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Bricolage kindergartners score well in midyear reading and math tests

At a meeting Wednesday morning, board members of Bricolage Academy discussed students’ academic growth and an executive compensation policy.

Students recently took midyear assessments for reading and math. CEO and School Leader Josh Densen reported that the kindergarten class of the school, which is in its first year, is showing growth.

Students taking Measure of Academic Progress tests scored in the 70 percentile collectively in math, he said. Several students are on pace to start first grade next year above grade-level in reading.

Only 14 of the 75 students at Bricolage Academy are behind in reading. Densen said 12 of them are receiving targeted daily intervention. The other two probably will be held back next year, according to Densen’s written report to the board.

In January, the board approved a whistleblower policy and presented a draft of an executive compensation policy that the board’s governance committee later revised for Wednesday’s meeting.

The purpose of the executive compensation policy “is to make sure independent persons, such as the board or the executive committee, determine the CEO’s compensation, not the CEO,” said board member Jeffray Teague said.

The policy does not determine the CEO’s salary, but creates guidelines to set it.

The board discussed those guidelines and how they would affect other employees’ compensation. “As we consider this policy, let’s consider the downstream effects,” board member Cindy Nuesslein said.

She warned that if the CEO’s compensation is set at the median level, it would be incongruent with the school’s above-median goals.

“If we want our faculty to be paid at a higher level than the median … then we as a board are obligated to make a budget that supports that,” Nuesslein said.

She also recommended the school consider pay incentives for staff, but board member Jen Medbery, who participated by telephone, said the executive compensation policy doesn’t need to address that.

Board member Robert Garda Jr. said the CEO’s compensation should be decided by the executive committee and not by the board at large. Others agreed.

The board approved the policy without dissent.

Makiyah Moody, governance initiatives director for the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, was in attendance and applauded the discussion.

At the board’s January meeting, Densen said the school would renew its lease with Touro Synagogue for next year, but would search for a new facility for the 2015-16 school year. The school is not religiously affiliated.

Board chairman Alan Philipson recommended that the board allow Densen and the administration to handle the search rather than the board or a committee of the board. Others agreed.

“It needs to be more day-to-day than committee meetings allow,” Philipson said.

Densen said he will still seek input from board members as he looks for a bigger facility for the school, which will add a new grade and 75 students each year.

“We might need to jump on things quickly and have conversations privately without being subject to open meetings law for competitive advantage,” Densen said.

Bricolage Academy also hired Holly Robbins on Feb. 3 to be the school’s director of development.

The school recently received a $25,000 donation from Rex’s Pro Bono Publico Foundation. It got another $25,000 donation from the Libby-Dufour Fund.

At the end of the meeting Philipson commended the board and the school for the progress. “We’re only headed in one direction,” He said with a smile.

Board members Nuesslein, Philipson, Teague, Garda, Jeffrey Hebert, Jade Russell and Jonah Evans were present at the meeting. Medbery called in.

Garda left halfway and phoned in for the discussion of the executive compensation policy.

Densen and Academics Director Michelle Murphey were also present.

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