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New building for Lake Forest Elementary will allow expanded arts program

The board of Lake Forest Elementary Charter School gathered Jan. 16 for its monthly meeting, just hours after the board broke ground on the school’s future building on Lake Forest Boulevard.

Principal and CEO Mardele Early reported on the family creative-arts night held on Nov. 21. Students exhibited music, photography, and paintings they had created and performed theater and poetry accompanied by bongo drumming.

Early said one seventh-grade student exhibited fashions displayed on mannequins. “He made his cousin’s prom gown,” she said. Another presentation focused on the science behind color and music.

Early explained how creative arts tie into the Common Core standards being implemented around the country. The key, she said, was students learning to “transfer that learning across subject matters,” using multiple skills and developing higher-order thinking.

Early said the school’s new campus would provide added space and allow for an expansion of staff. “Finally, we’ll have room — and people, finally — where we can have a drama teacher.” She said she would also like to have instructors for writing and vocal music.

Early gave the board a brief update on progress implementing Common Core. She said that some teachers were complaining that this year was only a partial phase-in of the program. They want to switch fully to the new curriculum, allowing  more time to study the changes before a school’s performance score is at stake, she said.

Early argued that the state must provide funds for technology if it is going to require test taking on computers. While some very young students are proficient with computers, many are not, Early said.

Bernell St. Cyr, director of finance and facilities, told the board that the school would like to move approximately $170,000 to Gulf Coast Bank. Approximately $26,000 in the student activities account and $145,000 in the school’s general operating funds would be moved from JP Morgan Chase.

St. Cyr said the reason for the move is the organization’s desire to support a local business that has demonstrated community mindedness. The board unanimously approved a motion to transfer the accounts.

Board president Lee Caston was present as were members Gina Dupart, Denise Williams, Windi Brown, and Brian K. Richburg Sr. The meeting, which began at 1:37 p.m., ended at 2:48 p.m.

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