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Four teachers lose jobs after school misses enrollment goals

Lower than expected enrollment numbers have led to reductions in staff at James M. Singleton Charter School for the 2012-2013 school year. According to Principal Debra Robertson, the October 1 student count is 648, well below the school’s enrollment goal of 740. The school had budgeted for a total enrollment of 725 students and, as a result, Robertson said four teachers were let go.

Board members expressed concern over the decreased numbers. Board CEO Douglas Evans said improving test scores are the key to boosting enrollment.

“We need to continue to provide a quality education to our students,” Evans said. “That quality will be reflected in increased school performance scores. With a quality product, we are guaranteed more students.”

The school’s 2012-2013 budget is currently being adjusted to accommodate the lower enrollment,  according to Evans.
Robertson said the loss of four teachers required students in first, second, sixth and seventh grades to join other classrooms.

“Despite the reduction in staff, the school still maintains an excellent teacher to student ratio, which averages about 20-to-1,” Robertson said.

Robertson said teachers have received baseline test results for K-8 students and progress monitoring has begun.

“Students have been placed in three categories based on test results and individual needs,” Robertson said. “Students needing intensive support will be tested for weekly for progress, students needing strategic support will be tested bi-weekly and students who have established themselves at or above grade-level will be tested every three weeks for improvement.”

James M. Singleton Charter School was awarded a portion of the Race to the Top grant, which was awarded to the state of Louisiana by the U.S. Department of Education. The grant enabled the school to hire an additional part-time teacher to provide intensive algebra instruction in grades 7 and 8, according to Robertson. Next week, teachers will begin preparing students for spring 2013 iLeap and LEAP testing.

Singleton also revamped its school-wide behavior plan. The Three Strikes Classroom Infraction Discipline Policy is now being enforced, according to Robertson. Parents, teachers and students are aware of the new policy, and the school hired disciplinarian James Crumpton to oversee the program.

“Students have signed paperwork acknowledging the change in the policy.  With the addition of the disciplinarian, students who break school rules can receive a TOR or time out room, in-school suspension or an out-of-school suspension depending on the severity of the behavior,” Robertson said.

The Dryades YMCA Early Childhood Education program was awarded a four star rating from the Quality Start child care rating system for the state of Louisiana. Program director Mossy Turner said 68 children between the ages of 3-5 years are registered in the program.

Robertson also announced the school has partnered with C2C, Connect to Compete, to provide discount internet service through Cox Communication. Students who qualify will be able to purchase internet for as low as $10 per month and will be able to purchase a refurbished computer for $150.

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