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Test scores are strong; Clark has seats to fill; $70G in new grants awarded

Initial results from standardized state tests look good, FirstLine Schools chief executive officer Jay Altman told the board at their May monthly meeting.  Altman said he expects John Dibert Community School to post some of the city’s biggest gains. He said he was pleased that  Langston Hughes Academy maintained the status quo.

“I was relieved by that,” he said of Hughes’ scores, as it was a transitional year for the staff and students.

Altman said Dibert’s dean of students will move to Green Charter School next year.  Green needs to move away from a “culture of compliance” to a “culture of investment” Altman said.

Board member Catherine Pierson said FirstLine received a $50,000 grant from the RosaMary Foundation.  The money will help expand their blended learning program.  FirstLine also received a grant of $20,000 from the Keller Family Foundation to help fund a new playground at Ashe Elementary.

The board heard a presentation by the Clark Preparatory High School leadership team.  Though Clark’s projected enrollment for next fall is 432, Altman said he is worried they won’t fill that many spots. The school’s achievement data have improved throughout the year.

“We’re going to get more and more radical on catch-up strategy,” Altman said, adding “We are seeing progress but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

The board commended the Clark leadership team.

“We are in it for the long haul and I’m pleased with the outcome this year,” member Brian Egana said.

The board accepted a recommendation by the governance committee to have monthly meetings again on Wednesdays.  The board also plans to amend their bylaws to retitle he top two board fficer “chair” and “vice chair.”  The board approved minutes from April’s meeting.

Egana said the facilities committee decided FirstLine will simultaneously list their Monroe Street property for sale “as is” while putting out a request for proposals for its demolition.

The board held a 10-minute executive session to discuss “personnel issues”.  The Lens confirmed with Altman that, in accordance with state public-meetings law, the person being discussed had been notified 24 hours prior to the meeting and chose to have the meeting in closed session.  No action was taken  after the executive session.

Members Egana and Pierson were joined by Alison Hartman, Gregory St. Etienne, Lawrence Kullman, and Stephen Rosenthal.

The meeting began at 4 p.m. and adjourned at 6:07 p.m.

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