The International School of Louisiana staff and board members are getting closer to finalizing a five-year master plan to accommodate its growing student population.
At the board’s meeting on Jan. 22, Head of School Sean Wilson presented his first draft of the school’s facilities plan, as was previously scheduled.
With 639 students in kindergarten through eighth grade at the Camp Street campus in the Lower Garden District, and 195 students in kindergarten through fifth grade at the Olivier Street campus in Algiers Point, board members have been discussing the need for more space. Staff have projected an increase of 65 students over the next two years.
The plan outlines options that include abandoning one or both campuses for new locations. That means some grades that are at both campuses would be merged. Or the school could put kindergarten through fourth grades at one location and fifth through eighth at another.
“I propose to begin the search for a new facility broadly … beginning first with the search for a facility that can resolve the Camp Street space concerns,” Wilson wrote in the facilities plan. “Simultaneously, we will seek a suitable property large enough to accommodate K-8 and focus the search to a smaller facility that can accommodate grades 5-8.”
He also wrote that he would prefer that the building for fifth through eighth grade would include fifth grade students from the Olivier Street campus.
The next steps are to secure a loan, work with real-estate agents to find suitable locations, begin fundraising and talk with families and the community throughout the process.
Curriculum Specialist Laura Adelman-Cannon presented methods to achieve new academic goals, which the board has requested at past meetings. These include closing the school’s achievement gap by using statistical analyses and continuing to educate students in language immersion environments.
The International School of Louisiana has been testing certain fifth- and eighth-grade students in the Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française proficiency exam for the past two years. The school recently became a certified Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language test center in coordination with the Cervantes Center of New York, so it can now test for Spanish as well.
All fifth- and eighth-grade students across all campuses will take French and Spanish roficiency exams this year.
Head of School Sean Wilson’s monthly report noted that a FEMA renovation project has been delayed again. The new schedule is for bidding to begin in August, with the project to finish in July 2015.
The school has still not been included as part of the planning process. “As [has] been reiterated to ISL … our involvement in the project is minimal,” Wilson wrote.
The school will buy an annual subscription to The High Bar for close to $8,000 per year, Wilson said. The program helps to deliver and store public documents such as agendas, meeting minutes and committee reports.
Board members held an executive session to discuss Wilson’s employment contract. The session lasted for about an hour and a half.
The next board meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. Feb. 26, at 1400 Camp St.