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Pre-k programs OK'd for next year at Dibert and Hughes; school finances in good shape

John Dibert Community School and Langston Hughes Academy will both offer a pre-kindergarten program next year, the FirstLine board of directors decided at its monthly meeting, Feb. 28.

Interested parents will be able to apply through the Recovery School District’s “One App” enrollment form, on which they designate their first three choices for pre-k placement.

A review of FirstLine’s finances suggests that all of the charter management organzation’s schools will finish the year in the black except for Joseph S. Clark High School, which is 20 students shy of its projected enrollment and $20,000 in the red.

Board member Dana Peterson called for school administrators to determine why each student left the school. “If they’re gone, then let’s find out exactly why,” he said.

Chief operating officer Adrian Morgan reported that a technical dispute with FEMA over funding has delayed demolition of the former New Orleans Charter Middle School, on Monroe Street.

Arthur Ashe, however, is on track for a move to Gentilly and a dramatic upgrade, school director Sabrina Pence reported. She identified student retention as a key goal and said her  team will continue canvassing in Gentilly to “build connections there and hopefully bolster the student body.”

To keep needier students from slowing the progress of stronger classmates, Pence touted Ashe’s use of “blended learning,” a technique that allows students to work independently on computers. To mitigate late arrivals, Ashe teachers and administrators go to extremes, sometimes making personal wake-up calls and even buying alarm clocks for habitually tardy students –  “whatever it takes,” Pence said.

All but one board member was present and an audience of three was in attendance, including a reporter for The Lens.

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