Southeastern College of Education sponsors summit

Contact: Rene AbadiEntergy gives Southeastern grante
Date: November 5, 2012

Entergy Customer Service Manager Craig Schimpf, right, accepts thank you cards created by students at the Southeastern Lab School in appreciation for a $10,000 grant to the Southeastern College of Education and Human Development to assist in follow up meetings to its Education Summit. Presenting the cards are, from left, John Fischetti, dean of the college; Mary Ballard, associate dean; and Southeastern President John L. Crain.

     HAMMOND – Approximately 400 stakeholders from across the region gathered at Southeastern Louisiana University Friday (Nov. 1) for a summit on the conditions of children, families, schools and society in southeast Louisiana.

     Hosted by the College of Education and Human Development, the program included presentations focused not only on schools, but on many other aspects of the daily lives of children and families, including divorce and family law, abuse and neglect, parental incarceration and the foster care system.

     Attendees included educators, counselors and social workers, non-profits that provide services for children, government officials and concerned community members.

     John Fischetti, dean of the college, said discussion continually came back to the number one impediment to student achievement -- pervasive poverty. In Hammond, 32 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, many of whom are children.

     "As we heard all 20 presentations today, it was clear that we have a huge task before us," said Lemar Marshall, Hammond City Council member and a panelist during the evening session. "The bottom line is the poverty element that we are confronted with every day. We must reduce poverty in order to drive educational achievement."

     Rob Carlisle, chief executive officer of Child Advocacy Services, a nonprofit that advocates for children moving through the court system and foster care, said every adult must take responsibility for the welfare of children.

     "We need a complete cultural shift," he said. "The family unit has changed drastically, and children are encountering more than 15 adults on a daily basis who have some role in their care. We all have to think of any child as all of our children."

     The day-long session was just the beginning of an ongoing conversation and collaboration, according to Fischetti. He said it is critical to bring together all partners and resources into a coordinated, focused effort to improve the lives of children and families, which will in turn improve education.

     The college plans to host follow-up meetings in the spring to address issues raised during the Summit, with funding provided through a grant from Entergy.

     "We want to figure out how to get it right, because it's unfair to the next generation to leave them in a situation where the cup is less than half full," he said.

     Other panel participants included members of the faculty of the College of Education and Human Development; Darrell Fairburn, superintendent of Washington Parish Schools; Shayla Guidry, supervisor of special education in St. Helena Parish; Marian Usey, student teacher at Southeastern; and Lila Tritico Hogan, divorce and family law attorney.


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