Ascension Ranked 3rd in State in PARCC Testing | Poll Question

As a father who is staring down KINDERGARTEN next fall, perhaps in East Baton Rouge parish, I have become quite interested in more detail in the education system in our area.   It is such a shame that with such a great example set in neighboring parishes, the East Baton Rouge Parish school system cannot mimic the successes of Ascension and Livingston Parish schools.

Ascension Public Schools Rank 3rd in State on Assessments for Grades 3-8Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 3.44.33 PM

“Because of our commitment to excellence and higher standards, Ascension students remain top performers ranking third among other districts for the percent of students performing in the top two achievement bands, Mastery and Advanced.  This acknowledgment is affirming given our body of work and that PARCC tasks are more challenging than LEAP questions,” said Tuttleton. “We are also looking forward to having the ability to compare our students’ performance to students in other PARCC states.”

Every politician says they are for higher standards and every politician says they are for revamping the school system in Baton Rouge.   Watching the St. George City situation from Ascension, the perception I was given was that the EBR school system administrators would do anything it had to do to keep the status quo rather than address the needs of 1/4 of the parish’s citizens regarding the school system, which was the calling card for the incorporation effort.   I know reality is far more complicated than I could write about (tax bases, school buildings, funding, etc) and ultimately it slid into a smear campaign based on class and race.   In the end, it seems naive to even ask why there was no attempt at a compromise.   Why did it have to go to the point of trying to create a new CITY in order for parents and citizens to have more control of their school system?

I’m asking the same questions everyone with children is asking, but I’d like some discussion: What will it take for citizens to hold elected officials accountable to the standards they need to be held to when we have entrusted them to educate our kids? 

– David

Find Your School District – EASY! |BR, ASC, LIV

These links are bookmark-worthy if you are considering a move soon.  Just type in the address and see what schools your children would attend.

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Ascension:  http://edulog.apsb.org/liveweb/webquery/

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Baton Rouge: http://tsdweb.ebrpss.k12.la.us/public/default.aspx?load=addressInput

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Livingston: http://www.infofinderi.com/tfi/address.aspx?cid=LPPS05718038435

Baton Rouge’s results are trickier, because it also shows the bus routes to the private schools feeding an address as well as bus transfer information for schools across town.  A little confusing but at least all the information is there.

Livingston’s link is the least user-friendly, but it does get the job done.  Put your address and it will also show the schools and bus stops.  A bonus here is they also list the bus numbers and the arrival times in the AM and PM.  If only BR and Ascension would follow suit…

– David

Survey – Consumers Stingy on Gas but not Mortgages? | National Real Estate Post

Lending Tree has a new survey out showing that consumers will go out of their way to save $.10 on a gallon of gas before they will go to a mortgage rate comparison site on-line.

Consumers NOT Using Rate Comparison Sites | National Real Estate Post.Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 11.40.35 AM

Quick thought:  Most good mortgage lenders can do the same things that everyone else can do, so it’s really about finding the one you trust and get to know them.  Whether you are rate-conscious, payment-conscious or closing cost-conscious, just talk to your trusted lender and agent.  Chances are they can find the program that fits your needs.   Second and third opinions will always one-up the first opinion but there may be other fees associated with that “better deal” and I’ve seen it happen on a number of occasions – many times when it is too late to change it in the process.

David Madaffari

Restaurant Spotlight: Your Mom’s at Lee/Burbank

My clients and friends know that if ever possible, I like to meet and do business at restaurants.  What can I say – I like trying new and creative menus, taking in unique dining atmospheres and learning about each restaurant’s value proposition.   I figured since I like to critique my meals, I might as well write about them since well, I like to write.  How credible will my opinions be?  Well if you know me it’s simple – I’m an honest guy and I like a good deal when I eat.   Today’s spotlight is a new restaurant that opened only a few days ago in the Winn-Dixie shopping center on Lee @ Burbank: Your Mom’s.

Your Mom's Restaurant & Bar

(For a back-story of the restaurant, read this DIGBR.com article)

Walking into the restaurant, I had no idea what a restaurant called “Your Mom’s” would look like.  Walking in, I was quite impressed with the decor.   The seating and bar area walls were finished with horizontal wood planks for a very modern/rustic feel that seems to be a popular gastro-pub trend, but I would not call this place a “pub” by any traditional means.   The lighting was perfect for lunch time and I think they did a really good job instantly creating a unique atmosphere – like you were at your mom’s for lunch.

My client arrived and we ordered the fried alligator with their Rae-Rae sauce, which I could only describe as one you would liken to Raising Cane’s secret recipe – no one really knows what’s in it for *sure* but it was damn good.  The alligator bites were fried and cooked perfectly with the right amount of tenderness. The winner here was the batter though, which was different than almost all other batters I’ve had at other establishments.  A touch more seasoning and thought was put into this batter, and I would be interested to know if they use it on their other fried items as well because it is that good.

For our lunches, I had the Roast Beef Po-Boy and my client had Your Mom’s House salad.  The pride of Your Mom’s is their preparation of fresh food daily and if you like to critique your meals like I do then you can taste the difference.  The roast beef is cooked between 3 to 6 hours before serving, and I will go on record right now to say it is now my favorite roast beef po-boy in town so far.   The beef was tender as expected, but not messy – the typical soggy bread experience with most roast beef sandwiches will not be an issue here thanks to the great bread and the slight toast they put on it.  The seasoned fries weren’t overly salty (which I prefer but some might want a little more) and both the sandwich and fries portions were generous.

Now to my client’s salad….let’s just say when it arrived at the table our eyes opened wide in disbelief.  Served in a bowl big enough for a family of four to dine on, this was not your typical high-priced, under-portioned salad.  In fact our first comments were literally about how she could get 3 meals out of that bowl.   As for taste and freshness, she actually used some more of the Rae-Rae sauce/dressing and she said it was enjoyable.  They were not stingy on the amount of boiled eggs, tomatoes, chicken and other ingredients making it a very balanced salad, quote a feat for such a large bowl.  Naturally, she ended up with a to-go box chock-full for dinner and tomorrow’s lunch!

Conclusion:  After we finished our meals – and by finished I mean being stuffed and still taking a lot of it home – the first thing that came to my mind was VALUE.   Don’t get me wrong, a lot of restaurants use generous portions as a way to give customers a sense of getting more than what they paid for.  Your Mom’s however is just the second restaurant (the first being in Hammond) and with margins what they are, I was impressed that they are able to prepare exceptional quality AND quantity of food at a great price.  The food is creative and fresh, the atmosphere is hip and trendy, the wait-staff were friendly and the location should do well near campus.

Do yourself a favor, check out their menu here and if you’re near Lee and Burbank, stop into Your Mom’s and tell them I sent you.

David Madaffari

New Listing – Shadowbrook Lakes – $369,900

Come see this spacious, and I mean SPACIOUS, home in the wonderful Shadowbrook Lakes subdivision in Baton Rouge.

Gorgeous 5 bedroom home PLUS bonus room is easily the best value in the neighborhood. Open kitchen, living, dining and breakfast areas make entertaining a breeze. Granite countertops and well-appointed fixtures throughout the home compliment the wood and tile flooring, and the wood stairs complete the look. The master suite is downstairs, with 4 bedrooms upstairs PLUS the giant bonus/game/media room that includes a closet for a possible 6th bedroom option. Yard is also fenced for privacy and recreation and extra wide driveway allows for more parking options. Home is only two years old and move-in ready.  Click here for more details!

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– David Madaffari

Slow Down, Hoss….Ascension Needs a Breather

This Letter to the Editor in the Pelican Post raises great concern and provides valid arguments to slowing the growth and development in Ascension Parish.  With the rubber-stamp approvals of all new developments, Ascension has become the wild west in new home development.

I tend to agree with the writer – Ascension is lagging in infrastructure to handle all of these new developments.  Not mentioned among the issues raised in the article was the potential for market over-saturation and perhaps a detrimental affect on existing home prices, which we are starting to see a little bit of already.

Letter toThe Editor
Is Ascension Growing Too Fast? – Letter to the Editor

Below is an excerpt from the letter of the approved and planned subdivisions around the Parish:

Subdivisions already approved in Northern part of the parish:

Oakland Crossing Subdivision = 92 new homes.  This subdivision connects to Oakland Drive with only two options to exit, onto Jefferson Hwy or through John Broussard Road onto Hwy 42.

Silver Oaks (Airline and Germany Road) = 280 units (a PUD that contains an extra 36 lots for a total of 316 housing units), or another 632 additional cars.

Bullion Crossing (on the Airline) = 45 lots with 90 additional cars.

The Shadows of Manchac (2nd filing; intersection of McCroy 1 Road and McCroy 2 Road) =  96 lots and a total of 192 more cars.

Subdivisions currently on the Planning Commission’s agenda for approval:

The Meadows at Oak Grove  (corner of John Broussard and Hwy. 42) = 212 single family dwellings that will add 424 more cars exiting onto Hwy 42.

Hidden Farms  (end of Brown Rd., off Jefferson Hwy) = 142 homes that will add 284 cars exiting onto Jefferson Hwy.

Oaks on the Bluff (Phase 3; east side of Bluff Rd.) = 53 homes and another 106 cars

The Hollows at Dutchtown (a subdivision off Hwy. 73) = 200 more houses and another 400 more cars added to traffic on Hwy. 73 that was just widened!  Oh, and let’s not forget the school planned across the road from The Hollows at Dutchtown and the added massive traffic it will bring (school buses, drop offs, etc.)!!

Dutchtown Property – Newest Application presented to the Planning and Zoning Dept. with Entry/Exit off Hwy 73 between I-10 and Hwy 74.  283 homes (stacked like sardines) adds 566 more cars to an over-crowded Hwy 73, more children to overcrowded schools, a waste water treatment plant and drainage problems!!!!!

What do you think?  Comment below or on our Facebook page!

– David