School system taking academy applications

Deidre Cruse

The Iberville Parish School System is accepting applications to the Math, Science and Arts Academy (MSA) now through March 16.

Students will be selected for the college preparatory program at a public forum at 6 p.m. April 16 at the School Board’s Central Office.

In the 2009-10 school year, the MSA program will include grades 6-10 at both campuses, the MSA-West, located at E. J. Gay School near Plaquemine, and MSA-East, located at St. Gabriel Community Center in St. Gabriel.  The parish will add a new grade level each year until new or renovated facilities are created for the MSA programs. 

Applications are available online at ipsb.net, at all Iberville Parish schools, the Iberville Parish School Board office and at all Iberville Parish libraries. Applications must be signed by parents to be included in the lottery.

There is no grade-point requirement for entrance into the academy program, but once a student is accepted he or she must maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade point average to return the following year, said Elvis J. Cavalier, executive director of special projects for the Iberville Parish Public School System.

Students who applied last year but were not selected in the lottery can re-apply, he added.

 “Our Math, Science, and Arts Academies ignite the fire that acts as a catalyst for an explosion of opportunities for students to discover their skills, interests and talents and build an academic foundation that will transform their destinies,” Iberville Parish School Superintendent P. Edward Cancienne Jr. said of the program.

 “It is the belief of this school system that an academy education can empower families and revitalize the communities and that every student who enters our door-regardless of race, income, or zip code—deserves to be challenged and will achieve,” Cavalier added.

The mission of the MSA Academy is to challenge local learners to reach global standards through unique and engaging experiences and opportunities in a safe and nurturing environment, the officials said.

Cavalier urged parents interested in the program to tour the schools, talk with parents whose children attend, and to talk with students who are attending.

 The school system showcased the MSA programs last week with open houses held at each of the schools. More than 350 parents attending got a glimpse into how the current program is faring.

“We could not be more pleased with the comments we are hearing about these schools,” Cancienne said.

After a video presentation by Cavalier highlighting the college preparatory curriculum and activities, parents visited the classrooms, art centers, and the computer and science labs. 

They also heard from numerous speakers, including two key University-based participants, Dr. Elizabeth Willis, who is partnering with the MSA teachers and students on the LSU Writing Project, and Dr. Bradley Leger, who discussed agri-science electives and their leadership programming.

Cavalier discussed the “MSA difference,” including innovative teaching and smaller classes, technology-rich campuses with a laptop for every student, activities and field trips, development of critical thinking skills, the faculty focused on excellence, and an abundance of arts, music, and other creative projects.