The Independent

IberiaBank, Pugh Family Foundation Present First-Ever State of the LPSS March 6 program showcases exemplary students and features a multi-media presentation by Superintendent Dr. Don Aguillard.

by Cherry Fisher May

Pugh Family Foundation founder Nick Pugh and IberiaBank Executive Vice President Jerry Vascocu
Photo by Robin May

The Lafayette Parish School System has shown some impressive gains in state rankings. In numbers released last fall by the state department of education, the district jumped from 27th to 19th among 70 Louisiana public school districts and scores improved in 85 percent of LPSS schools over the previous year.

But with a score of 96.3, Lafayette remains a “B” district, and Superintendent Dr. Don Aguillard says his team is developing plans for continued progress toward an “A” grade. He will offer the community a complete progress report and review of future strategies for sustained improvement at the first-ever State of the LPSS on March 6 at The Cajundome Convention Center.

The program, part of The Independent Lecture Series, will be presented twice on the same day to reach the broadest audience possible. The first is designed as a ticketed luncheon/lecture in the format used by civic groups in the community. It will be presented again in its entirety that evening at no charge so that LPSS employees, students and working families can attend. It will also be broadcast on Acadiana Open Channel and YouTube.

To showcase exemplary programs, students and their work, a pre-event lobby reception will feature a gallery of awardwinning student artwork, music and dance ensemble performances, live demos of several robotics programs and science and technology displays. The formal presentation will include a student-led invocation and a full presentation of the colors by high school ROTC teams. The Pledge of Allegiance will be recited in four languages representing the LPSS language academies, and The National Anthem will be performed by the LHS Chorus at the luncheon and the Burke Elementary Chorus in the evening. The LHS Strings Ensemble will provide music while the luncheon is served.

Dr. Aguillard’s multi-media presentation will highlight past performance with a strong emphasis on strategies to sustain LPSS progress toward “A” standing. He has invited Richard Zuschlag, chairman and CEO of The Acadian Companies, to offer remarks in support of the efforts to upgrade local schools.

This ambitious presentation is made possible by a large group of sponsors headed by presenters IberiaBank and the Pugh Family Foundation. “We believe that the public school system is the leading economic driver in any community and are proud of the rapid improvement that our Lafayette Parish students have achieved,“ says IberiaBank Executive Vice President Jerry Vascocu. “We did not want to miss the opportunity to celebrate these recent successes and want to encourage all of those who are involved to continually strive for greatness. We offer our thanks to the teachers and all faculty, the school administration and the LPSS school board for all of their tireless efforts to deliver positive results.”

“Our public schools need everyone’s engagement and support now more than ever, and we are thrilled that our community is coming together to focus attention on the challenges and successes that are shaping our future today,” says Nick Pugh, founder of the Pugh Family Foundation. “The Pugh Family Foundation is honored to play a part in advancing this essential dialogue.”

The Lafayette Schools Credit Union and the MBSB Group join the marquee as supporting sponsors. Founded in 1954, the Lafayette Schools Credit Union has two locations in Lafayette and offers a full range of consumer financial services and specializes in financial literacy education for its members. It was named one of the best credit unions to work for in 2016 by The Credit Union Journal.

Based in Lafayette, the MBSB Group is an award-winning firm producing a wide range of architectural and design projects for clients in both the private and public spheres across Louisiana, ranging from single buildings to the master planning of a medical campus.

One Acadiana and Architects Beazley Moliere are sustaining sponsors. Located in Lafayette’s Oil Center, ABM is one of Louisiana’s oldest and most respected architectural firms. One Acadiana is the region’s privately funded economic development organization working to make Acadiana one of the most sought-after places in the South for emerging business and professional talent. Rounding out the sponsor roster: Atmos Energy, Architects Southwest, Associated Design Group and Kolder, Champagne, Slaven & Co.

The lobby performances and demos open an hour prior to each presentation. The luncheon starts at noon, and tickets are $50 per person or $495 for a reserved table of eight. The evening presentation, which is free with concessions for sale, starts at 7 p.m. Order tickets or RSVP for the evening performance at www.theind. com/tickets or call 337-769-8602.