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Board nixes plan to split Camp and Olivier campuses by grade level

International School of Louisiana’s Wednesday board meeting confirmed that the plan to split the Camp St. and Olivier St. campuses by grade levels is off the table. The board is exploring nearby facilities and modulars to ease the over-capacity at Camp St. campus.

The board and administration set up a decision matrix that weighs five basic elements: short and long-term enrollment, finances, operational logistics, cultural environment, and academics. The board is having a public meeting on December 13 at 6 PM on Camp St. for feedback and updates and is expected to make a decision in January.

The ideas of adding modular buildings on Camp St. is popular, but no decision has been made about which grades would (again) move, and where. Potentially, grades K and 1 will move together, as well as 4 and 5, or the entire middle school, depending on the space decided upon.  There is also talk of renting the empty lot across the street as a green space if modulars on the already crowded campus. The modulars for Olivier St. are in motion and completion is expected around late February and early March.

As for the Jefferson Parish campus, President Andrew Yon reports there is a prospective school property on 8101 Simon St. in Metairie that he has visited twice so far.

Head of School Sean Wilson also discussed the new state requirements for teachers’ compensation which provide flexible to individual schools’ salary scales, but the compensation must be performance based. In addition, Wilson brought up the OneApp program that, as a Type 2 charter school, ISL is being forced into implementing in the 2014-2015 school year. There are yet to be any Type 2 schools on the committee, but International High School has been invited.

“We need to be heard,” says Wilson, “knowing uniqueness of our school, we need to reach out to be on that table to address these concerns, especially if forced into the process.”

Wilson also addressed the changes to the Common Core curriculum, which is now assessed electronically and poses significant problems for all three campuses, which are not technologically prepared for the transition. Wilson reports that these adjustments will come with a cost as they are already ill-positioned technologically and financially. The schools have to look at increased amount of internet capacity in each facility which will impacts bills, but ISL is not alone as most of the area’s schools are also not ready for this. The state is providing contracts with equipment suppliers to reduce cost, but is not funding this process.

The Board voted unanimously to change wording in the board policy manual, reinforcing that management fees paid equally from all three schools.

Stephanie Davis’s board term recently ended, leaving the board at 10 members. Prospective candidates have been chosen and one will be elected at the next meeting on January 16. The board went into executive session at 7:17 to discuss personnel matters and legal action involving the BP oil spill.

The meeting began at 6:07 and ended at 8:31 with board member David Napoleon’s absence.

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