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Collegiate Academies touts benefits to Baton Rouge audience

Members of Collegiate Academies’ board of directors and Collegiate parents and students met recently with members of the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone Advisory Board, a group established by the Recovery School District, to discuss the possibility of opening a Collegiate Academies school in the area.

Charter organization CEO Ben Marcovitz said parents and students told Baton Rouge community members about their experiences with the organization.

Collegiate Academies formed a Growth Committee last year to focus on its growth into new areas, in and out of Louisiana. Baton Rouge has been noted as a potential new market for the  organization’s school model.

In August, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved Collegiate to take over as many as seven Recovery School District schools in Louisiana. Collegiate Academies runs three schools in New Orleans now.

Financially, the Collegiate stands at a year-to-date rough loss of $500,000. Treasurer Doug Finegan told a meeting of the Collegiate board Wednesday night the loss represents costs incurred during the start-up of the school year and state funding based on last year’s lower enrollment numbers. Finegan said that loss should be reconciled in November when the state updates its enrollment numbers for the organization.

Several members of the community attended the meeting to question the board about the lack of funding for Carver Collegiate Prep’s football gear and busing for the team. Rev. Willie Calhoun Jr. said the lack of chinstraps and mouthpieces are a safety issue for players. Chief Operating Officer Riley Kennedy said the issue had not been brought to her by the coaches, but she assured community members it would be taken care of immediately.

Several community members questioned the lack of racial diversity in Collegiate Academies’ staff and board and complained that not enough local people are in those ranks.

“There’s a lot of personal energy here,” said Derek Roguski of the New Teachers’ Roundtable, a group focused on analyzing the role of organizations like Teach for America, whose staff is prevalent in Collegiate Academies’ schools. But he asked, “Is there a program to facilitate cross-cultural communication? It would be a start.”

 

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