Jefferson Parish schools' future looks bright

Newell Normand
Friday, July 20th

Newell talks to Jefferson Parish School Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley about his strategic plans and goals for the future of Louisiana's largest public school district


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

We're back and we were thankful the doctor Mike strain commission Louisiana department of agriculture and forestry joined us and talked about talk about tariffs a lot of information a lot of breaking news on editing continues. And our next subject matter is probably one of the most important subject matters in our country and that's education education is not just about information it's about formation. As well. And it has eight in intrinsic. Part and fabric and our community that is second to none we can talk about tariffs we can talk about trade we can talk about. Products we could talk about sales tax the most important subject that will ever talk about is educating our kids. Because they're not necessarily the leaders of the tomorrow they can very much be the leaders of today when you think about prayer prep peer pressure. And the effect and impact that they can have on their fellow students. If we're developing a good sound intellectual way of looking things early on. They can make bigger impact in our community. Than ever before. The Jefferson Parish school system had the opportunity to go out and hire a new superintendent. And he joins us in the studio doctor Cade broadly in just a little bit about doctor bra only comes from DeSoto parish not nearly as big a system. 5000 kids to a 50000 kid system here in Jefferson Parish. But let me tell you about him a BA in education from Northwestern State a master's in education from Alicia you. A Ph.D. in education and leadership from Stephen F Austin. A participant at Harvard University superintendents academy and twenty tending guys out panel are you forty yet take I am but it. Not quite forty years of age a very impressive resume and he's accomplished a lot. He brought the DeSoto parish school system ranked from 49. To number nine. And he's outlined a 100 day plan it's very good to have in his studio Kate thank you so much for joining us up on traffic so much operation doctor visit today. So you got to see the school system as it was kind of going out and now you're gonna experience for the first time. The coming in students in in the school system what are your observations what are your hopes what are your desires. Yes I was very deliberate and my approach coming into the system you know as an as an outsider some might say. I can look at data points all day long. But I was very deliberately trying to have conversations individuals to understand what those data points meant and saw spent time talking with students parents teachers. Community members business leaders. Trying to understand. The stress of our system and harmony. But also the opportunities where we can improve. And from those conversations we developed a plan of of what we intend to do over the next year. To have the best strategy that we can have to get the best academic outcomes for our kids. And so I think we have like sixteen days until our teachers are back I spoke to a group of teachers yesterday spoke to a group of principles not told them I wanted them to see. That we had to work super hard. Over the summer. To respond to the needs that they share with us over the last couple of months of school so that we can be better prepared as we are August. To have a successful school year for our kids. Is that one of the ways that you view your role is to make sure that teachers have the resources necessary in order to accomplish what we need to pal. Absolutely so. I've said for for some time the rubber meets the road in the classroom. And so our job as a school system estimation the ground this fertile. Those magical moments between the teacher a kid so learning can materialized in the kit. And so everything that we do at a district is about making sure the teachers personal we have the highest quality teacher in front of our kid. That we've built capacity and those teachers to do their work. And that they have the supplies and resources they need to be successful. There's any number there's no let me put it this where there's no shortage of ideas of what the appropriate path is to education today right. It. Yeah I mean unfortunately. It's cultural but in many cases schools have. Have had to take on the role of mother and father and nurses social worker and and everything in between. Com and so it's hard to really narrow the focus is to simply. Academics because. Weren't challenged society when a challenge culture you know eighty I think 82% of the kids that come to us every day in terms centers schools of our 50000 kids. Are economically disadvantaged and they have needs that we need to make sure that we're taking here basically life needs before they can never think about what's two plus two. And of that and that way if we're aware of that we can do things that we need to do in order to be successful for the kids. And that's not an excuse that's a real well that's a reality as you know I think that our diversity. And it's one of the things that drew me to this work. Jefferson Parish is the largest public school system in Louisiana. Some people may not realize but it's a non eighth largest system and Americans who were top 100 system in America. And we are under growing. Tremendous demographic shifts. And so it's it's a great opportunity to be approved point for this nation of what's hospital larger urban system. People may not realize that debt ten years ago in Jefferson 3000 of our kids. Did not speaking English as the primary language won't grow into next school year with around a 2000 Markey heads who speak a different language of the English as their as a primary language. Each day in Jefferson Parish schools are kids speak over forty different languages. And so while while that diversity can make a stronger if it does present a clear challenge on for educators and ordered to do best buy every individual kids. You know we get. I am a very strong advocate for teachers can probably name five or six. In in my education life that were defining moments for me. About their approach. About their message. In about their belief in me in just pointing out things. In me and it's often times that we lose sight I think of the importance of them is the role model. In the classroom right. So you know I was obviously a teacher first but how often tell a story out as a school principal. I'm I try to spend as much Thomas Voss former classrooms and so. As I would take up hallway and walk through the hallway and visit the classrooms in this that the teachers and if I could get stand of that hallway and just see every single teacher. Having students who were engaged in their classrooms in a meaningful way. I would get the been of that hallway and I would just say wow. We're doing something right we're doing something magical for kids. And so we have to make sure. That we understand the value of relationships and our kids and so you know I I had trouble kids in my classroom is a teacher. But. How was felt like if I can build a relationship with the kid those kids are run through walls forming. And I and I was they were also less than mop. Discipline problems in the classroom so I think that. We we have to be aware that we need to build relationships with kids at the principles and leaders need to be aware that they have to build relationships with what moms and pops Nance an apples and families and communities. Because one thing I've learned in the system so far is that the system is too large for any of us to do this alone. I'm we're gonna have to be the strongest we can be there are forty hours a week we have kids. But we have a 128 hours a week where kids going to the community. And so as much as we can we need to partner with ever want to get some help during those 128 hours to it to make every child's experience. As positive as a candy. A watched the videos that you did. A butcher 100 day plan. And they were two things and other really moved me one I was a former CFO before Rosa sheriff so. The external review you budget I think is absolutely necessary to make sure that. Financially the houses in order whether or not there's an identification of any pitfalls any challenges or otherwise. But would really moved me is that you talked about did the development of a graduate. Profile. What did you you know what did you want your student to look like when they're leaving the system. I guess to go to college. And and describe that force and what you thought it initially you. You sell off there and and so what I want to accomplish his. Is opt out walk to. Partner when. Stakeholders and determined. Like in Jefferson Parish when a kid graduates from our school. What do we expect them to know and what do we expect them to be able to do. And so you know I'll talk to employers all day long that will say apple up to hire more of your students but they come to the job and interview in their their shirts untapped but it can't stay off their cell phone or they can't make eye contact. And so open not only academic skills. Do we need to provide the we need to make sure that we're providing our students with assaults feels that they need. In a can you communicate can you collaborate can you listened. Can you understand that everybody has a boss. And and and have have a more well rounded student that can be successful. You know a portion of our kids will go to college and we want them to be successful but I think educators probably over the last couple of decades. An and I am one. We have diminish the value of career and technical education. And so I know of many instances where on people have a college degree they have a certain amount of student debt. And they can't get a job and so then I go to trade schooler vocational through our community college and pick up a certificate in some way and then can get a how wage job and take care of the family. And so we have to realize that. Every child is not going to college. Every child should not her college. If you choose to not go to college you're not lesser man anyone else. And so we just have to make sure that we have a real clear expectation of whenever whenever student graduates from us. What we expect them to know and be able to do and then we can and then we can look back and see from earth forward had a we get there. I am I I like that approach. Because then the expectations are Connick clear what it is that we're trying to accomplish. And I hear the same things in fact a number of my peers to and I taught at the university level it. As well but have talked to coaches. That the university level that talked a lot about. The soft skills. The inability of the kids to communicate. The inability to develop interpersonal relationships. The inability of going out into the public can be enabled to speak in an articulate. A thought process. That they just. Didn't give it. De facto by virtue of being in the classroom environment of just duel and the reading writing arithmetic right. Right you know it's funny to like. And so. You can see two kids hanging out on a bench on a sofa whatever and they have their cellphones out. And yes or who re talking with yourself on and it be talking to the person writes I you know I found that I'm in many ways. Our kids. Nom I'm not trying to over stereotype for stereotype but and in many ways Turkey is don't know how to communicate with each other or or adults. Because of the self. Because everything just text and so as much as possible I think we need to engage each other and have like actual real conversations that are face to face. I think we need provide opportunities for our kids step on. Be involved and Asher curricula or co curricular. Product management to speak publicly. And be involved in teams. And so it is just it's it's just it's tough. Because society is pushing against us every single day and we have kids for forty hours week. And so you know we have to have the best strategy that we can have during that time to get the most main firm but Burnett top. Aren't we got to take a break if you have a question and far. Doctor Kay broadly give us a call 260187. PR Texas had 87870. This is kind of a defining moment for the Jefferson Parish school system not to put a lot of pressure on you doctor Brawley but the fact of the matter is we have an opportunity. We have an opportunity now. At this defining moment to improve this system and to move forward so if you have a question give us a call will be right back after the break this is you'll would W de Villa. On attacks on a child is someone to be love. Not a problem to be solved good teachers know this it's okay to love someone else's child. My kids chose no college. Doing fine. And has a lot of truth and out and and I always felt the love of the good teachers that I had you know both in grammar school and high school and and at the university level as well Aminu who's great experience and when I went to the FBI national academy in 1983. The same experience there in it was a old life altering and defining moment for me and then even that late in. In further education after that let's talk about a couple of the other things of your hundred day plan. You talk about a transformation. Zone meant to be created tells about that. Yeah I'm the first out I appreciate the the text in. It reminds me of all slain in your kid doesn't care how much you know until I know how much you care. I'm and so you've got a new download onto as a matter of fact our. Are on planet we have going forward for the for the year. Have in front of me and starts with we love you know we love we learn we lead. Part of that. And aunts or sponsor question I made a commitment very early on. To create a transformation network. And so this would be. We would select him we selected ten schools. Had bin. Challenge schools for some time in terms of academic out outputs outcomes for kids. And from an equity standpoint we said we wanna make sure that we are getting these schools. The additional resources that they might need in order to be successful with kids. And so we selected on ten stool soft spot for grants to Louisiana. The Department of Education were awarded. One point eight about one point eight million dollars. And so that's going to fund additional supports and that network. They are proud already for us we want to put the results in those schools as quickly as it possibly can't. And so we know that we can do that to solid leadership. Two additional professional development. And also you know we're offering additional stipends for performance for teachers who work in these challenge schools so. If you satellite to work and in transmission network school. In addition to erect her salary. You have an opportunity you turn a couple -- thousand dollars a year from working in that environment and being successful yes. And then I'll be you know also for recruitment gives you a little leg up. It is is teachers are not easy to come by these days. No and you're your system is only as as successful as the talent you have within that system and so we have to make sure that a that we are recruiting the best sound that we can spot and there aren't as many teachers coming out of colleges anymore I mean that that's a fact they have to look at other avenues. Beyond just the traditional approach some. I'm so wonder whether they've made that course of curriculums so difficult. That that a lot of folks are actually steered away from. Yeah I think that happens I think that people will go and other other fields where they might not have to do a residency or something like that and then come back into an alternate certification teach. Or some other program but we're got to recruit the best we've got to retain the best. I'm and then we have to build capacity with everyone so so we have to have ongoing professional development that supports the actual real life work that teachers are doing enough in the classrooms each day. So we got to Texas said if you could repeat the statistical and disadvantaged kids and in Jefferson Parish. Yeah so 82% of our our population are considered economically. Disadvantaged. That that number used to be called free and reduced watch you maybe more familiar with that number we just send a college. Economically disadvantaged so. And that numbers 82% we have about. These are typically kids come and out of families that live in below the poverty is exactly correct yeah right and so when we think about it and I used to say this all the time a budget of some perished. There are a lot of positives. There but there are a lot of challenges to and as as you talked about economically the parish is changing. The Scioscia economics of voters are changing fast. And it's not the Disney land that everybody thought it once was a one time. Yeah but along with that. There's so much opportunity. You know it's so much opportunity and and and Massey areas every single day. And especially as I went through ended the deliver 100 day plan where where if we just give it a little lovable attention. Think that we can make some positive change. We got to get to a break give us a call 260187. Your taxes setting seventy except. We're back you were talking to doctor Kay Brohm Lee. The newly hard Jefferson Parish schools superintendent I think you're hired what in March march us there in in march of this year and go on into the go first school year on attacks. Some of your MSU a long word wanting to wish you congratulations. And asking if you had certain professors. Out there and also. You are the northwestern. Outstanding young alumnus of the year award recipient. And you had to the obviously Yong in order to hit that award Brit. By the time he got that award yet accomplish quite a bit you think I did this homework and honestly that's very until. Yes I'm I'm surprised diplomat now and not shout out to all the demons out there you're from demons that most people most people don't know how to spell Mac finish right. I you I used to go there for a swim meet every year at the university. And a pool had the the coldest water in America I was convinced of it and the thickest water in America because it too it was well water. And and he's trying to glide through that water was like difficult at best and we overseas and kid that if you swam at northwestern. You had to be one heck of a swimmer because sent us an easy Warren get. Through Philip is it gave me my start and met my wife and northwestern and we have two healthy thank god boys and so and certainly flats in the northwestern and a demon for life. All right so let me ask this question you know obviously. If it was just about education sometimes we think it it would be easier but it politics happens to entering in to this realm. In in from my perspective too much. My view is that the school board has one employee you. In have to worry about the the financial strategy and in compliance and in things of that nature and we've just seen so many things play out in the media that have been any thing. But that what opportunities do you see present there and in how are you gonna go about trying to manage and meander through her. Yeah. I said from day one and I'm not a politician Ayman educator I'm an educator I'm an educational leader. And then people often say we you sure picked the future picked the wrong business and and you sure picked the wrong place. But but I'll laugh at that because. Look from. I've told a story thousand Tom from from the first grade I knew that this was the work that I wanted it Potomac classroom teacher that the first grade. And down samba I'm living my dream I'm I'm I'm happy to be able to do the work that I'm doing. Obviously I'm a board that you can have professional conversations went. That you can toss ideas around and win at I'm. That are supportive of of employees and and that and kids you know that's that's all super nice and good. But but. Their final event and their world. An and do what they have to do. And I'm going to approach my work each day trying to do what's best for 50000 kids. Through our 7000 employees and our community. And those those chips were just fall where they fall. And is I mean is set that the feeling that you get right now with the with the with the border mean moving followers. Yeah I think I mean obviously this is a board that hired me soft feel that I have. Have support all on this board. I I know for a fact and that I'm I've worked hard since I apartment and I am and I'm trying to put forward ideas. That I think are best practice and education I'm trying to value people through that. On that doesn't mean that there are not differences of opinion there always will be. But I hope that I'm doing what I need to do. To help. This system be successful. If you. Were asked the question what is the one dynamic one thing that your gonna bring to the education system that we don't have right now. What would have been. Yeah. I think that you know in education circles whenever people you know in that and that circle on that space through in the state may be even in the nation. Hear hear my name or whatever they think about strategy. He not that's an have a strategy for everything. You know. I look at what we need to accomplish I look at the trend that over the past few years not think about what actions we need to put in place to make that thing better. Also note that talent matters. And so I have always and my work. Trying to elevate. The profession of teaching. I try to provide teachers with with strong leaders try to provide teachers with them a place where their voices can be heard and they can get better their craft. And that they had compensation that make sense but even those not talk about strategy and talent I know that culture drops strategy. And every day we have to make sure that we're putting forward culture that. Learning matters. Student safety is our top responsibility answers learns a top priority. I'm and that we need to be a place that he is on its. We love what we do we love who we do where we left we do it for. We're learning every day the adults and ability aren't as much as the kids. And world leader. We need to be a place where talked earlier about being a larger urban proof point we need to be a place where people say. Go see that Jefferson they're doing that Spain whatever that is he need to go check it out. And so I don't say that so that we can get an accolade I say that because if we're doing a good thing kids are benefiting. Yeah absolutely I mean. You 100% players within the system you know that you're talented folks credible leaders as you said. Have a strategy and they surround themselves with people smarter than her yeah and and for me the bars not that I. Well you know you just say in that statement in it really. Epitomizes the fact that you know you know at the center of the universe ha. I'm certainly not I mean anything and it has an I mean those are the qualities of a good credible Liederman is that you recognize and realize that this thing is bigger than you need help you need that you need the talent around you need to pull. And you need a strategy you just can't go. Willie nearly a copycat outing what other folks do for the sake of the copycat it's got to be meaningfully got to be able weave it into your organization operationally. So that it makes sense right. Yeah and now the thing is I'm I'm just trying to add value to the system. That's all Charlie day I'm not trying to say let's tear everything down and start over there everything's greater everything's bad I'm just trying to say. These are some good things that you some bad things what cannot do as a professional on my calling in my word to add value to the. System already got to get to another break give us a call 260187. Do you have a question for doctor Cade wrongly now's your. Your opportunity your chance will be right back after the break this is new rule on debit Dario. We're back door talking to doctor Kay brown Lee. The newly appointed Jefferson Parish schools superintendent for those of you that didn't hear earlier Jefferson Parish has the largest public school system in the state roughly 50000 kids 84 different school campuses. Quite a lot of infrastructure. Doctor probably one of the things that we hear about all the time is school discipline and in. It doesn't take many. Disruptive students in a classroom and ordered just completely compromise the old learning environment that's what we hear from teachers that's what we hear from parents. The challenge. Knowing that a school campuses nothing more than a reflection of the community at large. What are you thoughts about school discipline and where do you see the challenges and the rugby nations. Yes so calm. 100%. Firmly believe that a class term should be a place where a teacher has ability to teach without distraction. And that doesn't mean that on a middle school kids not going to be a knuckle heads sometimes and you know you have to deal with that. But there's there's no space for. Constant disruption there's no space for. People putting their hands on a teacher anything anything like that but. The discipline has been something that I've heard over and over again and and and what do you do with that. And sought try to get to the to the root of it as much as possible and really it's it's similar in Jefferson everywhere else mode most of the problems especially in your mettle on high schools. Our our problems that come over to us from the community from a neighborhood issues. Or they are an issue now the social media issues where it's some type of cyber bullying that spills over into it's cool environment. And so what do what always to our communities and such were talked into community on the show it if you're ever aware of a situation. That. That kid create conflict or friction error any type of argument or five in our buildings. Called the principle but those people know in advance before those kids even get to school that day and that when we can be prepared in her brain. You know we've had. Cops on campus for a long time actually. Sharply was a sheriff and he asked me to work with and schools superintendent Milt when gas in implementing it. And it would the advice you just offered. It is really key. Because when you have that little bit of Intel. About what's going on outside of the fence. The school community that that is going to be brought there. From the external community. Makes all the difference in the world if there's a communication system within the school is helping with the principal could share that with the teachers. And they know when they can help look for indicators of problem. And a Pastrana. You know to just take into the extreme you know win in America week we've had to deal with. School shootings but the last few years and that I've always told people look I can I can almost assure you working with local law enforcement that we can. We can say with a 99 point 9% accuracy we can keep your kids safe 100% but but. What does that mean in terms of leading the kid in and out of school it would take just two hours to check coming in two hours to to check him out. And so. What I've always encouraged is speaking out if if anyone knows anything that seems. I'd it's out of place. Or someone's not acting the same or they get some type of tip. Speak up tell someone let someone know if you look at some of the violent actions that take place across America over the last decade in schools. Most every time that something bad happened someone else knew something that could have helped prevent it and I didn't speak up it's always sockets because. Tell somebody let's and I noticed when all. Yeah the last thing that you want is that it reveals itself and an after action report right yes or where where you come across six individuals that actually knew something that didn't share because it didn't know whether or not it was the appropriate thing to do. Or anything else and and it's too late and unfortunately for a lot of these kids that don't understand the gravity of it. And they don't understand that one of the worst things to live worth and life is regret now. You know and in the end it all starts I think. As we said before that education is not just about information it's about formation. Yeah not in today in and you you certainly get this with your background but there there is. I sincerely tell this audience there's not a day that I wake that I don't think oh my god I'm responsible for 50000 kids I mean life. I have kids and and and parents aren't. Parents aren't saying let me let me just semi bad kids to school parents are saying never by the dad to spring and I and so it's it's my job it's our job to take care of them you know. So I mean even a proponent of police officers on on campus and community policing relational policing was sure it's on campus a building relationships. I think it serves as a deterrent. The other thing that I think that it does as wants students graduate from school. If they know how to interact with law enforcement while they're in school there's a better chance at that they'll have positive interactions with law enforcement analyst. Well alana thank you for the opportunity to talk with you today any time that you want to come on a show please let us know because you're job. Is one of the most important jobs that we haven't Jefferson Parish. And that's the care custody in the formation of our kids each and every day any educational process and system thank you so much. You frat Manges to consummate I'm I'm just super optimistic but I also know that we can't do this alone when you Lotto absolutely thanks doctor Kay brown Lee Jefferson Parish schools superintendent. Love talking with him love talking education love teachers. Future of America we'll be right back I don't know about you but I really enjoy that conversation with doctor Cade wrongly. He has 37. Years of age he has accomplished so much and in such a short period of time and in my confidence level for our school system after getting a chance to meet him. Has gone up ten full on attacks line he understands that integrity is not a light switch that's correct. So we're looking forward and wish him the best thing in in his challenges and and and leading neo school system. To new heights. 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