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.
Inside this Issue
There is nothing magical about New Year’s resolutions. In fact, research has found that only about 45% of people even make resolutions. (And 35% of those who do quit them before the end of January.)
So, are they even worth it? While resolutions may not be the most successful, there is a lot of benefit in setting goals for yourself. Goals can help you become who you want to be, provide stability and drive you. The new year gives you a good starting point.
BUT, HOW DO WE START THE NEW YEAR OFF RIGHT?
1. Reflect on the previous year.
Healthy things grow. Healthy people are no different, but to grow, we have to see where we are. Start by looking back at the previous year and ask yourself:
What went well last year?
What did I accomplish?
How did my life improve?
What goals did I abandon? Why?
What hurdles did I overcome?
What do I wish I had spent more time doing?
2. Ask yourself, “What do I want to improve upon and why?”
You have the best opportunity to achieve the goals you set for yourself. Be careful not to set your goals based on what another person or our culture says. Your goals are about your health, finances, career, relationships or whatever you choose. No matter how good a goal is, the success rate is diminished if it’s set for the wrong reasons. Side note: There is no magical number of goals either. Maybe you just need to start with one and focus on it until you achieve it.
3. Set SMART goals.
Ever heard of a SMART goal? SMART is an acronym coined in the Management Review Journal in 1981. It means specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It’s a business model for setting goals, but it translates well to other types. Here’s a brief explanation of a SMART goal:
Specific: Your resolution should be absolutely clear. Instead of “I want to get in better shape,” say, “I want to run a 5k in three months.”
Measurable: You need a way to measure your progress. Depending on your goal, you may have to search, but look for a tool to measure your progress. Choose a method that you’ll stick with.
Achievable: If it’s not attainable, you’ll probably give up too soon. Don’t try to jump too big, too fast. If there’s a big, lofty goal you want to achieve in the future, that’s great. Break it down into smaller goals and take those on. It’s a lot less daunting to say you want to lose 5 pounds in two months than to say you want to lose 50 pounds.
Relevant: Does the goal matter to you? Is this something you want, not anyone else?
Time-bound: Every goal needs a time frame. The timeline must be realistic. Set a target achievement date and set benchmarks along the way.
4. Build a support system.
Achieving goals is a lot easier when you surround yourself with people cheering you on. Come alongside friends or family, and all agree to share your goals and support each other. Accountability will push you to keep at it. If you need to, find an online group with similar goals and journey together.
5. Write it down.
This seems simple, but there’s power in writing your goals, perhaps in your planner or on a sticky note in a prominent place. Make sure they are somewhere highly visible so you can read them over and over. And you can check off that goal once you achieve it.
Go ahead and set those goals for the new year. But take the time to make a plan. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Yehjune Moon is a QuestBridge National Match Scholar, and Hannah Bourgeois is a YoungArts award finalist.
QuestBridge Match Scholarship recipients are admitted early to QuestBridge college partners with full four-year scholarships that are provided by the colleges and universities, ensuring for these students and their families that an education at a top college can be affordable. QuestBridge’s college partners include top liberal arts colleges such as Amherst, Pomona, and Carleton and exceptional research universities such as Duke, Princeton, Stanford, the University of Chicago and Yale. The Match Scholarship is offered as part of a generous financial aid package provided by the college that covers the full cost of attendance, including tuition; room and board; books and supplies; and travel expenses. Yehjune has been awarded a Match Scholarship to Rice University worth more than $400,000.
The YoungArts finalist award recognizes work that demonstrates exceptional technique; a strong, sophisticated, nuanced and clear artistic point of view; and a depth of thinking/performance that far exceeds the level of peers at this career stage. Finalist winners are invited to participate in National YoungArts Week and will have their work further evaluated and recognized as one of the following: Level 3 $1,000; Level 2 $1,500; Level 1 $3,000; Silver $5,000; and Gold $10,000. Finalists who attend National YoungArts Week and meet the eligibility requirements are also considered for nomination to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Hannah is one of only 16 national finalists in theater.
Junior Achievement of Greater Baton Rouge works with community volunteers to mentor kindergarten through fifth graders on personal finance, work readiness concepts and entrepreneurship through its JA in a Day program. Students are introduced to budgeting, saving, career pathways and taxes.
Volunteers are essential to Junior Achievement’s mission of inspiring and preparing young people for economic success. It’s through the generosity of community and parent volunteers that over 23,000 kindergarten through 12th graders received financial literacy mentoring across eight parishes in 2021-2022. Volunteers are needed for the 14 upcoming JA in a Days this spring.
Junior Achievement provides volunteers with classroom activities, a script and virtual training. Teachers remain in the classroom with volunteers, and there is a JA staff member on-site to assist volunteers. JA of Greater Baton Rouge invites families to learn more about our financial literacy programs and to volunteer at your child(ren)’s school for JA in Day. All volunteers need to bring is a smile and lots of enthusiasm. To volunteer for an upcoming JA in a Day, click here.
I CARE 10th Annual Prevention Summit
The I CARE Program wishes you and your family a Happy New Year! As we welcome your students back to school we want to remind you of the benefits of family and community conversations around alcohol and drug prevention.
Did you know that:
Parents have significant influence on their children’s decisions to experiment with alcohol and other drugs.
Unfortunately, about 10% of 12-year-olds say they have tried alcohol, but by age 15, that number jumps to about 50% as reported to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
It is better to talk to your childer BEFORE they are exposed to alcohol and other drugs as they are more likely to respect your rules and advice about alcohol and drug use.
You can protect your children from many of the high-risk behaviors associated with using these drugs
Fentanyl is a DANGEROUS DRUG and ONE PILL CAN KILL! Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S. (See the fact sheet from the CDC for more information and data)
Practical Advice for Parents of Teens Regarding Prescription Drug Abuse:
As a parent, teach your teen to:
Respect the power of medicine and use it properly.
Recognize that all medicines, including prescription medications, have risks along with benefits. The risks tend to increase dramatically when medicines are abused.
Take responsibility for learning how to take prescription medicines safely and appropriately, and seek help at the first sign of a problem for their own or a friend’s abuse.
Parents can make a difference! Kids who continue to learn about the risks of
drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than those who are
not taught about the dangers. Only 22% of teens report discussing the risks
of abusing any prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription with their
parents. It’s up to YOU to talk openly with your kids!
The I CARE program is here to help!
The annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration highlights and memorializes the work, accomplishments and legacy of one of the greatest civil rights and African American leaders in modern history. The celebration, organized by the collective efforts of students, faculty and staff led committees, conceptualizes and executes a series of events to engage the LSU and greater Baton Rouge community on actualizing Dr. King's ideals of social justice, nonviolence, education and service.
MLK Day of Service
Date: Monday, Jan. 16 Time: 7:30 AM - 2 PM Locations: various Baton Rouge sites Contact: email@example.com or 225-578-4339
Each year, approximately 250 volunteers of mostly LSU students, staff and community members make it "a day on not a day off" and engage in service projects through MLK Day of Service. Your participation is key to our impactful service. Individuals as well as organizations will be able to reserve their spots at a later date. Volunteers should wear tennis shoes and clothing that are appropriate for service work. Masks are required.
Schedule: 7:30 AM — Registration and Breakfast 8 AM — Welcome 8:30 AM — Buses depart 9 AM - 1 PM — Service projects 1 PM — Buses return to LSU; lunch
Volunteers must complete a waiver. All minors must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or representative of the organization they are affiliated with. Waivers for minors must be completed by a parent or guardian and can be obtained in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
While it can be tempting to simply count down the days until summer break, spring semester is a prime time for high school underclassmen to prepare for the college admissions process, and for college-bound seniors to close out the year on a high note.
Here are some tips for high school students to ensure a productive and successful spring semester.
Keep your grades up.
All Students: Admissions officers like to see an upward grade trend, so freshmen, sophomores and juniors need to work hard to maintain good grades and improve upon not-so-stellar grades. Seniors, it is especially important to maintain spring semester grades because colleges will see your final transcript, and a dramatic dip in academic performance can result in a school rescinding an offer of admission. Just because you’ve been accepted doesn’t mean the work stops. Work hard to finish out the year strong.
Meet with your counselor.
All Students: One of the biggest mistakes students make is not meeting with their college counselor on a regular basis. Be proactive and set up meetings for the beginning, middle and end of the semester, so you can check in regularly with your counselor and they can evaluate your progress and determine what you need to do to prepare for the admissions process. It’s also important to build and maintain a relationship with your counselor, as they will write a recommendation for you come college application time.
Begin building your college list.
Juniors: If you haven’t already, start heavily researching schools and determining where you want to apply next fall. Look into admissions requirements, academic offerings, courses, professors, campus life, student organizations and anything else that will help you make an informed decision about where you want to go to college. A balanced college list should have a range of target, reach and likely schools, so be sure to look into a wide variety of institutions.
Reassess your extracurricular involvement.
Freshmen and sophomores: Sustained involvement in just a handful of activities over an extended period of time is much more impressive than many one-off participations in several different clubs or activities. Take a look at your résumé and all your activities and determine which ones mean the most to you and align with your core interests. Cut out any activities you’re not completely invested in, stick with the ones you like best and deepen your involvement by taking on a leadership position.
Also, seek out new activities that you think better match your interests. If your school doesn’t already offer a club or activity that really interests you, then start your own student club or extracurricular project.
Start test prep.
Sophomores: Now is the time to start seriously thinking about the SAT and ACT and begin preparing for one or both. In one of the meetings with your college counselor, discuss both tests and come up with a timeline for when you should prepare and sit for these high-stakes exams. I recommend taking multiple, timed practice tests in order to identify content weaknesses, evaluate test-taking strategies and to accurately simulate actual test day. Practice makes perfect, or at least improves scores!
Sophomores and juniors: Spring is the best time to visit college campuses. School is in session, the weather is usually favorable and you can visit during your spring semester breaks. Begin making plans to visit a few college campuses by sitting down with your family and discussing a trip and dates. Then do your research and register for information sessions, sign up for guided tours and see if you can stay overnight in one of the dorms.
Plan for the summer and next fall.
All students: During your check-in meetings with your counselor, discuss options for summer activities or programs and talk about what classes you need to take next fall in order to stay on track academically. Summer is a great time to deepen your interests with an internship or academic program, so do your research to determine what summer activity is the best fit for your personal and academic goals.
HAVE A GREAT SPRING SEMESTER!
Not all teens know how to study. Those that don’t may spend more time than they need to on their work for school. Or they may get frustrated and stop studying completely.
Share these strategies to help your teen study effectively:
1. Take notes in class. Writing down what the teacher says can help your teen see what the teacher thinks is important. Reviewing his notes regularly will also improve his retention of the material.
2. Break it up. Research shows that frequent short study sessions spaced out over time are more effective than one long study session.
3. Study similar subjects at different times. Putting new information into your brain is a little like pouring concrete. Your teen has to give it time to “set up.” So between a science lesson with a lot of formulas and a math lesson with a lot of formulas, your teen should study history or English — to allow the science lesson time to set.
4. Avoid getting sidetracked. If your teen finds their mind wandering during study time, they should keep a notepad by his study spot. They can jot down reminders or random ideas that pop into their head and then get right back to studying.
5. Eliminate distractions. The TV, phone and a growling stomach will all distract your teen. Make sure they turn off all electronics and take care of hunger and thirst before sitting down to study.
It’s everyone’s favorite question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Yet when we ask children this, it can imply that they’ll be defined by what they do, and that their achievements regarding this singular goal will determine their success.
Instead, ask, “What problem in the world do you want to solve?”
A Shift in Perspective
This new question has several benefits. It shifts the focus from being career-driven to being mission-driven, gives the child the chance to be of value right now—rather than only when they grow up—and opens the world of opportunities to them.
For example, if your child wants to be a doctor when they grow up, then veering from that path could mean they may feel like a failure. They may also feel stressed if they force themselves to accomplish a career goal that doesn’t bring them happiness. Asking children what they want to be teaches them that their value isn’t reached until they “grow up” and attain doctor status.
A New Question for an Evolving Future
Try asking your child, “What problem in the world do you want to solve?” If they respond, “I want to help people to be healthier,” they have endless options and goals, and they can start now. Their journey can lead them toward writing books; becoming a scientist, teacher, fitness instructor, chef, nurse or the president of a hospital; or even starting a healthy habits video series right now.
This reframing of the conversation is especially critical given the evolving professional landscape. The pace at which jobs are shifting now due to new technologies is extreme, to say the least. There are young people right now who are readying themselves for jobs that won’t even exist in about 10 years. Asking a child what they want to be when they grow up bears the risk of pointing them toward a job or career that’s being phased out, leaving them feeling confused and ill-prepared.
The Future of Work
The future of work is evolving. The way that we communicate with our children should, too. So, today, try asking your child, “What problem in the world do you want to solve?” and give them an opportunity to be mission-driven, see the world through a lens of empathy and experience life with adventure and curiosity.
For help navigating this challenging and evolving educational landscape, explore the Verizon Innovative Learning HQ portal, which provides free resources and classes to grow the next generation of problem solvers.
In these challenging economic times, the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance wants students and parents to understand their student financial aid options. Many families have experienced the loss of assets reserved for their children’s college education or have lost a primary income source. Whether you are a new high school graduate entering college for the first time or a displaced worker who wants to return to school for additional job training, there are student financial aid options available.
If you have questions, contact the LOSFA public information staff at email@example.com, or call (800) 259-5626 or (225) 219-1012.
The First Step
Every college student, regardless of income, is encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. You can complete and submit the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is the initial application used to determine your eligibility for both federal and state aid programs. Eligibility for need-based aid is based upon your family’s assets and your income as reported on the previous year’s tax form.
FAFSA Special Circumstances
If your family has had a dramatic reduction in income from what was reported on your 2022 income taxes, the financial aid office at your school may be able to make a change to your financial aid eligibility status.
To receive consideration for special circumstances, you must first submit the 2023-2024 FAFSA with your 2022 income tax information, and then make an appointment with a financial aid counselor at the institution you plan to attend to discuss your situation. Most institutions will have students and the parents of dependent students fill out a special circumstances form and submit documentation, including tax forms, and verification of the reduction of income such as a letter of layoff or records of unemployment benefits. Special consideration may also be made for other situations impacting a family’s finances such as extraordinary medical expenses.
Each school has established their own criteria to define circumstances which may warrant special consideration and the documentation required to prove the necessity of that consideration. Any decision made by an institution regarding special circumstances is final.
Deferment vs. Forbearance
With a deferment, both the principal and interest payments are deferred on a subsidized loan, whereas with a forbearance only the principal payments are deferred. You are still responsible for the interest payments, and capitalized interest continues to increase your principal balance, causing you to pay interest on interest.
Be advised that you should use a forbearance ONLY IF you do not qualify for a deferment. A forbearance may be the best solution if you are very delinquent nearing default, and are afraid that the lender may file a default claim before the deferment can be completed and/or approved.
If You Have a Student Loan in Repayment and Want to Return to College
If you have a student loan in repayment which is in good standing and you want to return to college as at least a halftime student, you can request an in-school deferment. The financial aid office at the school you are attending must receive certification of your in-school status. Contact the registrar’s office at your school to obtain the necessary certification.
If You Have a Defaulted Student Loan and Want to Return to College
You will not be able to get additional financial aid until you rehabilitate your defaulted student loan. You should contact the company that currently owns your loan for instructions on how to rehabilitate the loan.
In general, to rehabilitate your defaulted loan, you will be asked to cure the loan default by making loan payments on time each month for six months or more. Once you have made the prescribed pattern of payments, you will be eligible to borrow additional educational loans.
How Can You Reduce the Cost of Your College Education
Louisiana’s START Saving Program assists families with the financial burden of funding a college education. START provides an opportunity for all families, regardless of economic status, to have a professionally managed Education Savings Account. As an incentive to save, the state matches a portion of the account owner’s annual START deposits. The START Program also provides tax incentives for START account owners. Account earnings which are used for qualified higher education expenses are exempt from state and federal taxes. Account owners may also deduct up to $2,400 ($4,800 for married couples filing jointly) in deposits per account per year from income reported on Louisiana tax returns. For information on the START Saving Program or to open a START account, please visit http://www.startsaving.la.gov.
Other Cost-Saving Suggestions
Share costs with other students by having a roommate and/or carpooling.
Choose to attend a school in your vicinity and live at home.
Choose to attend a community college before transferring to a more expensive four-year university.
Use public or campus-paid transportation.
Research textbook options at your school. Check for lower prices on the internet.
Work full-time at a college or university that pays employees’ tuition at that school.
NEVER borrow more than is absolutely necessary.
2022-2023 EBRPSS Parent Survey for Schools
Hello EBRPSS parents and caregivers,
Please open survey, choose a language AND school site (do not select East Baton Rouge Parish School System), then complete the survey. We appreciate your feedback as we strive for continuous improvement.
Parent Power is a publication of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System
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 (ADavis6@ebrschools.org, 225-929-8705). The Section 504 coordinator is Danielle Staten-Ojo, (firstname.lastname@example.org., 225-326-5668). The Title II coordinator is Dr. Sandra Bethley, administrative director of Federal Programs (SBHorton@ebrschools.org, 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.
Dr. Sito Narcisse, Superintendent of Schools
Letrece Griffin, Chief of Communications & Family Engagement