establishing Boundaries  
Setting boundaries is one of the greatest gifts of love you can give your children. By setting boundaries, you let your children know someone in authority cares enough about them to provide direction and guidance. Children need firm boundaries so they can get on with the task of growing up to be respectful and responsible. Boundaries help children:
*Develop self-control and a sense of responsibility for their own behavior.
*Resist peer pressure and every new fad that comes along.
*Understand that wrong behaviors have negative consequences.
*Feel secure under the protection of parental authority.  
*Know what’s expected of them.  
*Gain wisdom, knowledge and guidance in our complicated world.
Boundaries without consequences are just suggestions. Think of building a wooden fence without securing the posts. Rather than sinking the posts in concrete, you drive them in the ground 6 inches. They’ll stand upright until the first gust of wind blows them over. The same is true of rules with no follow-through. When the rule is tested, the boundary blows right over. Dig the posts deep with the concrete of conviction to uphold the rule, no matter the objection. 
Every home must have nonnegotiables. They are a few, well-chosen issues that are not open for discussion so that your children learn your word can be trusted. In our home, bedtime was nonnegotiable. Saying “please” and “thank you” were required. (I still remember waiting in the grocery store for 15 minutes one day until one of my sons finally said “thank you” to the bakery lady who offered him a cookie.) No PG-13 movies until after the age of 15. These were a few carefully chosen rules that were never allowed to be questioned. If you’ll take the time to set in place a few “not open for discussion” rules, you’ll be amazed at the peace you’ll bring to your home. You’ll be able to keep your cool under pressure, because the decision has already been made. You can lower your voice to a whisper, even when your child is bellowing to negotiate.  
"Training moments occur when both parents and children do their jobs.  
The parent’s job is to make the rule. The child’s job is to break the rule.  
The parent then corrects and disciplines. The child breaks the rule again,
and the parent manages the consequences with empathy
that then turn the rule into reality and internal structure for the child."
~ Dr. Henry Cloud, “Boundaries with Kids: When to Say Yes, How to Say No”  

No Vape November
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November is Tobacco Awareness and Prevention Month in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. The I CARE  Program would like to share that this month is also 
#NOVAPENOVEMBER  as we know that vaping is on the rise. Each day in the U.S., about 1,600 youth smoke their first cigarette and nearly 200 youth start smoking every day.  Flavoring in tobacco products can make them more appealing to youth. Have honest talks with your child about vaping and tobacco use. Try the following tips to promote honest and calm conversations:
  • Let your child lead the conversation and listen to their questions and comments.
  • Encourage your child to tell you how they feel.
  • Empathize with pressures they may be feeling to do drugs or drink alcohol from their peers or their environment.
  • Ensure to regulate your own emotions, especially right now.
  • Highlight the risks of tobacco and vaping.
  • Show that you value their perspective and make the conversation a win-win for them.
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Mental Health
 Links for families
           If you or someone is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:                  800-273-TALK (8255)

Capital Area Human Services (CAHS) Center for Adult Behavior
Provides an integrated outpatient approach to recovery from mental illness, 
addictive disorders or co-occurring disorders, managing behavioral 
health conditions in a safe and stable environment.

Margaret Dumas Mental Health Center
Provides information; referral services; behavioral health and addiction screenings; 
and based on need; psychosocial and psychiatric evaluations and treatment; 
and individual, group and family counseling.

Mental Health Association of Greater Baton Rouge
Services provided for persons with or at risk for mental health and substance abuse issues, such as peer assistance group, transitional living and educational program.

The Hospice of Baton Rouge
Camp Conquer-Grief Support for the Kids of Our Community
The Hospice of Baton Rouge provides a safe and loving environment at Camp Conquer where children and teens can share their stories of loss of loved ones through death and explore their grief openly. The first camp experience was held in June of 2017. The Hospice of Baton Rouge has several Camp Conquer experiences each year during the holidays.

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – Facts for Families

Webinar - American Psychological Association and National PTA: 
“How to Tell When a Kid is Struggling”

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services - Talk About Mental Health,
 For Parents and Caregivers

Attendance and TRuancy
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What is truancy?
Students are truant when they are absent from school without good reason or without permission from home or school. Students who stay out of school frequently become potential dropouts.
What is school absenteeism?
School absenteeism includes all excused and unexcused forms of nonattendance such as students who are: truant, suspended, expelled, delinquent, chronically ill, pregnant, runaway, tardy and students who belong in school but have never been enrolled or attended.
Students must attend school between 7 and 18 years of age. Any student below the age of 7 who legally enrolls in school shall also be subject to compulsory attendance. Students 16 years old or under age 18 may exit school but must enroll in an alternative education program or enroll in a vocational technical program under certain conditions of a waiver applied for by the parent or guardian. The superintendent or a designee must approve this waiver. 


U.S. Department of Education Chronic Absenteeism In The Nation’s Schools

Attendance Works – Advancing Student Success By Reducing Chronic Absence 
10 Facts About School Attendance

Why School Attendance Matters and Strategies to Improve It

National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
Make Every Day Count: Boost School Attendance - Why Attendance Matters
How Important is it for Kids to be in School? School Attendance 
is a Baseline Factor in Determining Student Success.

Two things to know before buying 
& using portable electric 
space heaters
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SAFETY:  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that portable electric heaters were involved in approximately 1,200 fires per year. Some of the safety recommendations from CPSC for safe operation of portable electric space heaters include:
  1. Never power the heater with an extension cord or power strip.
  2. Keep combustible material at least 3 feet from the front, sides and rear of the heater.
  3. Never leave the heater operating while unattended or while you are sleeping.
  4. For additional CPSC safety recommendations for portable electric heaters, click here.  
ENERGY USE:  It is no coincidence that Energy Star does not label portable electric heaters. That is because these heaters are more expensive to operate than central heating systems for the amount of heat produced. Most portable electric space heaters consume 1,500 watts of electricity and can heat entire rooms. But they can also easily overload electrical circuits if other electrical devices share the same circuit.
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(*) ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.  Learn more about ENERGY STAR.
This energy conservation tip is provided by the East Baton Rouge Parish School System’s Aramark Energy Management Team. For more information, please contact us at                     (225) 226-3723, or
Line4Line brings Change the Narrative to Merrydale Elementary
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Each week, students at Merrydale Elementary School line up at the library door excited about what new books, art materials and other creative inspirations are waiting for them inside.
They enter the room, sit on brightly patterned cloth mats, put on their special name necklaces and listen to this week’s book, “I Am Every Good Thing,” by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James. The book describes with joy all of the wonderful things a child can be. After listening to such lines as, “I am a gentleman and a scholar” and “I am a roaring flame of creativity. I am a lightning round of questions, a star-filled sky of solutions,” students then make a list of all the positive things that they are in their sketchbooks. 
Later, they will learn how to draw the human form and add their self-portraits to their sketchbook covers.
The activity is part of the Change the Narrative curriculum, which is being piloted at the school during students’ library time by Line4Line, a local creative literacy nonprofit.
Change the Narrative combines diverse books with art projects to promote identity, agency, kindness and joy. The books create print motivation as children see themselves in the books they identify as both readers and learners. Children need books that are both mirrors and windows into the lives of others, since it is essential that they must first know themselves before they can empathize with and understand others. The art projects bring joy and agency as they ignite creativity and empower the brain to find divergent solutions to systemic problems.
After making their lists of all things that they are, students beam with pride as they read them aloud. “I am a daughter, an artist, a big sister, a gamer, a blessing, brave and a lady,” proclaimed a fourth grader.
“I am an artist, a thinker and a strategizer” is how a fifth grader starts off his own poem, inspired by the prose from the book.
Paige Dampf Wormser, director of curriculum development, primarily facilitates the program with help from artist and program director Lucy Perera; and Tammy Mulhearn, a teacher and librarian. Merrydale Elementary was chosen by Line4Line’s Executive Director O’Neil Curtis, a former student at the school. “I had a teacher in second grade there that really made an impact on my life, and I wanted to give back,” says Curtis.
Each lesson is designed to engage the whole brain and whole child, pulling together time for movement, skill building, writing and creative expression. The readings and discussions are aligned with Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s framework which reconceptualizes literacy development, using a four-layered framework that explores identity, skills development, intellect and criticality.
“When students have a strong sense of self, they feel like they can thrive, and we start to see greater academic and personal success,” explains Muhammad, author of “Cultivating Genius.”
The yearlong curriculum progresses from exploring personal identity, intersectionality and place to examining the powerful stories of diverse dreamers and world changers who overcame adversity to make their world a kinder place.  Along the way, it creates and practices a toolkit of ideas and words that students can use to confront the negative “isms” of our society that are designed to divide and disenfranchise. Finally, it completes the series with joy and agency as children are empowered and challenged to assert their value, stand up for what is right and act with kindness.
In addition to providing a weekly reading and art lesson to every K-5 student, teachers have the opportunity to participate in a free monthly book exchange for their classroom libraries. 
So far, the response from students and teachers has been positive. Merrydale’s literacy coach, T. Smith, agrees, “Line4Line helps and supports students. They LOVE the lessons and get a chance to learn about their identities to boost self-esteem.”
“Line4Line has been awesome for my classroom. My students enjoy reading the books from the classroom library set up by Line4Line. They also always look forward to their sessions in the library,” says E. Hunter, first grade teacher.
To learn more or see how you can bring this program to your school, email
November calendar
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The East Baton Rouge Parish School System and all of its entities (including Career and Technical Education Programs) do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, national origin, disability or gender in its educational programs and activities (including employment and application for employment); and it is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of gender by Title IX (20 USC 168) and on the basis of disability by Section 504 (42 USC 794). The Title IX coordinator is Andrew Davis, director of Risk Management ( phone (225) 929-8705. The Section 504 coordinator is Elizabeth Taylor Chapman, director of Exceptional Student Services ( phone (225) 929-8600. The Title II coordinator is Dr. Sandra Bethley, administrative director of Federal Programs ( phone (225) 922-5538.
All students have an opportunity to participate in Career and Technical Programs of Study, including, but not limited to, areas of health care; construction crafts and trades; automotive technology; IT computer technology; culinary programs; criminal justice; and agriculture. Admission requirements for each course can be found in the student course guide/schedule packet of the individual campus where the course is being offered. Please contact the guidance counselor at the specific school site for additional information, program requirements and/or any questions you may have.

Parent Power is a publication of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System

Dr. Sito Narcisse, Superintendent of Schools


Alexandra Deiro Stubbs, Chief of Communications & Public Relations


Marlon Cousin, Community Liaison