Pending approval by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the charter for Langston Hughes Academy will shift from NOLA 180 to FirstLine Schools, which has been assisting NOLA 180 in managing the school. The move, announced at the NOLA 180 board meeting on Nov. 29, takes effect June 30 and follows months of discussion among the board, faculty and parents.
Also reviewed at the monthly board meeting: Facilities upgrades have advanced to phase two of the improvement plan. They include the library, a literary and learning center and a new playground built by KaBoom!, a national non-profit that seeks to promote outdoor exercise at a time of epidemic childhood obesity.
Plans also call for expanding the “edible school yard” within the next two years. A landscape gardener is working pro bono to create a bigger garden. The vision for the gardens includes space for an orchard and an outdoor classroom.
Board member Kathleen Padian is challenging an $18,000 bill from the Recovery School District for flat-screen televisions on grounds that other schools have not had to pay for the same installations. The board was under the impression that the TV’s were part of construction costs.
NOLA 180 and FirstLine are in the process of creating a point person or a committee for parents to contact with issues that they have had trouble getting resolved. A parent in the audience said school zone signs need to be changed to reflect that students are in the area earlier and later than the signs indicate. Lights should also be installed, she said. The new committee may handle the concern.
Other meeting highlights included introduction of the school’s new chief financial officer, Shailendra Baghel, a certified public accountant. Baghel has a background in managing nonprofit organizations. Adrian Morgan, the school’s chief operating officer, informed the board that an audit is in process and should be completed by Dec. 31.