December Parent Power

Parent Power

east Baton Rouge parish school system
volume 14, issue 5  |  DECember 2021
Dear parents and guardians, I am so excited to welcome you to our Parent Power Newsletter. We’re thrilled that you’re interested in learning more from our dedicated team at EBR Schools and can’t wait to start sharing with you.
Inside this Issue
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The state of Louisiana is proud of its college savings plan, which is a “Qualified Tuition Plan” under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Student Tuition Assistance and Revenue Trust Program, commonly referred to as the “START Saving Program,” is an innovative college savings plan designed to help families contend with the growing costs of educating their children after high school. The program is administered by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance under the direction of the Louisiana Tuition Trust Authority, or LATTA. The LATTA is a public body composed of representatives from all of the state’s education governing boards, and includes the state treasurer and one member from each House of the Louisiana Legislature. A savings account for college, called an Education Savings Account (ESA), may be opened on behalf of a named beneficiary by anyone, including legal entities, provided that the account owner or the beneficiary is a resident of Louisiana. Account owners may save at their own pace, in amounts they can afford, and still have their money professionally managed. In addition, as an incentive to save, the state will annually match a percentage of the deposits made to an account during the calendar year, depending upon the category into which the account has been classified and the federal adjusted gross income reported by the account owner for the previous year. This match is called an earnings enhancement.There are many advantages to investing your money in the START Saving Program. Some of them include:   Ten investment funds are offered to meet the unique circumstances of each account owner. These options range from very conservative to very aggressive. An account owner may select one or more investment funds, including the Louisiana Principal Protection Fund (conservative investments in fixed earnings), various equity mutual funds and age-based track funds. A deposit in the Louisiana Principal Protection Fund is guaranteed by the state of Louisiana. The state will match up to 14% of deposits each year with earnings enhancements. Deposits made to an account may be excluded from taxable income reported on the account owner’s Louisiana tax return, up to $2,400.00 per year per beneficiary for single account owners and up to $4,800 per year per beneficiary for account owners filing a joint return. Any unused exclusion may be carried forward to subsequent tax years. The current value of an account may be used to pay the qualified higher education expenses of the beneficiary at any accredited college or university (in or out of state), and state-approved proprietary schools in Louisiana. No fees are charged to participants in the START Saving Program. The START Saving Program is charged management fees on monies that it invests in mutual funds offered by The Vanguard Group. As a Qualified Tuition Program, the START Saving Program is exempt from federal taxes, which means the program does not pay taxes that could reduce your return on investments. Deposits can be made through automatic bank debit, payroll deduction or direct payment (including lump sums). There is no limitation on the frequency of deposits and the minimum deposit amount is only $10.Earnings on deposits are exempt from state and federal taxes when used to pay qualified higher education expenses, which include tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies and equipment required for enrollment by the college. 
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Dual enrollment is the simultaneous enrollment of a student at both high school and college in which the student receives credit on both their high school and college transcripts for the same course. Students may enroll in college courses at local technical, community and/or four-year colleges. Students enrolled in a college course follow the college curriculum. The course is taught by either the college instructor or a high school instructor who is approved to teach the college course. With dual enrollment, students may begin accumulating college credits while still in high school, thus providing a smoother transition to college after high school graduation. Students also have the opportunity to complete college faster by earning college credits while still in high school. Students must meet the admission standards of the college awarding the credit. Admissions standards vary between technical colleges, community colleges and four-year universities. Contact the individual institution and/or a professional school counselor to discuss admission standards and other details regarding dual enrollment. 
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Louisiana Children's Health Insurance Program
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It’s a fact that kids with health insurance live healthier lives.  Give your children health coverage at NO COST or LOW COST to you.  The Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP) provides health coverage to uninsured children up to age 19. It is a             no-cost health program that pays for hospital care, doctor visits, prescription drugs, shots and more.NO enrollment fees!NO co-payments!NO deductibles!Do you qualify?  LaCHIP uses the income amounts below to see if a child qualifies for low-cost or no-cost LaCHIP coverage.
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The LaCHIP program covers:Medical services for children, including health, dental and vision coverage.Doctor’s appointments, including well child visits and hospital stay.Prescriptions and immunizations.Mental health services.And many other services.
Visit the website to apply call the toll-free hotline for more information:1-888-342-6207
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KidsHealth by Nemours Helps Your Child Get OrganizedEnglish: Organizing Schoolwork & Assignments 
Very Well FamilyHow to Help Your High School Student Get Organized 
Autism Support Network Teaching Organizational Skills
National Education AssociationUsing Smartphone Cameras to Improve Student Organizational Skills
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When we ask students in our Manners of the Heart elementary schools to share their favorite part of the curriculum, hands down, it’s The Merryville Stories. These imaginative stories take place in an idyllic little town called Merryville, located between the mountains and the sea. Wise Ol’ Wilbur the owl resides in the world’s largest tree filled with heart-shaped fruit that tastes sweeter than apples, called happles! Wise Ol’ Wilbur guides children in learning kindness, respect and generosity. His aim is to fill their hearts to overflowing with all the “good” stuff, so the “bad” stuff has no room to get in.While Wilbur helps teachers work with their students in the classroom, he also helps parents work in the hearts of their children at home. Do you want to teach your children kindness, respect and generosity? It all begins with family togetherness that makes your family uniquely yours by connecting heart to heart: How about a “secret” handshake or gesture that says, “I love you.” When I was growing up, we made the hand sign for the No. 2 to say “I love you, too” when one of us drove away. One of my grandgirls and I have a secret “I love you.” We point to our eyes, crisscross our hands on our chests and then point to the other.During family meals, take turns sharing a high and a low moment from the day.Start a family story that never ends. One person starts a story and the next person adds to it. Keep it going night after night!Volunteer together. The best part of volunteering as a family is that priorities become reoriented — what’s most important becomes most important. A family that serves together stands together. Your home isn’t just a place where folks of different ages live together; it’s a place where families do life together. You can build an institution that cannot be destroyed, protects those living there and fortifies them to go out and change the world! “The best of all the gifts around any Christmas tree:the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”~Burton Hills 
EBRPSS Holiday Events
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Baton Rouge Zoo Welcomes the Holidays with ZooLights
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BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo invites the community to celebrate the holidays with ZooLights, a festive evening milelong trail through the zoo featuring more than 50 illuminated display sculptures of animals and traditional holiday spectacles. The holiday tradition runs Nov. 26 through Dec. 30 and closed only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Admission gates open 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; grounds close at 9 p.m.
 For the fourth year, the zoo will again be partnering with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to bring more impact and excitement to ZooLights. Every guest presenting a nonperishable food item during the hours of Zoolights, will receive a 50% discount from the regular admission price. Regular admission prices are: $5 for adults/teens; $4 for senior citizens; $3 for children (2-12 years old) and $3 for Friends of the Zoo members. These amounts will be cut in half when a nonperishable food item is presented at the time of entry and all food donations will go directly to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Last year, 7,320 pounds of food were collected during this drive. The goal is to reach 8,000 pounds this year!  “ZooLights is a remarkable holiday tradition bringing joy to the Baton Rouge community. Joining with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to provide food donations and replenish their provisions during the season of giving, makes perfect sense,” said Phil Frost, zoo director. “The zoo is about families and we encourage our guests to give back and get back this holiday season through this ideal partnership.”  “We are very thankful for this partnership with ZooLights, and we continue to see tremendous growth each year in food donations that directly assist local families struggling to put food on the table,” said Mike Manning, president and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. “It has been a difficult year for our entire community and being able to provide meals for families over the holidays will go a long way in lifting the spirits of those who need it most.”       During each evening, the Safari Post Gift Shop and Flamingo Café will remain open and feature special holiday treats and gift options. Additional ZooLights Information:
About BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo
BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo is a place where people connect with animals, including tigers, giraffes, rhinos and alligators. The world-class Realm of the Tiger, Flamingo Cove, Giants of the Islands, Safari Playground, L’aquarium de Louisiane and KidsZoo exhibits offer fun and education for all ages.
 About Greater Baton Rouge Food BankThe Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is a nonprofit organization that addresses the issue of food insecurity and hunger. We solicit, inventory and distribute donated products to our member agencies that directly serve people facing hard times. Our mission is to feed the hungry in Baton Rouge and the surrounding parishes by providing food and educational outreach through faith-based and other community partners. With community support, we have served the food insecure in our 11-parish service area for more than 35 years. 
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This Month's EBR Energy Wise Tip
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 THINK BEFORE YOU PLUG IT INEfficient and Safe Use of Power StripsPower strips can be a great tool for energy efficiency, but they should always be used safely!  ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are done using electronic equipment such as computers, printers, monitors and chargers.
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Even when turned off, electronic equipment often uses a small amount of electricity.  U.S. households spend approximately $100 per year to power devices while they are in low power mode, roughly 8 percent of household electricity costs. Using a power strip for your computer and all peripheral equipment allows you to completely disconnect the power supply from the power source, eliminating standby power consumption. SAFETY: Overloaded extension cords and power strips can present a serious fire hazard. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are about 2,000 residential fires each year associated with electric cords or plugs, killing 60 people.Safety tips for power strips include:Never overload wall outlets or power strips.Do not plug appliances such as refrigerators, microwave ovens, coffee pots or electric heaters into power strips. Plug them directly into a wall outlet.Look for a certification label from an independent testing lab such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories) on the package and on the product.
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 (*) ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.  Learn more about ENERGY STAR. This energy conservation tip is provided by the East Baton Rouge Parish School System’s Aramark energy management team.  For more information, please contact us at (225) 226-3723, or
December calendar
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The East Baton Rouge Parish School System and all of its entities (including Career and Technical Education Programs) do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, national origin, disability or gender in its educational programs and activities (including employment and application for employment); and it is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of gender by Title IX (20 USC 168) and on the basis of disability by Section 504 (42 USC 794). The Title IX coordinator is Andrew Davis, director of Risk Management ( phone (225) 929-8705. The Section 504 coordinator is Elizabeth Taylor Chapman, director of Exceptional Student Services ( phone (225) 929-8600. The Title II coordinator is Dr. Sandra Bethley, administrative director of Federal Programs ( phone (225) 922-5538. All students have an opportunity to participate in Career and Technical Programs of Study, including, but not limited to, areas of health care; construction crafts and trades; automotive technology; IT computer technology; culinary programs; criminal justice; and agriculture. Admission requirements for each course can be found in the student course guide/schedule packet of the individual campus where the course is being offered. Please contact the guidance counselor at the specific school site for additional information, program requirements and/or any questions you may have. 
Parent Power is a publication of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System
Dr. Sito Narcisse, Superintendent of Alexandra Deiro Stubbs, Chief of Communications & Public Marlon Cousin, Community