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Creswell Elementary : Makes the Grade - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Creswell Elementary : Makes the Grade

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When Stephanie Lafayette decided to leave the military two years ago and become a teacher, she had one goal.

"When you are a teacher you  think that you can save the world, " said Lafayette.

 

Little did Lafayette know that when she walked into Creswell Elementary she would meet students from around the world who needed her help.

"The diversity of the school is amazing there are times when you meet one kid from Honduras and another child from India and they tell you so much about their home country, " said teacher Neely Claasen

Creswell has the largest population of elementary students in the parish whose native language  is not English.  Many speak little to no English at all, making communicating with parents tough.

"A lot of parents didn't know how to ask for help and they don't  know what a ‘C' means and they were too afraid to ask, " said teacher Sharon Pollock.

That is why principal Tracey Harris stopped mailing report cards home. She instead requires every parent to come to school and pick up their child's grades. When they don't, calls go out every day and students aren't allowed to go on trips or take part in other school activities.

"It works great. What it does is helps lay a foundation, " Lafayette told KTBS Education Reporter Eric James.

The required face-to-face meetings break down barriers and give parents the tools needed to help their child no matter what language they speak .

 

"So we put their information in an indivual  learning plan, we give them website information, worksheets if they don't have internet," said Pollock.

Teachers also pair English speaking students with students who do not speak English to make help make sure what they are teaching is being understood.

"It requires a lot of 1 on 1  teaching and we have to make sure that when they ask a question in their native language,  we must say the question back and give the answer in English," said Claasen.

And their efforts are paying off, after years on being on the list, test scores are up and the school is no longer considered a failing school by the state. 

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