The Lake Forest Elementary Charter School’s board of directors met on March 13 to discuss the school’s culture. Principal Mardele Early stressed the school’s focus on community service as well as rigorous academics. She described some of the charity and community development functions the school hosted recently.

“None of us know when any of the people in the room might need those services,” she said.

School social worker Daisy Cummings won the School Social Worker of the Year Award from the National Association of Social Workers, Early announced.  Through April 10, Cummings will lead workshops on the theme “Promoting a Positive Mindset for State Assessments”. The sessions will stress good mental, nutritional habits, as well as breathing exercises to avoid stress and improve test results.

On March 9, the Eagles with Etiquette Club sponsored a Send One Suit day.  Donations of gently used women’s clothing were given to Dress for Success, a local non-profit.  The school also organized the donation of 652 pounds of food to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The school is also participating in Autism Awareness Month for April, and is collecting donations for the Autism Society of Greater New Orleans.

Students attended the fifth annual Youth and Young Adult Summit of Tobacco, escorted by Cummings.  The Eagles with Etiquette, Ladies of Distinction, and Girl Scout Troup 993 represented the school.

The board returned to last month’s discussion of Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposed changes to Louisiana’s education system. Finance administrator Bernell St. Cyr warned board members that the plan would raise the amount the school contributes to teacher retirement plans from 23.7 percent to 24.5 percent of salaries.

“Wasn’t it around 16% when we started?” member Donald Pate asked. St. Cyr confirmed that it was.

Early said that, while per-student state funding under the Minimum Foundation Program has risen over the years, it has not kept up with cost increases.  “It’s a moving target,” Early said.  She described a meeting she attended in Baton Rouge at which none of professional educators in attendance understood how the amounts of MFP funding are derived.

The meeting was attended by members Windi Brown, Denise Williams, Gina Dupart, Leila Eames, and Brian Richburg, as well as Pate. Board president Lee Caston was absent.