The Choice Foundation board is still upset about the recent decision by the state school board to give the Paul Dunbar Elementary School campus in Hollygrove to KIPP New Orleans Schools.*
Executive Director Mickey Landry said at the board’s Feb. 26 meeting that the selection was unfair because Choice was given verbal assurance that it was selected to take over the Dunbar campus, and then the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded it to KIPP.
“We still think we were the best choice for the community,” Landry said.
Landry said he has contacted BESE representatives about the issue but has not heard back.
In other news, the board’s three schools are focusing on three different types of testing resources: AIMSweb, designed for special education students; DIBELS, a K-3 reading assessment; and Achieve3000, an assessment to get second- through eighth-graders college and career ready.
The board runs Esperanza Charter School, Lafayette Academy Charter School and McDonogh No. 42 Charter School.
The schools are all having some difficulty helping their special-ed students meet state standards. Some students not only require special academic help, but also other resources, and state funding doesn’t always cover all of these extra services, said special-education director Gail Naquin.
Nevertheless, students are showing progress because teachers give each student a specialized plan geared towards their needs. With AIMSweb, they are testing the students using short personalized assessments to see how they are progressing within their own personalized plan.
“Kids are really comprehending what they are reading,” Naquin said. “We are seeing a lot of improvement with this testing.”
Naquin also added that with this system, the teachers are sending progress reports home to the parents at the end of every week.
All three schools have shown significant growth since the fall in the DIBELS and Achieve3000. Each principal gave a testing-progress report, pointing out where they are making progress, areas of concern, as well as areas they plan to address and what they plan to do to improve.
Choice has also started talking with FirstLine Schools about possibly creating a cooperative program to deal with challenging children, but nothing has been set yet.*
Former board member Janet Bean was recognized for her work at the meeting. Bean was one of the first members of the board and was very involved over the years.
The meeting started at 4:10 and adjourned at 5:55. The next meeting is scheduled for March 26.
*Correction: This story inaccurately stated that Dunbar was handed over to the KIPP Foundation, but the correct name is KIPP New Orleans Schools. It also misstated the name of FirstLine Schools. (March 11, 2013)