The level of educational attainment is related to health status. Research tells us that when people are more educated, their health is better. For that reason, the Foundation devotes 25 percent of its spending to its Education Initiative. We focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the nine Central Louisiana school districts.
One of the core strategies for these efforts is providing professional development and leadership opportunities for teachers and school leaders throughout Cenla. The Orchard Foundation, a nonprofit local education fund established by The Rapides Foundation, administers these efforts. As a result of this intensive training, principals and teachers become instructional leaders, teachers utilize new and better instructional strategies, and, ultimately, student achievement improves.
Orchard also provides coordination and oversight for CART, the Central Louisiana Academic Residency for Teachers. CART provides advanced training to people interested in teaching math and science. After completing the program, residents earn a Master of Natural Science degree from LSU and are placed in Central Louisiana schools.