Directors of ReNEW Charter Schools met with Recovery School District officials, and also received a $50,000 donation at their monthly board meeting, Feb. 9.

The board passed a resolution to accept a conditional charitable donation of $50,000 over five years.  The donation comes from the estate of a teacher’s parent, and the money will be designated for grades three through five at SciTech Academy.

Adam Hawf, executive director of the RSD’s Office of School Performance spoke with the board.  He brought two of his staff, Amanda Hollman and Troave Profice,  both managers of school performance. Hollman will act as a liaison to ReNEW’s elementary schools, and Profice will work with the accelerated high schools.

Hawf and his team explained their role with the RSD, which includes conducting on-site school visits and evaluations. Hawf said his office aims to simplify the lives of charter school operators by giving them one contact person. That way communication with RSD can be consolidated in a weekly email, with feedback provided in writing.

Donald Herry spoke for the board’s finance committee, reporting that financials through Dec. 31 were as projected. Enrollment counts taken on Feb. 1, the basis for state reimbursement under the Minimum Foundation Plan, showed that in the aggregate the schools had 30 students more than had been budgeted for.

The network is applying to the federal Medicaid program for roughly $500,000 for nurses, occupational and physical therapy, and social work services through the end of the fiscal year, Herry said.

Colleen Mackay, director of human capital and development, and chief executive officer Kevin Gutierrez gave the network report.  Mackay said a redesign of the website should be completed by month’s end, with  school-specific features to be added this spring.  The network has asked all current staff to declare by Feb. 16 whether they intend to return. Recruitment is under way to replace departing staff.

Accompanied by two faculty and four students, Jean Pinney, ReNEW’s director of accelerated high schools, made a brief presentation to more fully acquaint board members with school activities and student experience in the accelerated schools.

It was announced that Batiste Cultural Arts Academy will hold a neighborhood meeting this month to familiarize the community with the school.

The board accepted January’s meeting minutes and went into a brief executive session, citing La. R.S. 42:17, regarding discussion about “litigation where an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the bargaining or litigating position of the public body”.

Members Carol Asher, Brian Weimer, Kathy Conklin, Mary Brown, Randy Roig, Amy Knower, Gregg Harris, Martin Feibelman and Donald Herry were present.  Several ReNEW staff were present as well as three RSD staff, two faculty, four students, and a reporter from the Lens.  The meeting began at 4:34 p.m. and ended at 6:32 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...