A long-anticipated wellness center and natatorium in the works next door to James Singleton Charter School is nearing completion.

The school’s board of directors, which also oversees the Dryades YMCA that operates the charter school, received a status report on construction of the wellness center and indoor pool at its monthly board meeting Jan. 22.

According to the project manager, the new wellness center should be granted substantial completion by the end of the month, at which time the YMCA can plan for the center’s grand opening. Students will have access to both, the school’s director of administration Rhenette Tobias said.

Also at the board’s monthly meeting, Singleton Principal Debra Robertson updated board members on the school’s ongoing efforts to improve its current F grade as labeled by the state Department of Education. The school’s school performance score of 73.6 is a slight gain over last year, but tougher standards implemented this year classify any school scoring below 75 as academically unacceptable.

Robertson said staff members have been preparing students for the state-issued LEAP and iLEAP tests to be administered in the spring. All students in testing grades, which includes third- through eighth-graders, have been offered after-school tutoring.

Thanks in part to the help of The Children’s Defense Fund, Robertson told board members, Loyola University students will be providing tutoring to Singleton students who need a little extra help.

Robertson said Singleton’s teachers also participated in two recent professional development sessions, one held by the United Teachers of New Orleans and the other sponsored by the LSU Health Service clinic. The panels, she said, focused on managing anti-social behaviors and behavioral intervention techniques, respectively.

In other school business, Robertson said the state-run Recovery School District, which oversees Singleton’s charter, began its annual audit of the school on Jan. 15.

Robertson also notified the board that a fifth-grade teacher was suspended for three days for failing to properly supervise the class, excessive use of a cell phone during instruction and throwing an object across the room, “posing injury to students.”

Heather Miller

Heather Miller is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to The Lens' Charter School Reporting Corps. She is a former staff writer for The Independent in Lafayette, and is now based in New Orleans.