BPSTIL an example of the ‘Power of Public Schools’ in Bossier

February kicks off the Power of Public Schools campaign throughout Louisiana and Bossier is celebrating all the things that make it one of the state’s top districts.

Bossier Schools is in the middle of spotlighting the various opportunities it offers as a public school system: From the special education services that bridge the spectrum to an array of extracurricular opportunities, Bossier Schools has an array of programs that set it apart.

“We wanted to ensure we get in front of any state educational reform in a positive way by sharing all the wonderful things happening in Bossier schools,” said Bossier Parish Superintendent Jason Rowland. “Part of our vision is to enhance student education and that begins with our ability to address and meet the needs of all students and provide experiences that other schools providers can’t.”

One of those unique opportunities is the renowned Career and Technical Education (CTE) program offered at the Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning (BPSTIL).

“We’re a unicorn in the state of Louisiana in that we have the finest standalone CTE site in the state,” said Rowland. “The things you can do there are advantageous to kids going from secondary education into the workforce, but now we’re targeting the university track to providing opportunities for enhancing post-secondary education.”

BPSTIL Principal Amy Washington said other districts from across the state want to know the secret ingredient that makes her school tick.

“It’s because Bossier got it right,” she said. “They planned for growth and the investment in our school has been phenomenal.”

BPSTIL currently serves more than 1,700 students with 27 different programs of study. There are 35 Industry Based Credentials on offer. In addition, BPSTIL gives students the chance for dual enrollment with local higher education, internships in local businesses, and apprenticeships following graduation.

“When we’re choosing programs, as long as we can prove there’s a need, we’re going to make the program. For example, our new firefighter program is the only one in north Louisiana,” Washington said.

A large majority of the programs and classes offered to students is about meeting them where they are.

“We take them as high as they can go, but success looks different for every student,” said Washington. “For some of them, that is getting out of bed, and some it is making their project perfect. It’s targeting per student.”

The reigning Principal of the Year for Bossier Parish took an unexpected, winding career path to BPSTIL.

The Bossier native started her 20-year career as a chemistry and physics teacher at Bossier High before transitioning into administration, catching “the bug” for the school as part of an Advanced Placement science program.

“It was all the people who worked here, the programs here. I knew I wanted to be here, I knew this was my calling,” she said.

Now approaching her fourth year as principal, Washington said she still learns new things every day. That spirit of growth permeates throughout the school — from students taking initiative and teachers embracing change to administrators creating space for innovation.

“I’m always asking, ‘What’s next?’ Always looking to the future,” Washington said. “I love everything we’re doing to invest in students right now.”

Rowland added that BPSTIL is only scratching the surface of what it can provide, and he sees untapped potential in the cyber and technology workforce.

“We want to bring more interest and options to parish campuses, so these kids are excited about coming to their school. We want families to not only think of Bossier Schools as ‘a’ choice, but ‘the’ choice for their children,” he said.

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