The board that governs International School of Louisiana discussed portable classrooms, technology needs and student achievement at its most recent meeting.
Head of School Sean Wilson told the board on May 22 that the Camp Street campus is close to resolving its space issues thanks to the now-completed lease agreement for modular classrooms. Wilson confirmed the installation will not exceed $197,000, potentially being less depending on individual suppliers.
This past week, Wilson met with the Coliseum Square Association president Jim McAlister to address the neighborhood concerns about the appearance of the modulars and their impact on the historic area.
Instead of working through the Wilson, the board created a committee to facilitate communication regarding the modular classrooms. Board member John Wettermark will chair the committee, which will seek input and participation from staff, parents and members of the neighborhood in effort to address the concerns of all those involved.
Wilson congratulated the administration on the students’ above average LEAP scores which compose the foundation of the school performance scores that will be released in the fall. Last year, ISL’s score was 118.5.
On Camp Street this year, 92 percent of the students achieved basic or above in English while 93.7 percent of students passed the math exam — an increase of 1.5 percentage points in each subject from last year.
This year, the ISL Jefferson Bunche campus administration plans to take a close look at how students who transferred in from other public schools did on the LEAP year-over-year as 77.7 percent of the students passed English and 65.2 percent in math.
Even though this campus will not be given a performance score for the next three years because it is a new school, Wilson said the tests are useful in helping to identify both strengths and weaknesses.
“We need to use what we do best to see what we need to do better,” he said.
David Powell, director of information technology, told the board that each campus will have to invest in at least 100 laptops to satisfy basic testing requirements under changing statewide requirements for online testing. He said such a purchase could run ISL about $150,000 to $200,000.
That is just one of the expenses that leaders said the school board could face as it prepares for a major transition in academic standards. That’s because Louisiana is among a coalition of states called PARCC for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers that are developing online standardized tests to measure student proficiency in the new Common Core Standards.
Powell said that the schools will eventually need costly increases in their external and internal bandwidth and proposed partnering with other schools and turning to E-Rate, a federal discount on technology services for schools, to trim costs.
Later, board president Andrew Yon prefaced the nomination of board officers, saying the board had already discussed the nominations at their board retreat which was open to the public. Yon emphasized this board’s collective nature, stressing that decisions made by consensus were the strongest way to display unanimous support.
With that, current vice president Mike Lappa nominated Matt Amoss for president, seconded by Dominique Wilson. Wilson then nominated Lappa for re-election, seconded by Amoss.
Barbara Griffin nominated Dwayne Drucker for Treasurer, seconded by Amoss and finally Wilson nominated Griffin for re-election as Secretary, seconded by Amoss.
Nearing the close of the meeting, Yon announced that the entire board would be appointed to do the annual Head of School assessment; Lappa initiated the motion and Wettermark seconded, and this appointment passed with all in favor.
The meeting started at 6:05 p.m. and adjourned at 8:32 p.m. after an hour long executive session in which the board discussed personnel matters — board member David Napoleon was absent.
The next meeting will take place at 6:00 on Wednesday June 26 and a public budget hearing will take place on June 6 at 5:30 on Camp Street.