PLAQUEMINE - The Iberville Parish School Board and Southern University Chancellor James Llorens signed a letter of agreement on Monday approving a cooperative agreement for the proposed intensive college readiness program at White Castle High School.

The new college readiness initiative encourages greater skills development with intense interaction with Southern University faculty and students at White Castle High School.

The program honors the late Alberta Hasten who worked tirelessly to advance education in the White Castle area.

“We are proud to partner with the Iberville School System and linking our College of Education to work collectively to enhance student college success,” said Llorens.

Attending the board meeting, too, were Southern University College of Education Dean Luria Young who spoke about services and programming students will receive during this year.

Included in the initiative are cooperative activities, tutoring, mentoring and programming for all grade levels. The program is being lead by master teacher Gail C. Edwards from the district’s administration staff, Principal Charles Handy and the faculty from both institutions.

The mission of the program is to advance the culture of high expectations for future college attendance at Southern University. “We want to create mutually beneficial partners to give students the opportunity to successfully attend and complete college after high school,” according to Superintendent of Schools Ed Cancienne.

The agreement began in June and will conclude in May 2014 with detailed outcomes. The program will follow the five-fifths agenda for America, include summer enrichment camp, art, music and theatre, Student/Community Day at Southern University, College Preparation Program, Field trips, STEM student interaction bi-annual trips, interaction with both bands, cheerleaders and theatre programs, cohort academy end of year achievement banquet. The program is expected to cost approximately $100,000 per year.

“This project was born of Alberta Hasten's thoughts, ideas and lifestyle and from working with her so closely for six years," Cancienne said. “It all starts with aspirations and Southern University will inspire our students to aspire to great success.”