The first part of New Orleans College Preparatory Academies monthly board meeting centered around academic and performance updates for Cohen College Prep High School and the organization as a whole.

Average daily attendance across all of NOCP’s schools is 92.6 percent.  At Sylvanie Williams College Prep Elementary, attendance was 94.6 percent, and 93.1 percent at Crocker College Prep Elementary.  Cohen College Prep’s middle school had 93.2 percent attendance, its high school 90.1 percent.

Suspensions were way down in the 2012-13 school year, compared to the previous year.  In 2011-12, 51 percent of the students were suspended at least once. For  2012-13, that number has dropped to 34 percent.

CEO Ben Kleban said the organization had done a better job of recognizing behavioral problems and intervening in other ways, such as in-school suspension, where students could still learn while being disciplined. He asserted that the organization honestly reported its in-school suspensions, and felt that many schools in the city could be reporting artificially low numbers in this category.

Rahel Wondwossen, principal of Cohen College Prep High School, led the board through a host of academic data. The organization typically has one principal available at each of its quarterly regularly scheduled meetings, usually the principal of the school the board meets in for that month. Cohen’s middle school grades are addressed by middle school principal Noell Lugay at other meetings.

Sixty-five percent of Cohen’s students have applied to at least one college.  Three college acceptances have been reported already. Member Griselda Jackson asked how well the school tracked students once they had graduated and entered university.

Wondwossen explained that this was the first year Cohen College Prep had 12th grade students, and that the organization hired Paris Woods, alumni coordinator, to track these students as they went through college. She said keeping students from at-risk backgrounds in college through to graduation was a serious problem in the country, and that the school hoped to help students find grants and scholarships to address financial concerns, one of the biggest practical problems causing students to drop out of college after acceptance.

Present at the meeting were Kleban, Jackson, Julie Walker, Peter Harding, Murray Pitts, Jim Raby, Stephen Boyard, Drew Goodwin, Griselda Jackson, Shaun Rafferty and Barbara McPhee.  Also present were members of Cohen High School’s Alumni Association. The meeting began at 5:37 p.m. and concluded at 7:22 p.m.