Interview with IHS Principal Reginald Douglas

In March, the Istrouma Advisory Committee, which was appointed by East Baton Rouge Parish schools Supt. Warren Drake to assist him, interviewed six applicants to be the principal of Istrouma High School beginning with the 2017-2018 school year.
On recommendation of the committee, Reginald Douglas was chosen by Supt. Drake to fill that position. Here are some of his statements during the interview process:
Q. What do you know about Istrouma High School?
A.    I know that this is the 100th anniversary of Istrouma High School and that it has a long, rich history. It has had a great athletic program and many outstanding athletes. It has also produced many political leaders. I know the community around Istrouma High has a lot of pride in the school.  When they closed Istrouma High, they took something very important from the people of North Baton Rouge and from Istrouma grads of all generations. People have had to fight very hard to get it back, which is why it’s back. Now it will become something great, and no one will ever take it away again!
Q. What will be your main priorities as principal of Istrouma High School?
A. I have three main goals:
First, make sure we have qualified staff at the start of the school year.
Second, have the academic infrastructure necessary to have all the courses we want to offer.
Third, work with the community to have an environment to have a successful school year.
Q. What is your technology plan for Istrouma High School?
A. We must start with the end in mind. After three years, I would like to see us have the following at Istrouma High School:
•    One-to-one computers so that every child has a computer. This will open doors for students because today work has to be done on computers
•    A smart board in every classroom so we can have virtual classes to allow teachers from other areas to lecture.
•    A computer lab with enough computers so that all students can take their tests online in a condensed time period. This will allow us to administer tests late in the testing window, thereby allowing more preparation time.
Q. What is your plan for the athletic program at Istrouma High School?
A. When I became principal at my current school, there was no real athletic program. Our football team won one game a year. There were only 20 kids in the band. There were no cheerleaders, no dancers, and no community support.
Three years later, our football team was in the state semi-finals. Our band has 60 members and has won national competitions two of the past three years. We have great cheerleaders, dancers, twirlers, and community support. There are a lot of things for kids to be involved in.
Our athletic teams and spirit teams (band, cheerleaders, dancers, and twirlers) raise spirits in the community and give kids a reason for school pride.
We have to hire good coaches for our varsity and junior varsity teams.  We need coaches who will get involved with middle school athletes and little league teams to promote Istrouma. We have to build strong community support.
But remember this: You can’t get oranges from an apple tree.  You can’t have a quality athletic program in a school where academics are neglected. We will have a well-run school where we create an atmosphere of excellence in both academics and athletics.
Q. What is a community school?
A. A community school is involved with every aspect of the community. For example, you have to be concerned about the health of the community, which affects the ability of the kids to learn.
At my current school, we have a Health Fair and bring in doctors and hospitals. We screen for eye, ear, and other health problems.
We will work with the Agriculture program from Southern University to help kids understand healthy eating and healthy living, including eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
When we have expanded learning opportunities such as outstanding motivational speakers, we will invite other schools and the community to participate.
The Alumni Center will have an open door for a constant series of activities for alumni and the community.
Q. What are the most pressing issues facing public schools?
A. Finding quality teachers and funding. We have to compete with charters. I worked in a charter, and I know that when the money runs out, they leave the community. But Istrouma is here to stay!

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