Just under 40 members of the George Washington Carver High School community attended Collegiate Academies of New Orleans’ March board meeting. They were generally opposed to the proposed phase-out of Carver, a failing school run directly by the Recovery School District, and its replacement with two charter high schools to be run by Collegiate.
The Recovery School District has approved the Carver site for expansion of Collegiate’s educational program in the next few years. The two as yet unnamed high schools will be modeled on the highly successful Sci Academy, which is also run by Collegiate but which will remain in eastern New Orleans. Collegiate believes in keeping high schools small,which is why two have been proposed in the large Carver facility.
“Let’s go to the RSD together,” Carver community member Betty Washington said, “say we’re not going into a community that doesn’t want us. We’ll stand with you.”
Susan Norwood, the chairman of the Collegiate Academies’ board, said she was “sympathetic” with the Carver community’s hesitation to embrace the plan but believes the change is needed. “I’m very determined that the children in the Carver community be put in excellent programs,” she said, adding that she believes a fresh start is needed at Carver. “There is no time to fix the flawed system in place,” she said.
Alvin Jones, a 1964 graduate of Carver High School agreed that educating children was important, but stressed the need for residents to have a say.
“You’re advancing children. That’s what we do, too,” he said. “Our community wants to have a voice in any institution that educates our children in our community.”
Collegiate has offered to seat members of the Carver community on its board.
In other business, the board also discussed the college acceptance rate as Sci Academy’s first senior class prepares to graduate. As of March, 91 percent of Sci Academy seniors have been accepted by four-year colleges.
Twelve board members were present for the board meeting, counting Sci Academy school leader Ben Marcovitz who participated by phone. Collegiate Academies’ board meets on the third Wednesday of every month in the Sci Academy library.