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At capacity, Lagniappe announces possible move to St. Rose de Lima Church; SPS still low

At its monthly board meeting, the Lagniappe Academy board announced that it was actively searching for a new facility due to increased enrollment and addition of new classes.

The charter had earmarked the St. Rose de Lima Church site as possible quarters but nothing has been finalized, Chief Academic Officer Kendall Petri revealed. The school is also looking at facilities in the Treme neighborhood, or surrounding areas, as part of the charter’s commitment to serve the Treme community.

“We do not want to move into a facility that is too far away from the neighborhood and lose our students,” Petri said. “We are a community school that serves kids in Iberville, Lafitte and Treme… we want to be at a place where we are the nucleus in the neighborhood.”

Petri said that Lagniappe’s student body numbers 130, which is forty more than last year, and is the current site’s capacity. The school could remain at its current space for one more year with the addition of a new modular but space would be very tight.

In other agenda items, school officials gave updates on recent school news and community engagement news. The board also approved two new members.

School Community Leader Yoshekia Brown said the school received a $1000 grant from Serve-A-Kid, a local foundation that helps pay for student uniforms. About 40 uniforms were purchased with the grant.

Working with Revolution Foods, a food service provider, Lagniappe Academy has begun serving supper to students from Monday to Thursday. The suppers, which are comprised of fresh foods and vegetables, is part of the free and reduced meal program sponsored with state and federal monies.

Brown added that the school had ramped up its parent involvement with school activities. Parents are urged to volunteer 10 hours yearly for school activities.

Petri added that school data revealed that about 80 percent of students live with unemployed parents. Furthermore, 85 percent are single parents, and many students live with their grandparents or other relatives.

“This is a step to have parents take a proactive involvement in their child’s education and development,” Brown said. “We are doing all we can to not give them a chance to make excuses.”

In academic news, the recently released school performance score shows little improvement from last year.

Lagniappe’s 2011-2012 SPS was 58.6, up from 57.4 last year – a “F” grade.

“We might have the most students who are far behind in reading and math skills in the city… in our middle school, some students are five years behind,” Petri said on the matter. “We do not want to be an inferior, failing school with low test scores… but we do want to give the students in this neighborhood every opportunity to learn and achieve things just as much as students at other schools in the city.”

The school recently instituted more stringent reading programs to help spur academic growth.

Lastly, the board announced that one of its founding members, William Norton, was leaving the board for personal reasons.

Emily Gordy, an attorney, and Lee Pryor, a developer at the WWII Museum, were elected as new board members.

The hour-long meeting was then adjourned.

The next board meeting is Nov 28.  

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