NCHS PTO Meeting - December 9, 1991
The meeting opened with a prayer lead by Mrs. Ester Johnson. Then Mrs. Basile read Mr. Martel's account of the last meeting. Mr. Fontenot thanked those parents who helped to replace the support personnel on Thursday of American Education week. He said that he enjoyed serving in the cafeteria.
Mr. Ambres explained his idea of purchasing a bulletin board to help encourage kids to do better. The board will display how kids can move up through three categories of success. Each section of the bulletin board will display a separate degree of Academic success. One section will display only students with A's and B's, another with A's, B's, and C's and one section with 2.0-2.9 averages. Mr. Ambres said that the purpose of this is to help build character and pride in Academic Achievement. This was his own idea.
Another of Mr. Ambres ideas which was praised by Mr. Fontenot and members of the PTO is the Principal's Club. In order to be a member of this Academic Club, a student must make only A's, and B's in one six weeks. He or she then earns a T-shirt which displays that he or she is an NCHS honor student. Approximately 30 students are members.
New purchase for the school (besides the new bulletin board) include a Scantron machine to prepare tests similar to CAT and LEAP tests and an ID picture machine which will allow us to make our own ID's. Mr. Ambres said "I'm seeing progress, and I like what I'm seeing." He says that he sees a difference in the attitudes of some of the teachers, some of the parents,and some of the kids - not all - and he is beginning to like it. He said that at one point he was about to give up. "Getting the things that we need did more for this school than anything else," he commented in reference to the $68,000 grant we received.
Mr. Ambres reflected on how we were given nothing to begin with, mostly trash, which he is getting rid of. He said that we took what they gave us and did our best. He said that he was ashamed to have people come into the library, but now we have new tables. We have a copy machine for our teachers to use. Book shelves are being constructed by the agriculture department so that teachers can take their books off the floor.
Mr. Ambres told the parents present that it "takes time" and asked them to allow us to work with their children and to "give us your support". He predicted that North Central High will be one of the best schools in the parish. But he said that we have to sell it to non-believers.
Mr. Ambres reiterated his beliefs about getting back to the old ways of having the parent and not the child in change and repeated his warning that if things don't change we will pay the price. The meeting was then interrupted for a few minutes to allow Daily World photographer to take pictures for the newspaper.
When the meeting resumed, there was a discussion about combining our next meeting with open house. Plans are to serve refreshments and offer a door prize to attract more parents. (Food will be an incentive) Turnout tonight was light (15 parents and 2 teachers). Suggestions were offered to attract more parents including making announcements in churches and sending notes home by students. Mr. Ambres said that this was a waste of paper, but if we get a word to a hundred parents it would be worth it. A suggestion to contact parents by phone may be worthwhile due to the efforts of Jeremiah Adams who has typed into our computer the names, addresses, and phone numbers of every student at NCHS. When the problem of transportation was brought up, Mr. Ambres said that he would send our bus to pick up parents if they wanted to come.
Mr. Martel suggested a combination PTO and bingo. Mrs. Durand said that there would be problems with the IRS and the state police. Also the idea of bingo might offend some people in different religious beliefs.
Mr. Ambres explained to parents the reason for high suspensions in our school. He said that we have consolidated three schools and seven communities and each community had 3 or 4 children who were problems. We have the combination of all of these children together here which gives us a larger total number. Also, Mr. Ambres said that we have several different religions here which sometimes come into a conflict. He said that we all worship the same God regardless of our religion, and that parents have to come together first, and then the children will follow.
Mr. Ambres said that our school being predominantly black was expected to fail, and they felt that our children would tear the place up. "But we made a fool out of them", he said. These kids are just as good as anybody in the parish. Nothing is torn up over here. Mrs. Johnson said that Mr. Ambres inhereted all of the problems we had last year. Mr. Ambres said that when Mr. Broussard left, we should have demanded a principal. Although Mr. Woods and Mr. Haynes did an excellent job,there was no principal to make decisions, nobody did anything, and the kids got away with murder. Mr. Ambres said that it will take time for things to get better. Mrs. Johnson said that just like with everything else parents should be accountable for the child's actions at school. Mr. Ambres said that at this stage last year we had had twenty-two fights, and this year we hardly had any. Things are changing.
Mrs. Davenport donated to us a beautiful hand made quilt for the PTO raffle, and it will be put on display in the lobby. Mr. Ambres thanked Mrs. Basile for the role in helping get bookshelves make for our teachers.
Mrs. Durand addressed the group about the possible school fair in April. She said that we would have to come up with $7000 on presale of rides before the man from Pelican Wright Co. would move his equipment here. We would get 20% of the $7000 and whatever we make on food, booths, etc. Mrs. Durand said that the key is publicity. She calculated that with the number of teachers we have each homeroom would have to sell approximately $300 worth of rides. Mr. Ambres commented that we couldn't put it all on the teachers, and Mrs. Stakes said that we need more parents involved. Mr. Ambres said that he would discuss this at his next faculty meeting.
In closing remarks Mr. Ambres stated that NCHS tournament grossed $5000. Mrs. Johnson said how proud she was of a kid in special ed. who got a NCHS T-shirt. Mr. Fontenot said that this was an excellent idea. Kids want to have one. Mrs. Davenport suggested that when a kid is suspended he should be given something to do. Mrs. Durand agreed and said "Don't let them go home to watch the soaps." Our next PTO meeting is at 6 p.m. on Jan. 13. Please note the time change. All teachers will be present for Open House to meet with parents. Food will be served and a door prize will be given.