Encore Academy, one of the first charter schools approved by the Orleans Parish School Board since the board chartered the bulk of its schools following Hurricane Katrina, is ready for the 2012-2013 school year, board members announced Tuesday at their monthly meeting.
The type-one charter school, which shares an Uptown campus with the new state-of-the-art Crocker Arts and Technology School, opens for classes on August 13. With a focus on music and arts, Encore will serve students in pre-kindergarten through third grade as well as fifth grade, with additional grades to be added each year until the school extends from pre-K through eighth grade.
Administrators said the third grade is a recent addition in response to demand. Enrollment – currently at 119 – continues to build. In total, 184 applications have been received.
Construction is wrapping up at Crocker, and Recovery School District officials said that, barring any unforeseen problems, the school will be ready for the first day of class.
Encore facilities include a black-box theater, a media center, and a full gymnasium.
In addition to its focus on music, Encore stresses individualized instruction in math and literacy.
“Over the course of the next few months teachers will be conducting initial student assessments which will determine the areas of greatest need,” Encore founder and school leader Terri Smith said. “After this process teachers will conduct one-on-one tutoring, small group instruction, or computer-aided instruction based on each child’s need.”
Smith said student progress will be closely monitored and adjustments made as needed.
Along with instruction in vocal and instrumental music, the academy will provide opportunities for students to participate in dance and fitness as well as French language studies. The school will use a modified version of the Suzuki method of early childhood music education, embracing Suzuki’s view that actively involved family members are crucial to student success.
Encore Academy is the recipient of a prestigious $250,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation, a first for a school operated by the Orleans Parish School Board. Encore also has been awarded a Music and the Brain Grant, which will provide dozens of keyboards, teacher training, and materials.
An open house for incoming students and their families will be held August 9 at location yet to be determined.
Note: This story has been corrected to clarify the beginning paragraph. Click here for the earlier version, which ran on July 31.