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$200G from casino to target psych services, homebound students, career coordinator

The Net Charter High School anticipates receiving $200,000 that the city has been collecting from Harrah’s Casino.

At the Feb. 4 meeting of Educators for Quality Alternatives, the school’s board of directors, principal Elizabeth Ostberg said the money will be tendered in two annual payments of $100,000 starting in the next fiscal year.

Harrah’s Casino has given millions of dollars to New Orleans, and the Recovery School District now plans to disburse the money to schools, primarily for the education of at-risk students, Ostberg said. The Net serves at-risk students aged 16-21 with a year-round program focused on preparation for post-graduation opportunities.

Ostberg said the school plans to use the money to improve mental health and psychiatric services, for homebound services and to make the school’s career coordinator a full-time position.  Homebound services would help support students who are pregnant, injured, in jail, or who face other extenuating circumstances that preclude regular school attendance.

The board also discussed special-education services. Ostberg said her staff is putting extra emphasis on evaluating special-needs students who might benefit from additional educational services. Currently, 19 percent of students at The Net have special-education needs, but Ostberg thinks closer to 30 percent would qualify if staff were able to evaluate students more consistently.

Sixteen students graduated from The Net on Jan. 11, the biggest graduating class to date.  The school quickly recruited new students to fill vacancies. Enrollment stands at 152, two above the projected number, but attendance rates for January, at 65 percent, were the lowest of the school year.

“The big reason attendance was so bad was that enrollment was all over the place,” Ostberg said.  “Several new students enrolled in January but only attended one or two days.”

The board also approved a pupil-progression plan, subject to state review. She said no significant changes were made from last year’s plan.

The board approved the monthly budget report, showing a current surplus of $359,833.

“We’re in good shape,” Ostberg said.

Board member Melissa Lessell led discussion of the March 22 basketball tournament at Langston Hughes Academy, The Net’s signature fundraiser. It features food, beer, music and prizes for winning teams.

The meeting had been rescheduled from Jan. 28 because of bad weather.  The board will meet again Feb. 24.

Only five board members and Ostberg were present.  Board President Kristina Kent was absent.  Board member Marshall Fitz left after 45 minutes, leaving the board without a quorum and unable to take any votes.

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  • nickelndime

    “The Net serves at-risk students aged 16-21…focused on preparation for post-graduation opportunities.” 16 students graduated on January 11, 2014. This is a small number of students to track. So, what happened to them post-graduation? Where did they go? What are they doing? Employment? School? Did these students take any exams to graduate? ACT? Come on, folks (board members)! You know – at least you should know – that Ostberg is neither qualified nor certified to be a public school administrator (principal). I wouldn’t show up either at these board meetings. Guess what? Nobody is, except a reporter, a couple of board members, and on-the-payroll Ostberg!

  • edpolicy

    Be careful nickel, your bias is showing. Is everything and everyone charter related automatically corrupt or inept? It seems that way, if one were to believe your comments. How do you know so much? Or do you really know anything at all about the schools and educators you so consistently bash? Talk to the parents and students of the NET and ask them what they think about Ms. Ostberg’s qualifications, and I think you’d hear a different story.

  • nickelndime

    Unfortunately (how I wish it were NOT so), parents and students do not know nearly as much as the LDOE regarding teacher/administrative credentials and qualifications (certifications). John White’s signature (and the BESE president) are on these official documents. It appears (would not be the first time) that Ms. Ostberg has been placed in a position (by a nonprofit charter school board) for which she is unqualfiied (does not hold the professional credentials). Would this pass muster in any other profession (medicine, law, accounting, etc.)?

  • edpolicy

    Would this pass muster in any other profession? Why yes, it would. Go to any construction site in the world and ask the project managers and foremen about their professional credentials. Real world experience and expertise leads to advancement, to the point that folks with no college degree are managing millions of dollars worth of work. Is a college degree or MBA required to manage people and projects?

    Not having a certificate does not mean one is unqualified. That’s where your logic is flawed. By all means, we should hold people accountable for the results they produce, but suggesting that there is only one path to becoming a leader is, in my opinion, a stale way of thinking. I know plenty of “credentialed” school leaders who are absolutely horrible. Every principal in town was certified before Katrina, and how did that work out?

  • nickelndime

    The NET Charter High School, governed by Educators for Quality Alternatives, has a 2013 School Performance Score (SPS) of 9.1 (“F”). This is even lower than John McDonogh Senior High School which has an SPS of 9.3 (“T” – Is that for “T”hank you for not posting the Letter Grade we deserve?). John McDonogh will close in June 1014, but The NET will remain open. Really, is there any difference between these two schools? Both serve at-risk populations, and both are dismal academic failures. But wait, Ms. Ostberg says, “We’re in good shape” (as the board approved the monthly budget report, showing a current surplus of $359,833). Does Ms. Ostberg know anything about school administration (other than the salaried on-the job training she is getting now)? It would appear that Mr. Barr and Ms. Ostberg share some common traits. Bottom line: Ms. Ostberg lasks the proper credentials to be a public school administrator in Louisiana. The NET has a SPS of 9.1 and a letter grade of F. Public schools are not construction sites unless one wants to speak metaphorically. When I visit a physician, I would like him/her to hold the proper credentials according to the state of Louisiana. Credentials matter.