The board of Lawrence D. Crocker Arts and Technology School met on Sept. 24.
Board members present were Grisela Jackson (chairwoman), John A. Jones (vice chairman), Michael Neyrey (treasurer), Shaun B. Raferty (secretary), Stephen J. Boyard Jr., Simmone G. Robinson, Charmaine Robertson (principal) and Cherie Lopez who arrived late (financial administrator).
Absent board members were Edward Scharfenberg and John W. Tobler
The meeting began with the amendment of the August minutes to reflect that the school enrollment currently stands at 240, including pre-kindergarten. The minutes were then approved.
Grants received include $1,677 from the state for reading assessment testing and $22,038 grant from the non-profit Teacher Advancement Program (TAP). In addition, the school is working toward a grant that would provide stringed instruments. The violin program is up and running and a grant has been received to start instruction in guitar, Principal Robertson reported.
The school’s audit is under way and Paul Andoh, new to the school staff, is in charge.
Board members learned that a student stole Robertson’s cell phone and it has replaced, through insurance, but has not been found.
Sept. 29, a Thursday, is Crocker’s Chuckie Cheese Night, at the Algiers branch from 3-9 p.m.
The Fire Department has completed inspection of the school kitchen which will be in use once fire extinguishers are inspected and, if necessary, replaced.
The school’s Scout programs for boys and girls are doing well, Robertson reported, adding that faculty and staff who direct these programs undergo rigorous training.
The school is working to address a lack of bus monitors after complaints from parents, the board was told. With 10 vehicles in operation, the school offers bus service along three routes: Uptown, New Orleans East, and Gentilly. Two Crocker staff members sometimes ride the buses, and parents have also served as monitors, but inconsistently. Bobbie Thomas, the grandmother of three Crocker students spoke up at the meeting to say that something could go wrong on long bus rides. The school does not have room in its budget to pay parent or faculty monitors.
TAP teachers are gathering in 90-minute, once-a-week “cluster meetings” to improve their skills and strategies. Robertson acknowledged that the meetings are a lot of work but that teachers are finding them helpful.
The Annual Financial Report (AFR) to the state is due Oct. 31. Lopez, the financial administrator, fielded questions from the board about some expenditures. The board has scheduled an Oct. 12 meeting to review revisions before the AFR is submitted.
State officials recently visited the school to evaluate conditions for students with special needs. The evaluation went well, board members were advised.
Michael Neyrey tendered his resignation as board treasurer during the meeting, ending three years of service. Once a replacement has been found, Neyrey has agreed to guide the new treasurer into his role.
To draw public attention to the school in an attempt to increase enrollment, Crocker will be handing out flyers, now that City Hall has outlawed putting recruitment placards on neutral grounds, a widespread recent practice that now is subject to a fine.