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Fannie C. Wiliams seeks local expansion; enrollment applications pace last year’s

Community Leaders Advocating Student Success (C.L.A.S.S.), the board of directors overseeing Fannie C. Williams Charter School, has filed an application with the state board of education to add a second pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade charter school to its portfolio, starting with the 2015-2016 school year.

The application was received and over the summer school leaders will hear more details about its options, principal Kelly Batiste told the board.

She said the application specified that the new school be in the New Orleans area; other local charter groups have expanded to Baton Rouge and even Shreveport recently. Whether the expansion would involve starting a new school or taking over a failing one would be up to the state.

The school’s leadership recently participated in New Schools for New Orleans program called Replicating Quality Schools, which aims at reproducing high-performing local charter schools.

Batiste said the first round of OneApp applications shows 96 new students seeking to enroll at Fannie C. Williams for the upcoming school year, putting the school on par with last year’s higher than expected enrollment. The school’s current enrollment stands at 583 students, 17 shy of what Batiste sees as the maximum capacity.

Batiste said the school has followed a curriculum based on Common Core-style standards this year to ease next year’s anticipated transition. Following Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent statement that he will pull the state from the consortium of schools participating in the Partnership of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) testing, Batiste said the school is “hanging on to see what’s next.” Jindal, a former fan of Common Core, has flip-flopped recently.

With all members present, the board discussed cancelling their next meeting, scheduled for June 17, and meeting next on Aug. 19. That decision is pending and will be announced when and if the schedule is officially confirmed.

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