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Six Crocker teachers invited to stay as New Orleans College Prep takes over school

Teachers and staff at Crocker Arts and Technology School now know if they will be remaining with the school next year when New Orleans College Prep assumes leadership.

Six of the school’s 13 teachers and one member of the custodial staff have been asked to stay, Crocker principal Charmaine Robertson told those gathered at Saturday’s board meeting.

They include two pre-kindergarten teachers, two first-grade teachers, one second-grade teacher and one fourth-grade teacher.

Robertson said that NOCP is still finalizing discussions with a Crocker music teacher and a member of the support staff.

To date, two teachers and one paraprofessional have left Crocker mid-year to begin new jobs after learning NOCP would not be rehiring them, Robertson said.

Overall, the principal said she has been happy that the majority of teachers are finishing out the year regardless if they were re-hired or not.

Crocker has seen an influx of new students in recent weeks from other cities. Robertson said the Recovery School District is calling schools in round-robin style to place the new students.

“We took in four kids the day before LEAP testing began,” Robertson said. “This week alone we got seven new students, with five of them being in testing grades.”

The role of Crocker as a neighborhood school was discussed as board members spoke about their hopes for the future.

Located in a new building at 2301 Marengo St. in the Milan neighborhood, Principal Robertson said only about 25 percent of students come from the immediate area, with the majority coming from New Orleans East, Gentilly and Mid-City.

“I think this neighborhood will build up around the school,” board secretary Shaun Rafferty said. “Eventually the goal of this being a neighborhood school will be fulfilled, we just lived a nomadic existence for our first four years.”

The school moved to its current location in August from about 15 blocks away on Milan Street.

Board member Mary Ellen Alexander said that having families reside a great distance from a school seriously impacts parental involvement.

Board members agreed that this distance causes stress on students dealing with getting up early and arriving home late after long commutes, and schools in turn spending more money on recruitment and advertising.

“The phrase ‘neighborhood school’ has become obsolete,” said board member John Jones.

But Secretary Rafferty remained optimistic pointing out that people are beginning to move to the area because Crocker is there.

The meeting ran from 11 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. with the following board members in attendance; Chair Grisela Jackson, Simonne Robinson, Stephan Boyard, Shaun Rafferty, John Jones, Mary Ellen Alexander, Principal Robertson and CPA Brendell Deemer.

The next board of directors meeting is scheduled for April 27.

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