Collegiate Academies board discusses growth outside New Orleans

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The Collegiate Academies board heard a presentation by its growth committee Wednesday night detailing future potential growth in Louisiana, specifically into the Baton Rouge community. The plan would see 10 Collegiate Academies high schools across the state by 2022, with an expected enrollment of 4,500 students.

Board member Lisa Daggs said the $13 million needed to finance the growth is expected to come from the Charter School Growth Fund, New Schools for Baton Rouge and New Schools for New Orleans and other donors.

“We want to emphasize that we’re getting better as we’re getting bigger,” Daggs said, highlighting Sci Academy’s state- assigned school performance score growth from 73.6 in 2008-2009 to 128.9 during the last school year.

Daggs said the board will not consider growth unless all current schools are succeeding, the charter management organization would be allowed to open one grade at a time, long-term facilities would be provided at no cost to the organization and they had the chance to build a relationship with community members before opening.

Earlier Wednesday morning, several parents met outside of Sci Academy’s campus on Read Boulevard to protest disciplinary actions by the school. Collegiate Academy president Morgan Carter Ripski said administrators spoke with all the parents involved about their concerns.

Ripski said the organization sends home a student handbook at the beginning of every school year outlining disciplinary policies but that she believes more can be done to help parents understand why their children are being disciplined.

“We need to improve our communication with parents on our policies,” Ripski said. “We need to be very clear on the whys of disciplinary actions.”

The board announced the day before the meeting that it  would table the vote to remain under Recovery School District oversight or move back under the Orleans Parish School board until its December meeting.

The board also voted to install Stephen Rosenthal as a member of the board. Rosenthal serves as the board chair for New Schools for New Orleans and formerly served with the KIPP New Orleans Schools Board of Directors. Rosenthal has been active with the Collegiate Academies finance committee for several months.

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