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Teachers group secures help with school discipline; audit largely flawless

The group of disgruntled McDonogh City Park Academy teachers who attended last month’s board meeting to ask  for help with student discipline seems to have been satisfied.

As detailed at the board’s monthly meeting, Dec. 13, the day after the November meeting the teachers and administrators agreed on several school-wide measures.  Board members Emily Waterfield and Laura Charbonnet then attended a follow-up meeting with the teachers.

“The administration essentially agreed to new commitments to the school’s rules,” Waterfield said. “They decided on a whole list of steps including re-explaining all of the rules to the students, and setting aside time to have the various grades practice line-up procedures. Some of the teachers were still concerned with small things like kids being mildly disrespectful or wearing the wrong color bracelets,” Waterfield said. “One or two people still had weird looks on their faces by the end, but their meeting with their administration definitely seems to have changed the level of awareness at the school.”

This is especially welcome news as McDonogh City Park logged 94 detentions for November, a high number.

The other main issue on the board’s December agenda was the official audit by the Carr, Riggs and Ingram firm. Don Wheat, a certified public accountant with the firm, presented the audit and, aside from very small criticisms, had nothing but compliments for the school and its airtight budget. “Compared to your peers,” Wheat told the board, “you are definitely one of the best organized charter schools.”

Added to the agenda was an appeal for donations to the school’s holiday food drive. Backpacks are being filled with food for the roughly 100 to 150 McDonogh students whose families are experiencing hunger. The board was concerned to make sure the food gets to those truly in need and, “not the families who buy the kids hundred-dollar tennis shoes,” said Mary Kay Parker, board president.

Present at the meeting in addition to Parker, Charbonnet and Waterfield, were Jim Nelson, the board treasurer, and members Bagot and Lee Hampton. Administrators present included Christine Mitchell, the school’s principal and chief executive officer, Ellen Bankston, the assistant principal, Carmelite Price, the coordinator of school services, and Keeanya Dupre, the director of finance and operations.

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