First Lady uses donated “whiteboard” to teach at Crescent Elementary

Deidre Cruse
FIRST LADY TEACHES...Louisiana's first lady, Supriya Jindal, teaches a lesson on math and science discovery to Crescent Elementary School students using new interactive whiteboard technology her foundation donated to the school's four first grade classrooms. “As an engineer, I know that science and math are key to student and career success,” Jindal told students huddled on the floor to compete in a math exercise on the new internet-connected white boards. Next to her is first grader Lanie Michelli. Jindal visited Crescent last week. (Photo by Angela deGravelles0

First Lady Supriya Jindal last week taught a 40-minute lesson to 75 Crescent Elementary School first graders using one of the internet-connected “whiteboards” her foundation donated to the school.

The Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children, which came under fire last week from a Washington D. C. ethics group, has awarded interactive technology to Crescent Elementary School’s four first grade classrooms.

“Interactive whiteboards are something we are beginning to see transform education across the country,” Jindal said. “A study recently released shows a 17-29 percentile gain in academic achievement in classrooms with such systems versus classrooms without. With hard work, we have the opportunity to make a lasting and positive difference in education.”

During Jindal's stint in the classroom, students answered questions and competed in teams testing their knowledge of math and science. They solved problems about money, scientific matter and facts on Louisiana.

Also participating were Crescent Principal Kathleen Schmit. Superintendent P. Edward Cancienne, Jr., and school administrators Geralyn Callegan, Richard Ellis and Kathy D’Albor also attended, as well as the four first grade teachers currently using the boards – Janet Hammonds, LaQuita Magee, Amanda Scivicque, and Victoria James.

The Jindal Foundation, with charter member partner, AT&T, and platinum member partner, The Dow Chemical Company, awarded interactive whiteboard systems to their four classrooms in March. The award package included the following for each of the four classrooms: a laptop, a Promethean interactive whiteboard with speaker system, an interactive response system that allows students to actively participate in the lesson, all installation, and instructor training for the teachers.

By the end of the month, the Foundation will have awarded interactive whiteboard systems to more 160 classrooms across Louisiana.

"The Dow Chemical Company is again honored to partner with the First Lady's foundation," Evelyn Jones of Dow said. "Through the installation of the interactive whiteboard technology we hope to enhance the learning environment within the classroom."

Last week, the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington D. C. reported that Supriya Jindal's foundation had collected $790,000 from donor corporations, including Dow, and alleged the contributions were a way for them to “curry favor with the governor while skirting campaign contribution limits” of $5,000 per candidate in each election cycle.

A spokesman for Gov. Bobby Jindal reportedly said the allegation was an attempt to undermine the governor's work.