Dr. Pat Cooper recently represented the Lafayette area at a national conference on improving education.

Last week in Washington, D.C., Dr. Cooper was a presenter at the Office of Safe and Healthy Students conference. He spoke about behavioral health, and was one of two school superintendents in the country invited to participate in the summit. The meeting covered topics dealing with education such as school discipline, gender-based violence, behavioral health, bullying and school safety. Cooper said of the conference:

Great things happen when passionate educators gather to share ideas, and this was a unique opportunity to work together for the future of our school systems.

Cooper has 40 years of public education service, spending time as the superintendent of schools in McComb, Mississippi, and as chief executive officer of the Early Childhood and Family Learning foundation in New Orleans, among other jobs in the educational field. In Lafayette Parish, he recently introduced a turnaround plan that he says will take the Lafayette Parish School System from a "C" to an "A" district in six years.

Cooper hopes to accomplish that goal by focusing on reducing the dropout rate, and “improving teacher and school morale by providing incentives and discipline improvements.” The plan would also improve student and staff wellness, along with fostering community involvement.