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Success Prep leaders celebrate one year charter extension

Despite a recent enrollment dip, Success Preparatory Academy last week celebrated a one-year charter extension granted by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

During a Dec. 4 meeting of Success Prep’s board, officials anticipated the renewal and praised state officials’ for recommending the campus stay open for at least one more year.

Enrollment was reported at 401 students, nine fewer students than the school’s Oct. 1 enrollment count. But co-principals Niloy Gangopadhyay and St. Claire Adriaan told the board that they expect to add students in the coming weeks, on the heels of the non-renewals of a few other city charters.

Board member Jack Carey told his fellow board members that administrators will be performing classroom visits through Dec. 17 in an effort to evaluate teacher performance in accordance with federal Teacher Incentive Fund requirements and the state’s new teacher performance evaluation program known as “Compass.”

Carey detailed how teachers would be scored on a four-point scale.  A teacher with a score below 1.5 is labeled Ineffective, 1.5 to 2.49 Effective: Emerging, 2.5 to 3.49 Effective: Proficient, and 3.5 or high earns a rating of Highly Effective. He said both principals have been working with the others’ teachers to establish a norm for the evaluation process.

Adriaan told board members that the school had been lifted from corrective action for its handling of special education program and will no longer be monitored monthly. Adriaan tried to assure the board that school would continue to follow all steps put in place by the plan.

The school’s second round of Achievement Network testing showed improvement Carey said. The Achievement Network is a non-profit organization that provides testing services. Many charter schools in New Orleans work with the group to test students throughout the year and monitor their progress up to end of year state-mandated LEAP and iLEAP tests.

The scores in grades three through six were particularly encouraging, Gangopadhyay said: “They are the highest we’ve ever had.”

School staff said are pleased with the school’s new food service provider, Revolution Foods, which prides itself in healthy food. Staff said the company has been very responsive to the school’s needs.

Member Lee Adler began discussion over whether to increase the number of years a member could consecutively serve. While some members argued turnover was healthy others argued for institutional knowledge especially as the charter will be up for renewal next year.  The board approved a motion to increase the consecutive term limit from three terms to four.  Members serve two-year terms.

Members Adler, Carey, Avery Corenswet, Ben Blanchard, Anderson Baker, Avione Pichon, Ryan Bates and Kathryn Broussard were present.

From the school Gangopadhyay, Adriaan and Director of Finance Daniel O’Connell were present.

The meeting began at 6:31 p.m. and adjourned at 8:18 p.m.

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