“Public Education: Then and Now” – Taylor Porter, VIPS Address Educational Challenges

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Taylor Porter participated in a Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) Partners in Education Roundtable Webinar – “Public Education: Then and Now, Is it Still the Path to Freedom?” The webinar was held as part of a celebration of Black History Month and the continuation of the VIPS Partners in Education series. The webinar celebrated the achievements of African Americans, discussed the role education plays in the advancement of communities, and reflected on the history that African Americans endured to obtain an education, particularly in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Baton Rouge Mayor President Sharon Weston Broome welcomed an audience consisting of Glen Oaks High School students, educational community leaders, elected officials, donors, VIPS partners and board members, and EBRP School Board Members. Panelists included Dr. Sito Narcisse, Superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System; Preston Castille, President of Helix Community Schools, and BESE Member District 8; and Kenneth Morris, Founder & President of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and direct descendant of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington.

Volunteers In Public Schools was established in 1981 after court-ordered busing left the East Baton Rouge Parish school district deplete of community confidence and public involvement. VIPS’ founders understood that public education is community work and knew that in order for our students to excel, they needed the support and participation from our citizens. VIPS recruits, trains, screens, and places individuals, groups, and business representatives into public schools to assist underperforming students.

Taylor Porter is a community outreach partner with both VIPS and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System and has participated in several prior projects to assist area Baton Rouge schools. Last August, Taylor Porter participated in the “First Day Helpers” program to treat teachers and staff to breakfast at White Hills Elementary School in Baker. VIPS organizes the First Day Helpers program every year to welcome back teachers and school staff. In 2019, Taylor Porter worked with VIPS and White Hills Elementary School for a community outreach project – “Read for Success” – in which the school’s fifth graders read five books in the months of September and October, and then visited the law firm for an end of the semester party, and a meet and greet with several of the firm’s professionals who discussed their careers, education, and pathway to the workforce.

The Taylor Porter BUILD (Building Unity, Inclusion, & Legal Diversity) Community Outreach Program provides assistance to community organizations and nonprofits. Taylor Porter’s Diversity Committee launched BUILD in 2017 with the goal of promoting unity and inclusion in the legal profession as well as providing positive and rewarding experiences for our community. BUILD contours Taylor Porter’s 109 years of community outreach and volunteer work. Taylor Porter has partnered with organizations such as VIPS, Mentorship Academy, White Hills Elementary, Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School, Dialogue on Race Louisiana, Habitat for Humanity, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Baton Rouge. Taylor Porter’s attorneys and staff are actively involved in more than 100 organizations across Louisiana.

Taylor Porter and BUILD are proud to sponsor VIPS’ Presentation on Public Education and celebration of Black History Month.