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Playground, lunch terrace and safety plans dominate board's agenda

Work hard, play hard.

At its monthly meeting on Jan. 28, the Advocates for Arts Based Education Corp., the board governing Lusher Charter School, discussed the new playground and the upcoming lunch terrace at the Willow Street campus as well as a new safety plan.

“Thanks to the Friends of Lusher … we have a beautiful playground,” Elementary School Principal Shelia Nelson said. “The children are very excited about it, of course.”

She said the playground will officially open Monday with a ribbon cutting involving about 50 children, followed by ribbon cuttings at each recess period.

Patty Glaser, the assistant head of school, said plans are still evolving for the lunch terrace at the Willow Street campus. “We have a really beautiful sketch right now that a landscape architect did for us,” Glaser said. “We have two choices, and we’re leaning toward one because it has a lot more open space.”

Glaser said they hope to start construction soon and complete it by summer, though they are still working on the costs.

The school is also embarking on a new safety plan for the Freret Street campus.

“We’re taking a good look and getting some training on safety issues,” said the school’s chief executive officer Kathy Riedlinger. “[We’re] looking at how we can really secure this campus. It’s a huge campus, and [we’re creating] steps that we can take to make the campus safer … just in general how to protect our property and our students.”

She said the New Orleans Police Department is going to conduct some campus walkthroughs to find vulnerabilities and how to fix them. One challenge is finding ways to secure the school without making it difficult to exit. “It’s a touchy situations because you need to be able to get the kids out on a moment’s notice, in case of fire,” Riedlinger said.

In other business, the flow of applications to both Lusher campuses was heavy, Riedlinger said: 850 for Willow Street and approximately 560 for Freret Street.

“I wish we could take every one of them,” she said.

The meeting, held in room 207 of the Freret Street campus, began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:39 a.m. Board president Blaine LeCesne was absent due to illness.


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