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New laptops and Gagglenet software will speed teacher/student communications

The New Orleans Maritime and Military Academy board met at 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 26 to discuss the ongoing battle to rein in operating costs and improve student performance.

Cecilia Garcia, the principal; Maj. Gen. Walt Paulson; Courtney Bagneris; Col. Terry Ebbert,  president; James Reiss, and Col. William Davis, commandant, were present. Capt. Keith Amacker, Capt. Dave Whiddon, Maj. Blake LeMaire and Eades Hogue were absent. A reporter for The Lens was the only member of the audience.

The school recently received  reimbursement for expenditures under a state public charter school grant of $139,000, but several weeks later than originally expected due to a job turnover in the Baton Rouge office, the board was told.

According to Commandant Davis, the money was used largely for salaries and to purchase 110 new laptops. The laptops are being loaded with Gagglenet software that will allow students to upload homework directly to teachers and send emails on a secured system that is scanned for cyber-bullying. Davis and school principal Garcia will demonstrate the new software at the next board meeting.

Davis also gave an update on supplies donated to NOMMA. The Libby Dufour Fund awarded the school $40,000 last month for lab equipment. NOMMA has also received $1.4 million from the Marine Corps, to sustain the four-grade school into the future.  The Marine Corps also donated targets for marksmanship classes. Used instruments and some science kits were obtained from the Recovery School District’s  salvage warehouse.

The school hopes for additional funding from the Eastbank Charter Foundation and the Selly Foundation to help cover operating costs.

Garcia reported that Davis and NOMMA students have been present at many local recruitment fairs to boost attendance for next year. She noted that a recently implemented no-cell-phones policy has greatly improved classroom interaction.

The year’s first dance was held recently and was open to all students with records of good behavior. Students who excel academically were honored at a promotional ceremony.

NOMMA currently has 98 students and an attendance rate of 98 percent.

For a look at promotional material containing the school’s calendar, click here.

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