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Enrollment jumps and wait-list grows; MacFetters credits 'One App' and hard work

Akili Academy is at full capacity with a waiting list of students seeking admission to the school, board members learned at their monthly meeting, April 30.

Akili principal Julie MacFetters credited the Recovery School District’s newly centralized “One App” process with providing the quick feedback on projected enrollment. The school averages about 60 students per grade, a jump of 17-20 students.

“This is phenomenal when you think about where we were last year. (One App) may be one of the best things that has happened,” board chairman Gary Bono said.

MacFetters noted that getting  enrollment numbers earlier than in previous years lets her focus on home visits, staff training and other responsibilities.

She also credited the boost in enrollment to hard work by Akili board members and administrators. By attending enrollment events, hosting open houses and investing in advertising, Akili has heightened its visibility in the community.

MacFetters expressed optimism about the recently completed round of LEAP and iLEAP standardized testing. “Everyone worked really hard,” she said, and “everything went smoothly.”

State monitors present in testing classrooms gave complimentary feedback to the staff, MacFetters said, adding that teachers were “positive and jazzed throughout the stressful process.”

Bono began a briefing on finances by saying the 2012/2013 school budget will be finalized at the July meeting.

He said a key fiscal goal is to continue to lower its cost per student.

Bono noted that with the addition of two new programs this year – Playworks and tutoring provided by New Orleans Outreach – the cost per student did not decline as much as had been hoped. But that’s to be expected when new programming is added, Bono said.

“The bottom line is that we are in very good shape fiscally. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last two years due to a lot of hard work,” Bono said.

The governance committee briefed the board on a potential partnership with Columbia Parc as a future location for the school.

While a permanent move is at least two years away, contractual issues are beginning to rise, and the board agreed to start taking a hard look at what needs to be done.

Board member John Hummel said the proximity of student residences to a future site should be borne in mind. “Parental involvement is a key to success. If they live nearby, we’ll get it, but we won’t if students live 20 miles away,” Hummel said.

The board congratulated the five members who are transitioning to the Crescent City Schools board as of July when Akili joins the charter management network. Gary Bono, Ronald Evans, and Jeff Teague have decided not to take part in the school’s leadership transition.

Present for the meeting were board members were Bono, Evans, Hummel, Mary Lee Murphy, Coleman Ridley, Bob Stefani and Tim Bryant.

The meeting started at 6:35 p.m. and lasted about an hour.

Akili’s next board meeting is scheduled for May 28 and its last monthly meeting will be in June.


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