The Bricolage Academy Board met Oct. 10 to hear an update on finances and operations, get a brief presentation on the new Common Core standards and approve several governing documents.
The school, housed at Touro Synagogue, is nearly two months into its inaugural year. Enrollment is holding steady at 75 kindergartners, which is right in line with what the budget plans for.
“We’ve opened a school that is clearly on the right path,” School Leader Josh Densen told the Board.
The school also continues to pull in donations, with the financial numbers for August showing a $233,000 increase in outside contributions, thanks to a start-up grant from the Walton Family Foundation received over the summer. Another $35,000 in private contributions also have come in since the Walton grant, according to Director of Finance and Operations Ashley Beckner.
In other business, Densen said the Academy’s special education teacher resigned in the weeks following the school’s opening and that it was unlikely the school would fill the position with another full-time staff member. Densen characterized the departure as a mutual understanding.
He said the instruction may be performed by either a part-time employee or an outside agency in the future.
The school currently has one student in need of an Individualized Education Program, but Densen predicted that 10 to 15 percent of the inaugural class could need specialized instruction, with speech and hearing included in that number.
Densen said he wants to make sure that special-needs students are identified by the end of their first school year.
Densen also gave a brief rundown of the Common Core curriculum standards that are being brought online across the country this year. Despite controversy that has surrounded the new standards and the likelihood that they will make the achievement levels at many schools look lower, Densen said Bricolage is in a unique position because they don’t have to implement a new set of standards.
“Since inception, we’ve always used Common Core standards,” he said.
The board also approved a conflict-of-interest policy for its own members, and agreed on a framework for recruiting new members.
The new policy states that new members will not be allowed to sit on boards for other charter schools or organizations. Some of the existing board members sit on other boards, but those members will be able retain their existing seats under the policy. They cannot join any other charter school boards while members of the Bricolage board, however.
The policy also states that the only person officially authorized to speak to the press as a representative of the board is the chairperson. However, the chair can delegate the authority to speak to the press as needed, board members said.
The item on press interaction was included in a section governing board members’ dealings with outside interests. That section also states that board members must act in an ethical manner when dealing with outside interests, and bars them from exercising authority over the school in ways that are outside of official board oversight processes.