The Lorraine Nobles Howard Education Center, affectionately known as Howard School, is a state-licensed alternative school on the campus of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home in Ruston, Louisiana.
History of Educational Services at Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home
The history of Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services begins in 1902 when the Methodist Episcopal Church South founded Louisiana Methodist Orphanage. After two years of initial fund raising and organization, child care operations began in 1904 in Bunkie, Louisiana.In 1906, a group of Ruston’s citizens who had eyes for the future donated a forty acre plot within the city limits of Ruston and the Louisiana Methodist Orphanage moved to Ruston, Louisiana. In 1956, Louisiana Methodist Orphanage changed its name to Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home. In 1993, the board of directors changed the name of the corporation to Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services, Inc. While the corporation provides services to vulnerable children and families across Louisiana, the Ruston campus continues as Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and is the site of the organization’s corporate headquarters.
The first effort to provide education on our Ruston campus was in 1920, when four teachers were employed by Louisiana Methodist Orphanage to teach 1st through 7th grade residents. Older students attended Ruston High School, one of the finest public high schools in Louisiana. Then, in 1952, Louisiana Methodist Orphanage began sending children who were in second grade and above to the local public schools.
The average age of the Home’s residents increased through the 1960s. During the ’70s, Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home began providing residential care for children who had been removed from their homes following abuse and neglect.
Between 1956 and the late ’70s, the Home fully transitioned from orphanage into adolescent residential care facility. Consequently, there were a growing number of residents whose behaviors prevented their education in the public schools of Lincoln Parish and the Home once again began providing educational services to residents.
Lorraine Nobles Howard Educational CenterIn 1985, the Lorraine Nobles Howard Education Center, also known as Howard School, was opened to serve the Home’s residents who were unable to attend the public schools in Lincoln Parish. The first Principal of Howard School was Mrs. Evelyn Wilburn who was followed by Mr. Bill Gullatt in 1986, who, in turn, was followed in 1993 by Mr. Rick Sutton, who was followed in 2011 by Mr. Anthony “Tony” Cain, the current Principal and Director of Educational Services.
Growing pains in the early 1990’s led to a significant construction effort in 1997, when Howard School was expanded to four times its original size. Howard School contains state of the art classrooms filled with the latest educational technologies, computers and SmartBoards. The school was remodeled and redecorated in 2009 to meet the changing needs of all our residents.
All resident of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home attend Howard School. In addition, Lincoln Parish School Board utilizes the expertise of our specially trained staff members to assist with Lincoln Parish public school students displaying extreme behavioral problems which prevent them from making progress in a traditional educational setting.
In additional to a regular academic track, Howard School also offers an extremely successful GED/Vocational Education track for students whose academic goals are better served by a career skills-based education. The vocational needs of our residents and the success of our GED/Vocational Education track prompted the development of a standalone Vocational Education Center on the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home campus in Ruston. In 2010, construction of the John H. Allen Career and Vocational Center was completed on our Ruston campus where students receive instruction in building construction, barbering and welding.
Howard School Mission Statement:
To enhance all students’ social and academic achievements.
Lincoln Parish School Board Vision Statement:
A quality education for a quality life.
Howard School is located on the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home campus and is licensed by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Howard School and its teachers are equipped to accommodate junior and senior high students who are emotionally and behaviorally at risk. Howard provides two diverse education tracks for students to participate in the normal track for students preparing for a state university and a GED/Vocational skills track.
Our challenge at Howard School is to transcend what has been a setting of failure for many youth into an experience where they are able to succeed. The goals of the educational process are as varied as the youth served. Our school goals are:
- Help students develop appropriate behavior patterns, educational goals, and various opportunities to pursue those goals.
- Motivate each youth to learn and help him/her enjoy a measure of academic success.
- Prepare youth to reenter public school, as soon as he/she is emotionally, behaviorally, and academically ready.
- Provide a GED/Vocational Skills Course of study for youth who are unable to attend and graduate from high school.