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Dr. Cade Brumley, the Louisiana State Superintendent of Education (left) presents Lafourche Parish Schools Superintendent Jarod Martin with the school district’s Models of Excellence Award for its high quality science instruction initiative.

The Lafourche Parish School District earned one of the highest honors it could receive today — a feat that would be amazing in normal times, but which is even more impressive given the challenges they’ve faced in the past year post-Hurricane Ida.

The local school district was awarded a 2022-2023 Louisiana Models of Excellence Award for its high quality science instruction initiative today at a celebratory ceremony held at Central Lafourche High School.

The award is the highest honor handed down by the Louisiana Department of Education with just 2-3 districts receiving the distinction each year. Lafourche is the first to receive it this school year.

Dr. Cade Brumley, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education, said the work Lafourche has done is nothing short of amazing. He applauded Lafourche Schools Superintendent Jarod Martin for his work, but also our community for always being willing to work together to achieve a common goal.

“You guys here are always working together,” Brumley said. “You’re not asking other people to solve your problems for you. You’re working together for solutions. … One year ago, I was driving around with Mr. Martin looking at the damages. Just to get back to school at all would have been an amazing accomplishment. To get back and to thrive is an absolutely amazing accomplishment worth celebrating and recognizing." 

Lafourche earned the honor for its quality science instruction initiative and some of the work that’s gone into making that program thrive were on display during the ceremony.

Brumley said Lafourche is working hard to engage students and keep them active in the learning process.

During the ceremony, Melanie McCorkel, Terry Degruise and Belinda Mire spoke of the school system’s successes, saying that teachers throughout the district take pride in allowing students to be creative and take ownership in the learning process. By doing so, students take pride in their work and strive to do better.

“They’re not just having their students sit in their chairs doing something quietly to occupy the time,” Brumley said. “They’re having students get out of their chairs, doing hands-on activities and physically learning how science works. They’re thinking about science in terms of what’s necessary and needed in this particular part of the world to help prepare students for jobs they’ll hold in this area.”

Martin said Monday was a great day for the school district and a huge feather in the district’s cap, especially after Ida’s challenges and also the challenges of on-campus learning during the pandemic.

“We are so proud,” Martin said. “We have a great team. Our teachers work so hard and through the challenges, they always found a way. Even when there were challenges, they found a way.”

The State Superintendent of Education said in the past 12 months, Louisiana’s test scores have improved and Lafourche is one of the area’s that’s enjoyed the highest growth rates — even after Ida.

The district recently ranked as one of the best in the entire state — an honor that Martin said at the time was “an amazing accomplishment.”

Brumley said he wanted to thank everyone in the district — administrators, teachers, personnel, students, parents and everyone else — and said that the honor is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved.

“The growth you were able to show here has been phenomenal,” Brumley said. “We’re happy to be here to recognize this system for their work and it’s the highest honor we give. … Thank you, Lafourche, for making the impossible possible.”

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