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Intercultural’s final board meeting caps school ‘celebration’ as Einstein Charter moves in

Intercultural Charter School leaders doled out praise for one another during the school’s final board meeting last week.

The F school is being taken over by Einstein Charter School after the state declined to renew its charter due to poor student performance.

The board met May 24 following an event to commemorate the school’s closure.

“This is the year when things start[ed] going smoothly, and we just don’t have the opportunity to continue,” said chair Cam-Thanh Tran.

Members lauded new principal Pamela Randall, saying she improved school climate in its final year.

In response to questions after the meeting, secretary Kathleen Carlin said that the school had suffered from severe leadership problems in previous years that led to a divisive atmosphere and numerous staff resignations.

She said that Randall had reorganized the school and affected change from day one.

Members also credited chief financial officer Tom Slager, saying he got the school’s finances in hand after 18 months with the organization. Slager estimated that the school will close its books with $216,000 in reserve funds to cover any unanticipated expenses.

That is no small feat considering the school ran a deficit of more than $300,000 in 2011 — a situation school leaders blamed on its former for-profit operator, EdisonLearning.

“You know where we were,” said chair Tran. “For us to be in the black now is a miracle.”

Randall and assistant principal Kesha Rayfield gave the board a final breakdown on the most recent LEAP scores measuring student mastery of English, math, science and social studies.

Less than 50 percent of students scored at basic or above in every subject and grade except third- and fourth-grade math and English, fourth- and seventh-grade social studies and sixth- and eighth-grade English and social studies.

Randall said that many students had come to the school several grade levels behind, so that even if the school brought them up several grade levels, they could still score unsatisfactory on the standardized tests. She said that most of the school’s best achievers had transferred to other schools.

Vice chair Alvaro Alcazar praised the school’s staff for teaching students to interact with other cultures, and to resolve conflict without violence. He said he was moved by how tight the employees were.

“A few of them came up to me and said, ‘This school changed my life.’”

“Today was a celebration,” Alcazar said.  “I know one door was closed, but another one will open.”

Also present were members Ed Blouin, Tap Bui, treasurer Francis Cascio, and secretary Kathleen E. Carlin.

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  • nickelndime

    The Intercultural Charter School board is patting itself on the back – why, I am not sure, but it was no miracle when this charter school opened 5 years ago when Einstein Charter School (which will now expand to the RSD/ICS campus for 2013) was already operating in 2006 in the eastern part of New Orleans. Seems like Paul Pastorek had an axe to grind (against Einstein and for the “Intercultural” group), before he was “axed” to resign 5 years later. And, I wouldn’t exactly call Paul Pastorek a miracle either, which is how ICS explained its opening 5 years ago (given the fact that its application was “failed” by NASCA the year before (2007) ). ICS’s demise was predictable – IOW, it never should have opened in the first place. So, ICS got 5 years of public money – what else is new in this sad state/State of affairs! So I guess the statement, “You know where we were,” said chair Tran. “For us to be in the black now is a miracle,” isn’t exactly correct either.