Sunset, Louisiana. — Starting this fall, St. Landry parents will have a new option for education. École St. Landry, a public charter school, will offer 96 kinder and 1st grade students a chance to be a part of the inaugural classes at the new school for the 2021-2022 school year (48 K and 48 1st grade). As with all public schools, École St. Landry will be free of charge to admitted students and transportation will be available for all students.
The application window opens Feb. 1 and closes at 5 p.m. March 31. Click here for information on how to apply. The lottery will only occur if more than 96 students apply by March 31. If that is the case, the lottery will be held the first week of April. Applicants will be selected by random computer drawing for available seats. Applicants not selected will be placed on a numbered wait list.
“École St. Landry is inspired and empowered by this region’s heritage and identity. We will use these strengths to prepare students for the future,” said Lindsay Smythe, École St. Landry school leader. “Sunset is the perfect place for this new school that we believe will create citizens who, as our vision statement says, ‘possess the knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors necessary to thrive in today's increasingly interconnected world.’”
Those who know Smythe acknowledge that the French teacher at Lafayette High is a force of nature. The 2020 Leadership Lafayette graduate has been on a mission to create the new school for four years. The COVID-19 pandemic derailed plans to open the school in the fall of 2020 primarily due to the impossibility for French-immersion teachers from other countries to travel to Louisiana, a process coordinated by the State Dept. of Education and CODIFIL. Now, all systems are a go as the school plans to move forward.
The mission of the new school is to prepare students from St. Landry Parish to be academically proficient, bilingual and globally competent. The school will aim to close the gaps of academic achievement by offering an innovative, researched-based French-immersion education. Additionally, École St. Landry will support local efforts to preserve and revitalize at-risk cultural assets.
“École St. Landry is an opportunity for families in St. Landry Parish to provide an exceptional education for their children,” said Jerry Domengeaux, board president. “The dream of a French Immersion School in our parish became a reality because of the ingenuity and tenacity of the École St. Landry school board and advisory committee who gave continuous support to this project to get it to this point.”
Domengeaux also credits the creation and execution of the new school to the selection of Smythe as its leader, the generosity of donors who believe in project and the St. Landry Parish School Board and Superintendent who approved a French Immersion Charter School.
The school will draw on the cultural roots of the community of Sunset in many ways — its mascot will be the Lions and the school colors will be kelly green and old gold (the mascot and colors of the former Sunset High). Initially, the school will open in the old First Baptist Church of Sunset (671 Napoleon Ave.), but the school has partnered with the City of Sunset to lease the old Sunset High building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Plans to renovate the building are underway.
Smythe says École St. Landry’s rigorous programming will be guided by three pillars — French-language immersion, extracurricular community engagement and a diverse student body.
To apply online to École St. Landry, complete the school’s online application here.
You are also invited to pick up an application at the St. Landry Parish School Board office at 1013 E. Creswell Lane, Opelousas or download/print the application and mail it to:
École St. Landry
P.O. Box 1360
Sunset, LA 70584
To learn more about École St. Landry, go to ecolestlandry.org.