Charter Schools Related schools coverage »

Lycée board welcomes new members to school with wine, cheese and veggie trays

Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans charter school held a special board meeting Thursday night, a changing of the guard one could say, as senior board members sat among the members elected to replace them come July.

For the first time in months, the board’s table in the school’s cafeteria sat eight. After operating below the state required seven members for some time, the board is ten members strong now.

Four of the five newly elected members joined four of five senior board members for the meeting. The new members introduced themselves to the audience of about 20 parents.

In a casual cafeteria setting, parents brought veggie trays and cheese platters to welcome the new members. A few bottles of red wine anchored the snack table.

“I have a lot of respect for the French system,” said new member Alysson Mills, a lawyer who also serves on the CHOICE Foundation board, which operates three New Orleans charter schools.

New Lycée member Tim Gray said he thought New Orleans was “on the cusp of cracking the code” to provide excellent public education to all students and he was happy to be on board. Erin Greenwald echoed his sentiments, saying that had Lycée been open at the time, she would have liked her daughter to attend the school.

“I hope to bring my legal skill set,” said Ben Castoriano, saying that he has relations with the local French American Chamber of Commerce.

Founding board member Paige Saleun gave new board members a brief synopsis of the school’s history.

“Lycée is kind of my fourth child,” she said lightheartedly.

When Saleun wanted her children to have the opportunity to earn the French Baccalaureate in New Orleans, she said she realized it would have to start with kindergarten. She told new members expectations would be “very high” from both parents and students.

Current board chairman Jean Montes gave the new members an opportunity to ask questions of the board their first day on the job. New members asked about the building lease, recruiting for a middle school and the chief executive officer search.

Mills asked if the new class would vote on the upcoming nominations for additional board members.

“Yes,” said Montes, “you are in.”

Greenwald asked members how long the school has the building leased. New member Gray questioned how the charter school would build a middle school from scratch. Mills wondered when more board members would be nominated and how the search for a chief executive was going.

After the half hour meeting the board adjourned and parents descended on members both new and old to introduce themselves and chat.

Members Saleun, Montes, Greenwald, Gray, Mills, Catherine MacPhaille, Ben Castoriano, and Dan Henderson were present. Elizabeth Rhodes and Jacqueline Simon were absent.

Help us report this story     Report an error    
The Lens' donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.
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.

  • We also brought cookies and cake! Here’s hoping for a smooth transition as we move forward.

  • I recall seeing some sliced ham and roast beef as well.

  • Must be another rule that charters on’t have to follow. Public schools are alcohol nd drug free property.

  • frenchfriend

    We serve alcohol at very PTO. Did not know illegal. Thanks Lee.

  • frenchfriend

    Lycee dad’s club too, serves alcohol, I just thought it was allowed because kids were not around. Also, in above sentence, I meant “every” , not “very”, for lycee PTO. It is one of the selling points of the meetings.

  • Lee, what rule is that? La. R.S. 14:91.7 seems to allow one to consume alcoholic beverages on public school property if authorized by the principal or person in charge of the public school property at the time.

  • nickelndime

    Hahahaa! OPSB just recently waived the “verboten” to serve alcohol at one of its OPSB-campuses (for the Hynes Charter fair this month). My suggestion is that ALL the charter schools in New Orleans (Types 1-2-3-4-5) should start serving alcohol for a great afternoon pick-up. If anything can take the public’s mind off of what is really going on, that should do it. “Let ’em have it” – cookies, cake, roast beef, ham, wine (I guess that would be French), cheese, vegetable trays…(it only costs millions of dollars in public money). LOL and rolling on the floor. And yeah, Ms. Greenwald, if I had a daughter, I would send her to Lycee too (after the fact).

    It is unlawful for anyone to use, distribute, be under the influence of, manufacture or possess any controlled substances as defined by statute on or around school property or an area within 1000 feet of any property used for school purposes by any school, or on a school bus. These areas shall be designated as Drug-Free Zones. The School Board, in cooperation with local governmental agencies, and the Louisiana Department of Education, shall designate and mark Drug-Free Zones which surround all schools and school property.

  • This is probably a case of LDOE and Bd. of Regents not doing their job in marking the school as a drug free zone. I don’t know which law supersedes. Another case of autonomy gone wild? There is a reason for schools being drug free, smoke free, drug free. Many reasons actually.

  • No, this is more a case of another snarky headline and unfounded criticism. Offenders in drug free zones do properly face more severe penalties (La. R.S. 40:981.3(E)(1) but here’s the catch. Wine is not a “controlled dangerous substance” under the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law. The law excepts distilled spirits, malt beverages and tobacco, too. La. R.S. 40:961(7). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with adults having an adult beverage at an evening event related to their kids’ school.

  • It’s not.

  • Interesting Mr. Pinkerton. I suppose in your life experience you haven’t encountered the many problems that arise when alcohol contributes to the demeanor of the conversation. The fact that there is absolutely no public school in Louisiana that allows alcohol on campus or at school facilities is probably for a reason.

  • jppss parent

    Interesting Ms. Barrios – Have you attended every public school meeting in LA? Realizing this is snarky at best, get over yourself. LA is a vast and broad landscape of people and local/regional rules. What is common for one area may not be for others and I don’t mean just New Orleans. As Mr. Pinkerton has noted above no laws were broken.

  • Oh Leetotaler, I can’t believe that’s true, but what the schools on the Northshore and around the state do on this issue doesn’t impress me anyway. I do know there are plenty of schools here in New Orleans that serve alcohol on campus for special events. Just a little research reveals Lusher had a beer both at its crawfish boil, Green Charter School had speciality cocktails at its onsite fundraiser, and ReNEW schools hosted a Cocktails for a Cause. That’s fine if you want to advocate for the benefits of strict temperance on campus, but contrary to your initial (and incorrect) dig, it’s not the rule if the principal says OK, and it’s not the practice here in the city.