Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School’s board of directors welcomed Adam Hawf from the Recovery School District to their monthly meeting, Jan. 23.

Hawf answered questions about the Office of School Performance, which he has been leading  as executive director since November.

Hawf made brief remarks, then fielded questions – and asked some. Hawf promised his staff would be accessible to the school’s staff.  Combined with in-school visits, the data his office produces play a large role in the charter renewal and extension processes.

Mays Prep received a failing school performance score of 51.3 last year and must score 75 this year or risk losing its charter, under rules that apply to all schools.

Member Sidney Barthelemy asked if special consideration is given to schools that take in students from other schools.  Hawf said no but recommended that the school disaggregate testing data when applying for renewal or extension.

Hawf said he wants to see schools “make as much academic growth as possible while serving all students.”

He said he was mindful that a focus solely on school performance scores likely has been a disservice to students in special education.  He said he would rather see a performance score a few points shy if it means the school is better serving all students.

Hawf sat in on the remainder of the meeting and said he was impressed with the school’s cash reserves as reported by finance director Brent Washington.

Barthelemy relayed information he received from RSD at the School Operator Turn-Over Meeting on Jan 19.  RSD provided a timeline of turnover and estimated operating costs.  The board will work with Washington to fine tune the school’s operating costs for next year.

Mays’ new building, Frantz Elementary, is slated to be ready next fall and the school will move into the building in January 2013.  Mays Prep will meet with RSD in March regarding Frantz Elementary.

Principal Shanda Gentry said Mays Prep has been approved as a Pre-K site for the next school year.  Students finished a third cycle of testing in December, and the number of students scoring at or above their benchmark remained the same across all grades when compared with scores from October.

The governance committee is still formalizing the nomination and review process for new board members. The board is currently looking to add two members. Board member John Williams said the school’s website has been updated and the development committee would like to hold development training for the board in March.

The board did not have a quorum and therefore no actions were taken at the meeting.  In addition to Williams and Barthelemy, board members Todd James and Jenny Hunter were present. Members Raashand Hamilton, Kristen Ponthier, Damon Burns, and Jasmine Haralson were absent. The meeting began at 5:45 p.m. and ended at 7:58 p.m.

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...