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Enrollment and finances holding strong; new calendar moves up start and closing by a week

With the Orleans Parish School Board set to visit ENCORE Academy and review test scores, the school’s directors devoted their monthly meeting to discussion of insurance, enrollment and calendar changes for the coming year, among other issues.

Former board member Joseph Neary accompanied representatives of the Holmes Murphy brokerage in providing a brief video presentation on insurance options. Holmes Murphy rep Aaron Schwen detailed a plan he has created for charter school liability and employee benefits.

Faced by expiration of the current insurance policy, Board members expressed interest in Schwen’s approach but asked for references and a detailed timeline.

In other business, the board unanimously approved two resolutions. One allows ENCORE Academy to switch its business from Whitney Bank to the Regions Bank, at 1820 St. Charles Ave. The second resolution permits application for a $200,000 line of credit from Regions.

“We receive federal and state money, and those payment schedules are different. This loan would be a consistent sum to have, rather than waiting for checks,” treasurer Herbert Patterson said.

Summarizing the most recent Finance Committee meeting, Patterson said the school’s current balance is $117,845 with a food service budget of $50,900.

An annual review by the Orleans Parish School Board is imminent. On May 17, test scores will be released, and OPSB representatives will be on-hand to visit classrooms and review student data. Patterson and board member Kesana Durand said they’d like to meet with OPSB members at that time.

As the school’s inaugural year ends, ENCORE’s daily attendance has been averaging 93 percent, just two points shy of the school’s goal.

Enrollment stands at 200 students, of whom 188 plan to return, seven are switching to other schools in the system, and five are moving from the area. ENCORE’s budget for next year calls for an enrollment of 315.

All current faculty also plan to return next year, except French teacher Leah Bychurch who will spend the year in France.

Board president Linda Launey detailed ENCORE’s strides toward establishing a school culture that reflects the community of students they serve — from selecting James Booker’s “Make A Better World” as the school song to naming its high-flying dragon mascot ”Flambeaux.”

Those creative choices by students and faculty are complemented by the school’s partnership with Sun Center, a program that pairs teachers with artists-in-residence, providing arts education linked to other areas of the curriculum.

So far six teachers, from kindergarten through second grade, are engaged in the program. Artists-in-residence will participate in professional development with the entire faculty, and the six teachers are expected to spread the arts-focused approach to other classrooms.

The board approved the school calendar for 2013-2014, including retest and remediation dates as well as dates for a proposed summer program.

The school year will begin and end a week earlier than 2012-13.The Mardi Gras schedule also has been changed. School will shut down for Carnival for five days, from Thursday, February 27 through Wednesday, March 5.

The teacher calendar also has been condensed, from 200 days to 190, to accommodate professional development.

The meeting, called to order at 6:36 p.m. Tuesday at Crocker Elementary, was attended by Frances Montegut, in addition to Launey, Patterson and Durand.

The board will meet on June 4 to review student performance data. The last day of the school year for students is May 31; for teachers it’s June 3.

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  • nickelndime

    Yeah, that’s what ENCORE needs – a $200,000 line of credit! And while I am at it, the OPSB allowed this charter school to open without a 4th grade (Hello!!! – let’s just skip 4th grade, LEAP high-stakes testing this year – we wouldn’t want it to muddy up the school’s – or the OPSB’s – academic performance profile). Another masterful idea by Deputy Charter Superintendent Padian and the OPSB. LOL! I am still rolling on the floor.

  • nickelndime

    If ENCORE’s current balance is “…$117,845 with a food service budget of $50,900,” it will need more than a $200,000 loan. Maybe it can get an advance from the OPSB. That’s a joke, son!