Ferriday High School, located at 801 E. E. Wallace Boulevard, Ferriday, Louisiana, is a public high school that accommodates grades 9 through 12. The school presently maintains full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is now seeking accreditation for the current cycle.
Our teachers are the fundamental pillar of Ferriday High, and every effort is made to procure the best teachers available. The FHS instructional staff includes 27 teachers, 1 Guidance Counselor and 5 paraprofessionals. The school administration consists of a principal and an assistant principal. Based on data from the 2007-2008 school year, 87.2% of the faculty are highly qualified and 42.2% have a Master's Degree or higher. Three of the teachers have attained National Board certification.
The students at FHS are residents of a rural agricultural community in east central Louisiana where the socioeconomic condition is at an all-time low. Business and industry in Concordia Parish have suffered a steady decline since 1997, and the unemployment rate has escalated into the double digits. Forty-two percent of Ferriday residents did not attain high school diplomas, which to some extent, explains why the majority of the workforce is deemed unskilled.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 70.2% of Ferriday's children under age 18 live at or below the poverty line. Even more, some of Ferriday High's students lack basic necessities such as heating and running water. More than three-fourths of Ferriday High School's student body receives free or reduced lunches. Although the economic condition of students allows the school eligibility for Federal program allotments such as Title I, basic needs among the schoolchildren remains a great concern.
Many of the school's students are from single-parent households or are being reared by relatives. Thirty-three percent of the families of Ferriday are headed by a female householder with no husband present. These factors, coupled with widespread poverty (The per capita income of the community is less than $9,000.), account for some of the challenges faced by the school.
The current rate of absenteeism among the students is approximately 10% per day. Motivation and pride in academic accomplishments, as well as poor self-esteem among the students are ongoing difficulties. Moreover, many of the students are deficient in foundation knowledge since many families are unable to provide educational and travel experiences. As a result, the teachers must provide real-world connections that fill the gaps where real-life experiences leave off.
There are two private/parochial schools located in Ferriday: Huntington School, Inc. and Miss-Lou Christian Academy. Other private/parochial schools in the surrounding region include Trinity Episcopal Day School, Adams County Christian School, and Cathedral School. Some students are being home-schooled as well. All of these schools draw Caucasian students away from Ferriday High School. There are two other public high schools in Concordia Parish: Vidalia High School and Monterey High School. The ethnic make-up of the student body at FHS currently consists of 98.2% African-American and 1.8% Caucasian. There have been no significant changes in the ethnic composition of the school population during the past decade.
Student learning is the overriding priority of our school. Ferriday High School will not lower its expectations for student achievement; and to this end, has implemented a rigorous remedial/intervention program to assist under-performing students. Several components of this program include school-wide strategies to improve vocabulary skills and reading comprehension, remedial courses for at-risk students, an after-school tutorial program, GEE remediation classes, and course recovery classes offered during the summer months.
Revitalizing the educational program at FHS begins with the school's mission statement: There can be no ACADEMIC gain with DISCIPLINE. FHS believes that discipline should be the cornerstone of its educational program, and has developed a strong disciplinary plan that has proved to be effective. Student misbehavior and disruptions in the classroom are not tolerated. Students are responsible for their actions en route to and from school, at school, and at other schools when visited for activities. The consequences for student misbehavior are stated in the student handbook; and disciplinary actions imposed by the administration are fair, firm, and consistent.
Ferriday High School has developed a three-faceted alternative suspension program that includes Evening Detention, Saturday Alternative Suspension, and Suspension on Site (SOS), which is an alternative placement program. Together, these programs have successfully decreased the number of suspensions while still holding students accountable for their actions. Moreover, they collectively act as a deterrent to student misbehavior since parents are responsible for transporting the students to and from the detention sites.
Staying abreast of the changing world of technology has become a central focus of our curriculum. Ferriday High School provides and maintains three fully equipped computer technology centers that are available for student use. In addition, each of our classrooms is equipped with an up-to-date computer(s), Internet access, and Microsoft Office software. Several classrooms are model technology classrooms, having at least five computers, a smart board, and other technology-based equipment. Online instruction via The Louisiana Virtual School (LVS) has allowed us to offer courses required for Louisiana TOPS as well as several dual enrollment (college credit) courses. All in all, the goal of our technology program is to provide digital-age learning experiences that prepare our students to communicate effectively in the twenty-first century.
The Ferriday High school family continues to meet the challenges and demands that come with fostering a quality educational program for our students. Embracing the words of President Lyndon B. Johnson, "The three R's of our school system must be supported by the three T's: teachers who are superior, techniques of instruction that are modern, and thinking about education which places it first in all our plans and hopes," our focus will remain on serving our students to the best of our ability.