Fall Frenzy ended in favor of individual school visits - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Fall Frenzy ended in favor of individual school visits

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Lafayette Parish School System Lafayette Parish School System

The Lafayette Parish School System has ended the long tradition of the Fall Frenzy, which allowed parents of students the chance to visit with faculty, staff and students of many Schools of Choice at once.

This year, instead, the newly-renamed "Magnet" schools will host events at their schools. You can see the schedule here. More on the recruitment event and More on the changes for Schools of Choice and Magnet Academies here

We asked the school system some questions we had about these events. Their responses, which were provided by Azi Yazdi, who is employed by the system to market the programs and recruit students, are in italics. 

1. How are parents without transportation supposed to participate?  (some of these locations are not on the bus line)  As stewards of our students and the district, we strive to do the best we can with the resources available. We recognize that transportation availability is not always as accommodating as all parents would like. For example, we might experience a bus breaking down or a bus driver calling in sick, where alternate means of transportation is necessary and a parent needs to drive the student to the school. In some cases, a satellite stop location or pickup/dropoff time might not work with a parent’s schedule. Events hosted at the school sites allow for parents and students to experience travel to and from the schools they are interested in, to be better prepared in the event transportation is unavailable.

As a follow-up, we asked: Is LPSS is suggesting that families who can't afford a car, or may have only one vehicle, shouldn't participate?  No, that is not what I am saying. Even for open houses, tours, orientations, or school meetings, there are school locations that (as you pointed out) are not in a bus line path. Magnet Mania is no different a circumstance than those events. What we discovered during Fall Frenzy, which was a one-stop shop, was that for the most part parents with small elementary grade students attended - most already knowing what they wanted to apply for, and not a lot came using bus line service. They either drove in carpools or drove individually. The older students that were there were either volunteers or came to see friends perform. It was a better option for the replacement to be held at the school sites so that parents and students understood the full experience - including the location and travel time. Magnet Mania, just like Fall Frenzy, is not mandatory. For most parents in the district, the programs are well known enough that the decision is made where they want to apply to. I did a survey of all applicants for the 17-18 school year, and roughly 15% stated they decided to apply or heard about the program by attending Fall Frenzy. ?

2. Is there any concern that parents will not have the time to make multiple visits to multiple schools? We do recognize that some parents or students might be interested in more than one academy. We collaborated with academy directors and principals as a group to determine the schedule, in order to reduce the risk of competing programs or grade levels hosted on the same night. The programs offer different unique learning environments. Most of the time, if a student is interested in arts for high school, he or she may not necessarily be interested in business. Magnet Mania is a kick-off showcase event for our application season. Each academy or school site also hosts its own open house. If parents are unable to attend a Magnet Mania event, they can still attend those other events. Also, parents and students can schedule a personal tour of a program at any time, and meet with the academy directors and administrators. 

3. Since several of these are scheduled at the same time on the same date, how are parents/students supposed to visit both if they wish? The schedule is tailored for parents to have a conversation with their students in order to really get an idea of what areas of study the student is most interested in. Of course for elementary level parents, they would not really have that kind of conversation with a kindergartner; therefore, we did make an effort to ensure no elementary programs were on the same night. Middle school programs are also not on the same night. By the time students reach high school, there should be some known preference as to which academy program(s) students are most interested in. 

As a follow-up, we asked: Is LPSS is suggesting that children should have only one interest?  As I stated, if you look at the schedule, no elementary (with the exception of Arts & Technology and Spanish Immersion) or middle school academies are hosted on the same night. There are a couple of high school academies on the same night. For example Early College Academy and Academy of Information Technology. A student interested in Early College Academy, with the requirements that it has a dual-enrollment academy (located on SLCC campus), and the experience students have while enrolled is not necessarily going to be interested in Academy of Information Technology. The only other night there are conflicts in schedule for high school is Tuesday, November 7. A student interested in Air Force or Business (Business, Tourism, and Hospitality) would not necessarily be interested in full-time immersion in Performing or Visual Arts. Even if a student has two interests, they would have one they favor more over the other. My hope is that they would attend the event for their secondary interest to help make their final decision. 

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