Lake Forest Elementary Charter School will host a parent informational meeting on the new Common Core State Standards on Friday in the gymnasium.
Principal Mardele Early told a meeting of the school’s board of directors Wednesday that it was important to prepare students for cross-discipline assignments, and communicate to parents how they could help students learn. Under the new standards, she explained, assignments may require math, science and reading concepts, all in the same question.
Early said Common Core was a more rigorous curriculum that better prepares students for college, and helps develop higher-order thinking. While students in the U.S. were learning well in isolation, she said, they had fallen behind in learning how to put knowledge into practice.
Director of facilities and finance, Bernell St. Cyr, informed the board that the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana had approved a preliminary plan that would raise employer contributions to 28 percent (up from 27.2 percent) if approved.
Early complained that there was no increase in per student funding from the state to account for the increase in what schools now had to contribute to their employees. As a result, she said, the organization would have to consider leaving the program.
“Sooner or later,” member Donald Pate said, “schools will start going bankrupt.”
“They know that, and they’re OK with that,” Early said.
St. Cyr explained that TRSL had announced that its fund earned 13 percent on investments last year. He said it was now close to back to its 2008 level of around $14 billion.
In the final minutes of the meeting, Pate received a phone call from facilities consultant Ken Ducote, who informed Pate that the Orleans Parish School Board had decided to accept the original bid for construction of Lake Forest’s future facility. The building, based on the design of Hynes Elementary, was originally going to be re-bid, delaying construction by several months.
“Our prayers are answered,” Early said.
The school will hold a family creative arts night on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. The evening will include music, photography, painting, theater, drumming, poetry and zumba.
Early showed the board letters from U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, city council president Jackie Clarkson, and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu commemorating the school for being a National Blue Ribbon School. She said that Councilman James Gray had also been supportive of the school, which resides in his district.
Present were president Lee Caston, members Pate, Gina Dupart, Denise Williams, Windi Brown, and Brian K. Richburg Sr. The meeting, which began at 1:41 p.m., concluded at 2:58 p.m.