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ENCORE Academy seeks more students and a new building

ENCORE Academy’s school leader Terri Smith is focusing on next year’s enrollment, and will begin searching for a new facility for 2014.

The school currently has 197 students but Smith told the school’s board on Feb. 26 that she is hoping to enroll 275 next year.

Smith recently sent ‘intent-to-return’ forms home with those 197 students in an attempt to gage next year’s enrollment.

“Right now we have 117 of the 197 in,” said Smith of the surveys.

Smith said more surveys are coming in each day. She also told board members she would begin calling families who had not responded this week.

ENCORE currently offers pre-kindergarten through third-grade and fifth-grade. Next year, as the grades advance, the school will offer pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade and a sixth-grade. Without a fourth-grade class this year Smith is unsure if she will have enough students to form a fifth grade.

“We’d have to recruit a whole new fifth-grade class,” said Smith, who only has seven applications for fifth-grade at the moment.

As Smith and her staff focus on recruiting, board members voiced concern over the status of the school’s website.

“How difficult is it to update the website?” asked member Linda Launey.

Smith said staff could do a limited amount in house, and the school could also work with the website designer to update the site. She agreed with board members that it should be updated, especially as the school is looking to recruit.

“We’ll make it a priority,” Smith said.

Launey said she wanted to see more information on the website about the curriculum and extracurricular activities the school offers. Member Ashleigh Bergeron wanted to see more items on the calendar, such as open houses and board meetings.

The board elected Linda Launey to the position of president, Frannie Montegut to secretary and Herb Patterson will continue to serve as treasurer.

Smith said she planned to distribute ‘intent-to-return’ forms to teachers in the next week to gage how many hires she will need to make before the coming school year.

The board charged Smith with finding for a new facility for the 2014-15 school year. ENCORE will share the Crocker Elementary building for the 2013-14 school year. But as it grows, the school will likely need to move to its own space.

Board members Patterson, Launey, Bergeron and Kesana Durand were present. Members Sehzad Sooklal and Melody Baham were absent. The meeting began at 6:40 p.m. and adjourned at 7:33 p.m.

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About Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned to New Orleans in the fall of 2014 after covering education for the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in journalism and social welfare and a concentration in educational policy studies.

  • nickelndime

    ENCORE is an OPSB charter. Is there a logical reason why Kathleen Padian, Deputy Superintendent of Charter Schools, thinks that a pre-kindergarten thru 3rd grade (skip 4th grade) and 5th grade configuration is a good idea? Well yes, CEO Smith, without a 4th grade this year, there would not be a fully formed 5th grade! Was the school’s nonprofit board fearful of 4th grade LEAP testing – afraid that maybe the school would be held accountable for a group of untried and academically-unproven students who would affect the school’s performance score (SPS) for the 2012-13 school year!? How hard can website maintenance be? Obviously, too difficult for the current team. And please, tell me ENCORE board, what is the salary of CEO Smith and the rest of the administration and non-classroom personnel? Do you know what is in the budget? So, the RSD says that ENCORE must leave the Crocker building, and the board is charging Smith with finding a new site! The website sounds challenging enough – now a building?!