Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts
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|Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts|
|715 University Parkway
Natchitoches, Louisiana, 71457
|School type||public, residential, magnet, secondary|
|Founder||Jimmy D. Long|
|Executive Director||Dr. Patrick Widhalm|
|Color(s)||blue and gold|
|Affiliations||NCSSSMST, Blue Ribbon Schools Program|
The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) is located in Natchitoches, Louisiana on the campus of Northwestern State University (NSU). It is a member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology (NCSSSMST).
LSMSA is the brainchild of State Representative Jimmy D. Long of Natchitoches and Robert A. Alost, president of NSU. The school was conceived to offer a unique experience to the state's brightest students while supplying Natchitoches with an influx of commerce and attention. On the heels of a fleeting surplus of state funds from oil revenues following America's oil crises of the late seventies, one-term Republican Governor David Conner Treen approved the founding of the school. Treen named trustees of the school, including Democratic State Senator Donald G. Kelly of Natchitoches.
Classes were originally held on the ground floor of Prudhomme Hall, an unused dormitory on the campus of NSU while female students lived in the upper floor and male students originally lived in Bossier Hall, another dorm. Renovation of the "High School Building," (known by no other formal title, but formerly the campus of Natchitoches High School) was completed in 1984, and the ceremonial ribbon was cut by then Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards.
The Louisiana School was the second state-supported residential school of its kind - the first being the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, which opened in 1980. The school was founded in the early 1980s with the first class enrolling as juniors in the fall of 1983, graduating in 1985.
Academically, the school is similar to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM). Studies focus on mathematics, science, and the humanities. Like NCSSM math and science high schools, it has an arts program, with instruction in music, theater, visual art, and dance.
Among the various ensembles in both voice and instrumental, student musicians get the opportunity to perform music special to Louisiana through the Louisiana Composers' Consortium founded by LSMSA's own Dr. Al Benner. "Impulse," the school's dance company, travels across the state performing and also holds its own concert in the Spring of each year.
As LSMSA recruits students from all of Louisiana, it can be described as a statewide magnet school. Prospective students apply during the fall of their freshman or sophomore year. Applicants submit application forms, grade transcripts, SAT or ACT results, and four letters of recommendation with one optional recommendation form. Applicants to the arts curriculum also submit a portfolio of artwork or audition. Also, a small number of students in their junior year may apply for admission for their senior year only. As of the 2007–2008 school year, LSMSA added its first Sophomore class, which composed of 40 students. 65 students have been invited to be in the 2008–2009 Sophomore class.
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Students who attend LSMSA live in dorms, away from their families, much like college students. The dormitories are single-sex: girls in Caddo Hall and boys in Prudhomme Hall. At Caddo and Prudhomme, students of the other sex are only allowed in the dormitory lobbies unless accompanied by an SLA (Student Life Advisor). Caddo Hall was renovated during the spring semester of 2011 and the girls lived in Varnado Hall for that time.
Rules regarding residential life are fairly stringent. Students have free time before 10pm during weekdays during which they can sign out to various areas within the city of Natchitoches. The Louisiana School provides a shuttle for transportation because students can only use their cars to drive home on weekends, unless they have high grades and a good disciplinary record, in which case they may use their cars for one day each weekend for a specified time period.
As LSMSA is located on a university campus, much of the residential life of LSMSA students resembles that of their university counterparts. Whereas a university has relatively little liability to bear when dealing with 18+ yr old adults, LSMSA must contend with a student body mainly of minors. The school tries to enforce rigorous discipline under terms of in loco parentis.
Students must agree to the following honor code pledge:
As a student of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, I understand that I belong to an institution dedicated to the pursuit of learning. Thus, I promise to uphold the Honor Code that safeguards this pursuit. I accept my personal duty to promote an honorable attitude in my academic life by refraining from lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarizing, or vandalizing.
Alleged infractions upon said honor code are put before an honor court.
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- Rod Dreher (1985) - The Dallas Morning News editorial writer, columnist, frequent contributor to National Review, The New York Post
- Trent Dawson (1989) - actor, played Henry Coleman on As the World Turns.
- Josh Tickell (1993) - Biodiesel pioneer and director of FUEL, which won the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary.
- Michael Hochberg (1998) - award-winning professor of nanophotonics at the University of Washington
- North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
- Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
- Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
- National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology
- Grush, Ryan (29 December 2008). "Soap opera stars tour BR for recovery fund-raiser: Actors sell bracelets, arrange dinner". The Daily lsureveille. Retrieved 28 July 2011. ""It has been a while since I have been back," said Trent Dawson, who plays Henry Coleman on "As the World Turns." "It is a changed city." ... Dawson, a graduate of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, and five other cast members preceded their Red Cross fund-raiser at the mall with a visit to shelter at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales."
- "Sundance/Grammy/Pulitzer - LSMSA". Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2011. "In the past few months, the talent, dedication, and work of three graduates from the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts gained national and international recognition. “Fuel”, a documentary film by 1993 graduate, Josh Tickell, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival."
- Coles, Mark. "Students Assist in Environmental Measurements at Livingston". web newsletter. LIGO Livingston Observatory. Retrieved 28 July 2011. "The two students who assisted with these measurements, Tomyka and Millicent, both attend the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) located in Natchitoches ... Two Caltech undergraduate students who have worked on LIGO during previous summers, Yale Wang and Michael Hochberg, are also graduates of LSMSA."