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Recruitment drive flies high as new school nears completion; 'blueberry smurf' furniture on order

Fannie C. Williams has received a combined total of over $300,000 in grants from the Public Charter School Program and the Walton Foundation, board members learned at their monthly meeting, April 10 .

The school is also pursuing funding from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation as a participant in the foundation’s Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana program. Moreover, the school is the beneficiary of additional funding from the Recovery School District, thanks to an unexpected increase in enrollment for next fall.

With construction of a new school building nearly complete, the board is exploring how best to handle maintenance and security. One possibility is to share a contract with another school. A list of possible partner schools is being assembled.

School leader Kelly Batiste reported that she has been working with the RSD to secure furniture for the school.  The furniture will be blue, to reflect school colors. The school is going to look like a “smurf village—blueberry smurf,” Batiste said.

Unfortunately new computers were not included in arrangements struck with the RSD’s Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment Department. The board is reviewing options for acquiring them.

“Getting the word out” must remain a top goal for the board in order to attract enrollment to the new school, members agreed. In a bid to attract students the board recently sponsored a program called “Flight for Excellence,” in which top students in fifth, sixth and seventh grade were rewarded with a helicopter ride that provided them with a bird’s-eye view of the city. “They seemed to enjoy it,” board member Duane Stelley said. For many it was their first flight in aircraft of any kind.

Efforts to attract local coverage were unsuccessful, so the board decided to try again by offering media a “condensed version” of the flight in the near future.

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