Amy Jeffries

News Director

Amy started her career in public radio at WNPR in Hartford, CT more than a decade ago. NPR flew her in to Baton Rouge to help WRKF cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina while she was still based in the North. Here she found her journalistic calling.

After getting a Master of Journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley and taking a detour through online media as a local editor for Patch, she finally returned to public radio and to Baton Rouge in January 2012.

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Education
4:53 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

For Summer Learning, District Sends Students to Library

East Baton Rouge Parish public school students are back in the classroom Wednesday. Almost inevitably, teachers will start by re-teaching material students forgot while they were on vacation. To minimize that learning loss over the summer, the district pointed students to the parish library.


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Beyond the Classroom
12:00 am
Wed August 8, 2012

For Summer Learning, District Sends Students to Library

The brochure for the summer learning program encourages kids to dream big. (East Baton Rouge Parish Library)

East Baton Rouge Parish public school students are back in the classroom Wednesday. Almost inevitably, teachers will start by re-teaching material students forgot while they were on vacation. To minimize that learning loss over the summer, the district pointed students to the parish library.

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Legislation
12:00 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Landrieu Seeks Progress on Farm, Transportation, Pay Equity Bills

FILE - Sen. Mary Landrieu speaking at the Baton Rouge Press Club, March 5, 2012. (WRKF/Amy Jeffries)

With Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu's vote, the Senate decided Thursday to move ahead with debate on the reauthorization of the farm bill.Meanwhile, two other significant pieces of legislation that the senior senator backs have stalled.

WRKF's Amy Jeffries caught up with Sen. Landrieu about the progress of the farm bill and the stalemate around the Transportation and Paycheck Fairness bills.


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Baton Rouge Schools
12:00 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Big Charter School Push Coming to Baton Rouge

Chris Meyer is the head of New Schools for Baton Rouge, which will be facilitating the development of charter schools. (WRKF/Amy Jeffries)

The Recovery School District is announcing plans for an "Achievement Zone" in north Baton Rouge where the schools have been failing for decades.

As part of that effort, New Schools for Baton Rouge will be facilitating the development of charter schools.

Before moving upriver to launch the new non-profit, Chris Meyer worked for the RSD in New Orleans, identifying which schools to turn over to charter operators there.

As he told WRKF's Amy Jeffries, Meyer is out to prove that you don't need a hurricane to make radical changes to the way schools work.


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Elementary Education
12:00 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Drop-Out Study Argues for Truancy Intervention

The Truancy Assessment and Service Center (TASC) program aims to intervene early so that kids stay in school. (LSU School of Social Work)

While the legislature has approved Governor Bobby Jindal's proposals for getting teachers to up their game and providing more school choice, an effort to keep some of the most at-risk kids in the classroom may be falling by the wayside.

The Truancy Assessment and Service Center, or TASC, program, addresses truancy among elementary school students, intervening early so they don't drop out later.

Administrators of TASC, which serves students from 21 parishes at 14 sites around the state, pleaded with the House Appropriations Committee earlier this week not to cut its funding.


Cecile Guin, Director of Research at the LSU School of Social Work, helped develop the program 13 years ago. She spoke with WRKF's Amy Jeffries in the studio along with LSU economist Stephen Barnes about TASC and the study they recently co-authored to bolster the argument for its preservation.

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Vouchers on Trial
12:00 am
Mon March 26, 2012

In Florida, Vouchers Bring Modest Improvement to Public Education

Westwego, LA, March 29, 2007 -- A first grade teacher works through the a lesson with her class. (Robert J. Alvey/FEMA)

Late Thursday night, the state house passed a bill that would allow public school dollars to be used to send students from low-income families attending failing schools to private schools instead. The legislation, which is a cornerstone of Governor Bobby Jindal's education reform plan, could hit the Senate floor this week.

The voucher program is modeled in part after a program in Florida, which was the first state to try vouchers on a large scale a decade ago.

David Figlio, a professor of education, social policy, and economics at Northwestern University in Illinois, has been studying Florida's program since its inception.

He was skeptical at first.


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Energy
12:00 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Candidates Stumping in La. Tackle Energy Policy

An oil derrick in Morgan City, La. (Flickr/giblee)

In Mississippi, they ate grits. In Louisiana, Republican presidential hopefuls have been trying to impress local voters by talking about oil and gas ahead of Saturday's primary.

Don Briggs, President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, told WRKF's Amy Jeffries, especially with gas prices on the rise, the candidates would have been remiss if they didn't tackle energy policy on the stump.


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Education Overhaul
12:00 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Jindal Kicks Off ‘Education Session’

While only a handful of the more than 1500 bills pre-filed for consideration by lawmakers over the next 12 weeks address education, debate over Gov. Bobby Jindal's reform proposals are expected to get a large share of the floor time.

Jindal kicked off the session Monday with a 25-minute speech pitching his plans for improving Louisiana's standing in national education rankings.

"If we demand excellence on the football fields as we should, we should be demanding excellence in the classrooms as well," Jindal said. 

The governor again urged lawmakers to go along with plans to tie teacher pay and tenure to student achievement and use public school funding to pay for a private school voucher program.

The proposals could be voted on in committee as soon as Wednesday.


Music
12:00 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Louisiana Songwriter's Life Story Provides the Muse

Songwriter Mary Gauthier (Courtesy of the artist).

As Mary Gauthier told WRKF's Amy Jeffries, a phone call to the mother who surrendered her at birth in 1962 was the catalyst for her most recent album, The Foundling.


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