Dr. Beverly Smith is getting her feet wet in her new position as the Webster Parish School Board’s Jump Start Coordinator.

Dr. Beverly Smith began her new position as Jump Start Coordinator with the Webster Parish School Board on Feb. 8. Michelle Bates/Press-Herald
Dr. Beverly Smith began her new position as Jump Start Coordinator with the Webster Parish School Board on Feb. 8. Michelle Bates/Press-Herald
“I am thoroughly enjoying this job,” she said. “It’s very much a challenge, and right now I’m just getting my feet wet with the basics of the program, what it entails and what we need to do to make sure the program is a success.”

Currently, her job consists of massive amounts of research, both from the Louisiana Department of Education and with the four Webster Parish high schools to make sure the schools are offering the proper curriculum and courses. She says she may also have limited contact with Webster Junior High School and North Webster Junior High School.

LDOE officials say the Jump Start Program is a new model, offering a solution to the state’s crumbling career diplomas. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Rawls, in January, said the program is similar the old cooperative program where kids go to work.

“This will be for students who elect to go into some type of career path,” he said.

The program aligns Louisiana’s K-12 career and technical education with the state’s economic development strategies, LDOE officials say.

“We’re making sure our schools are offering the proper courses so that when students get through the program they’ll be able to receive the credentials they’re seeking,” Smith said.

In January, Rawls explained the position in that Smith will work with employers to supervise the students and make sure memorandums of understanding are signed between the schools and the employers. An evaluation rubric, or guideline, will have to be developed and a wealth of issues will need to be addressed.

She’s not in the schools yet, she says, and doesn’t expect to be until the 2016-17 school year.

It is a refreshing change, she says, but it’s a different “ball game” once she gets out into the schools versus her position as a principal. She’s either been in the classroom or been the principal of a school for 23 years, she says, and she misses dealing with the kids on a daily basis.

“It’s a big adjustment,” she said. “But I’m so excited about doing this job. It’s a welcome change, and I’m really looking forward to making sure this program is a huge success.”

The position is a 12-month position and salary is roughly $50,000 to $60,000 plus benefits.

Smith was the principal at J.A. Phillips for about four and a half years before taking this position, and principal at Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School from 2004 until 2011.

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