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Wilson charter to funnel all media requests through principal or board president

The principal at Andrew H. Wilson Charter School will be the designated spokesperson for all media requests involving the school or its staff under a new policy adopted by the school’s board.

The policy states that “without exception” all requests from media and local, state and federal agencies will be required to go through the principal or his designee. If the request is specific to the school board, then the request will be referred to the board president or designee.

“We had a situation where they had a staff member who was unaware they were being covered,” board president David Winkler-Schmit said during the meeting. “But I’m not sure this would have prevented that.”

David Winkler-Schmit, president of the Broadmoor Charter School Board that oversees Wilson, called it protocol. He said a staff member at the school was recently unaware they were being covered.

The board unanimously approved adopting the policy during its April 30 meeting.

Board members also approved designating former board members LaToya Cantrell, Sharon Aguillard and Derek Rabb as board emeritus members, which means they can’t vote, but they will be invited to all events.

Winkler-Schmit credited the three with enabling the school to reopen in the 2007-08 school year following Hurricane Katrina.

Winkler-Schmit then nominated Sister Juanita Chenevert as board vice president.

Chenvert currently serves as the head of the academic excellence committee at Wilson. She has over 50 years in education, including serving as the former principal of St. Stephen Catholic School for eight years. The nomination was accepted and passed unanimously.

Board members also approved a process by which people would be selected to serve on Broadmoor Charter School Board. Under the plan that was unanimously approved, an executive committee composed of board officers will accept nominations and interview candidates. The committee would then make recommendations to the full board for approval.

Stefanie Allweiss, a consultant who is assisting the school with governance matters, said the school’s employee handbook should be ready by June so that it can be used during faculty orientation. A committee is in the process of assembling a draft for full board approval, she said.

Board member and finance chair Kristyna Jones told the board that the school is on track to have a possible surplus of $300,000. It is required that schools have an operating reserve, which Wilson hasn’t had over the last few years. The surplus could be used for the reserve, she said.

Chenevert reported that Wilson has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Neighborhood Housing Services’ Center for Restorative Approaches to support programs that aim to lower suspensions in New Orleans schools by giving employees alternative methods for dealing with behavioral matters. Training starts in May and Wilson is working on bullying throughout the school.

Wilson hopes to add another Pre-K next year, bringing the number up to three classes. School leaders said they eventually would like to have three classes for each grade.

The development committee will hold a meeting May 13 to discuss fundraising. Consultant David Schlakman is expected to be present.

The final motion presented during the meeting required school officials to notifying the board when they apply for grants or any other funding. After much discussion, the board tabled the motion.

During his report,  Principal Logan Crowe reported that LEAP testing is over. He characterized the test as being much harder this year.

“Some kids shut down, some went through the motions,” he said. “It’s a hard test, sometimes there is a dip.”

The school received a $28,000 grant from the Recovery District, and $5,000 of that will go to the Wilson to Washington program, an effort to send students on a trip to Washington D.C. in April 2014.

The school has applied for a $750,000 school improvement grant to be used over three years.*

The meeting began at 6:36 p.m. and went into executive session at 7:35 p.m. until 8:01 p.m., saying they were going to discuss prospective litigation.

The meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m., with announcements of the next committee meetings. The next meeting of the board will be May 28.

Board Members present were Sharon Augillard, Juanita Chenevert, Eric Griggs,  Kristyn Jones, Nancy Marshall, Stephen Tremaine, David Winkler-Schmit and James Baker. Griggs and Marshall arrived late.

*Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Andrew H. Wilson Charter School was awarded a $750,000 grant. The school has applied for these funds, but officials have not yet learned whether they will receive the award. The story has been updated to reflect that change.

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