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Not enough members show up to have meeting, but principal discusses growth

The Bricolage Academy board met Thursday night at its school site inside Touro Synagogue but could not conduct an official meeting due to lack of attendance.

Like all public bodies, charter school boards must have a quorum to hold a meeting and vote on issues, meaning at least five of nine Bricolage members must be present. Only four members were in attendance, although two phoned in on conference call. State law does not allow members calling in to count toward a quorum.

The board was unable to vote on any items, but it used the time to discuss issues and give reports.

Principal and CEO Josh Densen requested that the board change the language regarding goals for Measures of Academic Progress testing, an online test used nationally to measure student progress.

The school now sets goals for the test according to percentiles, which puts students on a 100-point scale. But Densen wants the goals to reflect student scores and growth relative to the average, or “mean” in testing parlance.

“Our kids came slightly above the nationally normed mean, so we expect to see their progress, at least, keep on pace with that, or even accelerate above the mean,” Densen said.

Densen also said that students are showing progress in the first semester of the school’s first year.

“We’re seeing tremendous growth already across the board,” Densen said.

Densen reported that the school is beginning to interview students for the next school year and is considering adding a fund-raising director, if the budget can accommodate it.

Bricolage Academy has 75 kindergartners enrolled and will add first grade next year. The board discussed recruitment of new kindergartners for the 2014-15 school year.

“We’ve had 64 parents rank us on the OneApp for next year, and of that, 18 ranked us No. 1,” Densen said, referring to the application used by the majority of public schools in the city.  “I anticipate we’ll have more people ranking us on OneApp than we’ll have spots available. What’s unclear is if we’ll have more parents ranking us No. 1 than we’ll have spots.”

Board treasurer Jeffray Teague reported that the school has a cash surplus of $475,597, and it projects a year-end surplus of $430,614.

“We’re just going to let it sit for now,” Teague said.

The school also is $282,100 over in their expected revenues because of a recent grant from the Walton Family Foundation, Teague said.

“It’s a great position to be in,” Teague said.

The board discussed documents that need to be created and signed by board members to be in compliance with various laws moving forward. A draft of a whistleblower policy form was dispersed and will be reviewed at the next board meeting on Jan. 9.

Board member Jonah Evans agreed to meet with the governance committee and draft an executive-compensation policy to be presented and voted on at the next board meeting as well.

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  • nickelndime

    Regarding Bricolage’s CEO/principal Josh Densen, exactly what are his professional qualifications? Is he even certified to be a public charter school principal? According to the LDOE’s, there is no Josh, or Joshua Densen or Denson. There is a Jesse Knox Denson who earned a degree in the ’40s. So, my question stands. How is it that the Bricolage charter application got the green light from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) and Deputy Superintendent Kathleen Padian and put it in front of the OPSB? And this is the icing on the cake: Bricolage board member, Jonah Evans, one of the 4 who showed up for the meeting, wants to draft an EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION policy. It always ends up with “money.” Not their money. Our money.