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Curriculum aligned with state tests to boost overall performance; budget approved

The board of New Orleans College Preparatory Academies met at 5:35 p.m. Sept. 7 to approve a yearly budget and review academic goals for the 2011-2012 school year.

Members present included Hal Brown, Chairman Kenneth Polite, Vice Chairman Murray Pitts, Secretary Rick Conway, Treasurer Ruth Kullman, Jim Raby and Monica Edwards. Peter Harding was absent.

NOCP Staff in attendance were Ben Kleban, founder and director; Kristen Lozada, chief operating officer, and Sarah Leffert, director of development.

The budget contains an additional $1.5 million in salaries from the previous year, including an estimated $400,000 in special-education salaries paid for by Investing in Innovation grants and the School Improvement Fund.

Expenditures for the upcoming year will be offset by over $3 million in added revenue from state and federal sources. The budget was approved unanimously.

NOCP Founder and Director Ben Kleban updated the Board on the state of the schools, and the organization’s yearly performance goals. Due to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s decision to raise the standards for an “acceptable” rating in school performance scores, NOCP will align 100% of its curriculum to state exams. The school’s 2010 score of 73.4, though an improvement on 2009’s score of 67.1, still falls sort of the minimum score required: 75.

In pursuit of this goal, classroom performance managers at the schools will provide mid-level oversight, evaluating teacher results based on measurable student achievement, and reporting the results to school principals. An additional $40,000 will go towards teacher training and instructional programs.

The Board unanimously approved its goals for the 2011-2012 school year.

The meeting ended within in hour with a report of above-average testing results in many subjects last year, including English (100% scoring very good or excellent), Algebra I (74%), and Geometry (70%) — all above state averages.

School Board President Hal Brown encouraged members to attend the upcoming State Charter Board Council debate.

Discussion of the annual financial audit is scheduled for the upcoming Oct. 5 board meeting.

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