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NET High students improve on state grad exam, Ostberg says

NET Charter High School students performed better on Louisiana’s required graduation exam this fall compared with last year.

School director Elizabeth Ostberg presented the scores to the Educators for Quality Alternatives board during their Dec. 11 meeting.

Twenty-seven sophomores and juniors took the state-mandated test in October, though Ostberg said, “all of these students should have been re-testing, however many students, despite having been in high school at least three years, were testing for the first time.”

There are various reasons students would be behind in taking the exam, Ostberg said, including students moving frequently between schools, dropping out and re-entering school, or missing the test altogether.

NET students proved strongest in English with 54 percent passing, while science results fell from last year with a passing rate of just 29 percent. Scores in math and social studies also improved, with passing results of 31 percent and 43 percent respectively.

“Overall I’m pretty happy with the results,” Ostberg said. “We did better than last year which is good, except in science.” When asked about subject focus in the classroom, Ostberg explained that the most instruction time is given to reading and writing versus math or science.

Board president Kristina Kent announced the resignation of board member Gretchen Bohlke, and Michelle Brown was enthusiastically approved as the board’s newest member.

A graduate of Stanford University, Brown previously taught alongside Ostberg, NET’s director, at New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School.

Board member Melissa Lessell asked Brown if her relationship with Ostberg would hinder a fair evaluation of the director. Brown noted that if anything, her background as an educator would play a larger role in her thought process.

Kent made a motion, which was approved, to have The Hartford Company administer NET’s 403b staff retirement plan. NET contributes six percent into the fund, with no monetary contribution required from staff.
Kent made a second motion, which was also passed, to approve the newly defined Process for Parental Appeals, Concerns and Complaints.

The four-step process has concerned students or parents first discussing the issue with the teacher, staff or advisor most directly involved. Second, the assistant dean of students or dean is brought in. The third step brings the problem to Ostberg. If an issue is not resolved, the fourth and final level is the board of directors. Three board members, president Kent, vice president Gregory Rattler, and secretary Gary Howarth make up the committee to hear parental grievances.

Fundraising committee member Melissa Lessell spoke to the progress of a basketball tournament that NET will hold in April. The board discussed possible sponsors, gymnasium locations, and number of teams invited to the tournament, which NET plans to make an annual fundraising event.

Other board members present were, Gregory Rattler, Will Kulick, and Christopher Kaul. The meeting began at 6:06 p.m. and concluded at 7:52 p.m. The next scheduled board meeting is Jan. 29 at 6 p.m.

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