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Crescent Leadership Academy board meets by phone but lacks quorum

Students from the new Crescent Leadership Academy may not have won the school’s first-ever basketball game, but that doesn’t mean the school’s leader isn’t calling it a win.

Tracy Joseph, education director for the first-year alternative school, told members of the school’s governing board Wednesday that the students showed great sportsmanship during their first basketball game two weeks ago.

Managed by Rite of Passage, Crescent Leadership Academy is an alternative school serving students in grades 7-12 and is overseen by the Recovery School District.

Last week’s meeting took place by telephone. And though it was the board’s second planned meeting of 2013, there were not enough members present on the call for it to constitute a quorum. No votes were taken.

Joseph told board members that while the team’s entry into basketball was exciting, a bigger achievement came elsewhere.

Last week, students at the alternative school had a record high attendance with 135 out of 168 students present. That is an accomplishment for a school whose primary goal is student attendance, Joseph said.

Members present during the conference call included federal judge Helen Berrigan, special agent for the Department of Justice Marlin Ford, and school education director Tracy Joseph. Tammy Lancaster was present on behalf of Chief Financial Officer CJ Bower. Board president Anthony Dotty, Steve Hartman and Chauncey Nash were not in attendance.

*The next couple of months will be busy for the school, Joseph said. The school will be hosting a teacher recruiting job fair Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. According to the school’s website, the school is looking for teachers certified in teaching Language Arts, science, math, social studies, special education, health and physical education and culinary arts at grades 7-12.

Crescent Leadership Academy recently welcomed a new social studies teacher, guidance counselor and special education coordinator to the staff, but there are still other positions that need to be filled.

Students and teachers are gearing up for LEAP testing, which will begin on March 19. The Recovery School District’s office of performance review will visit Crescent Leadership Academy on March 21. New Schools for New Orleans, a non-profit organization involved in supporting the local charter movement, will also visit Crescent Leadership Academy on March 7 for its second spring review.

In other school-related news shared during the meeting:

  • The school will be launching a new program called Speech by Design to help speech-impaired students.
  • It was recently awarded a $14,000 grant for a technical education program, hopes hope to start a culinary arts program.
  • A behavior mentor will be traveling to Pennsylvania in March to become certified in crisis management training and will return to train other staff members.

Nominations for new board members were also on the agenda, and Berrigan suggested New Orleans attorney Maurice Ruffin and former US attorney Jim Letten as candidates.

Crescent Leadership Academy will be participating in a visit to Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, which Berrigan has coordinated in the past. Students who are at risk are given an inside look at the prison and have lunch with inmates. Berrigan said it is not a scare tactic, but rather a chance for students to see what prison life is like.

The meeting started at 4:33 p.m. and adjourned at 5:30 p.m. There were no audience members present. Crescent Leadership Academy is the only school governed by this school board. The next board meeting will take place on March 12 at 4:30 p.m. at Crescent Leadership Academy, 4300 Almonaster Ave.

*Correction: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect end time for the teacher recruiting job fair on Feb. 23. It will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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