Calcasieu Parish School Board receives LDOE Models of Excellence award

January 2023

The Calcasieu Parish School Board is the newest recipient of the Louisiana Department of Education’s Models of Excellence award for the district’s Virtual Instruction Program initiative. The Virtual Instruction Program is in its first year of existence and is already significantly impacting high school education in the district.

“The addition of the Virtual Instruction Program to the academic opportunities here in Calcasieu Parish is changing the dynamic to how we deliver and receive instruction,” said CPSB Superintendent Dr. Shannon LaFargue. “We are proud of the program, the students enrolled, and the faculty and staff pouring into this program daily. We’re already seeing an incredible impact on our students’ educational journeys, and we fully anticipate this program will continue to grow and further impact these students’ futures. In addition to the VIP recognition, we appreciate the LDOE’s acknowledgement of three pillars that contributed to this prestigious award – Innovation, Partnerships, and Perseverance. We emphasize those areas consistently, and we are excited and honored that our school district gets this affirmation.”

The Louisiana Department of Education launched the Models of Excellence initiative in 2021 to acknowledge, honor, and spotlight schools serving as exemplary models for implementing the Department’s Believe to Achieve educational priorities that leads to the advancement of student success. The Virtual Instruction Program is receiving this honor for providing innovative solutions to geographical and staffing challenges, strategically building partnerships, and perseverance.

 

As a program that is in its infancy stage, we are honored to be recognized for the hard work that we have put in this school year thus far,” said Dr. Doug DeVillier, Virtual Instruction Program Administrator. “We have a dedicated staff working to break down the obstacles that come with developing a new and innovative program that benefits students around our district. We are thankful for the opportunity to be a model for other school districts.”

The district’s Virtual Instruction Program, housed at the Lake Charles Boston Academy of Learning, allows students to enroll in advanced courses while remaining on their own campuses. It provides schools with access to a diverse menu of opportunities including dual enrollment courses through SOWELA Technical Community College, two new pathways, and courses that are of high interest to students but may not currently be available for various reasons. 

The benefits of students enrolling in V.I.P. courses include boosting their GPA with courses that count on a five-point scale, earning high school and college course credits that transfer to other Louisiana universities, and distinguishing themselves from fellow classmates on scholarship applications. Students are developing a competitive edge when applying in the job market following graduation through enrollment in the program.  Additionally state STEM pathways and courses are available and can be supported through the Region V STEM Center.  All this is available at no cost to our students.

Representatives from the Louisiana Department of Education, including State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley, visited the Virtual Instruction Program site earlier this year, witnessing the impact the program is having on students across our parish. State department representatives will return to the site next month for a Models of Excellence celebration.