After a successful fundraising event, the school is closing in on its goal for the spring “Wilson to Washington” trip, board members learned at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

The Feb. 8 gala drew between 125 and 150 people and raised approximately $4,000 for the trip, Emily Wolff, director of community programming, said.

The Washington project is something Wilson has been working on for the past year and a half. The plan is to take 25 students to the nation’s capital for four days and visit major government buildings and museums.

“The trip is designed to be a lesson in itself,” Wolff said. The students develop and adhere to a budget and raise additional funds.

While on the trip they learn how to use maps to negotiate city streets and landmarks. The visit will culminate in a final project: either a photo journal, blog or video that can be shared with classmates and the Broadmoor community, Wolff said.

On Feb 13. Chris Paul and a crew of NBA All-Stars gave a basketball clinic and visited classrooms during breakfast to speak about the importance of healthy eating, Wolff told the board.

Then on Feb 14. Elevate USA staged a basketball clinic with some of the younger students and Sonny Lee, from Son of a Saint Foundation, came to speak about fatherhood with the dads/granddads group, Protectors of the Pack, Wolff said.

The community-garden project is another hands-on learning experience that has been thriving at Wilson. Each student gardens at least one day a week.

The school garden coordinators, Jaime Broussard and Sarah Kington, said pre-K students have been tasting new foods and applying what they’ve learned in class, such as colors and letters.

The first and second graders are learning plant parts by harvesting and eating straight from the garden. And the third through fifth graders are focusing on scientific inquiry, planting seedlings and monitoring their growth.

“A lot of things we grow in the garden kids have never had a chance to try,” Broussard said.

Broussard and Kington also host Krewe du Food, an after-school program for fifth through eighth graders, where kids get experience planting, harvesting, cooking and selling garden produce.

Expansion plans include adding a therapeutic open-garden space and the scheduling of additional family events centered on wellness and healthy eating.

In other news, Wilson is doing well in its push for energy efficiency. “This past month was the smallest Entergy bill I have seen in three years,” Darius Munchak, operations manager, said.

The administration has started evaluating teachers for next year. Vice principal Ronicka Briscoe said 98 to 100 percent of teachers plan to stay on for next year, a huge jump over 2011 when fewer than half wanted to return to Wilson.

Principal Logan Crowe announced that the suspension rate has gone way down since last year, thanks to use of a restorative-circle agreement. Under the agreement, when there is an incident of fighting or misbehavior, the school calls the parents of each student involved and then interviews the students. Meeting in a circle, with faculty and family, the students then give their view of what happened and decide what needs to be done to avoid recurrence. “It’s the first year of trying it and we have seen good results,” Crowe said.

Looking ahead to the Mardi Gras holiday, on Thursday students gathered in the school courtyard for a “Chaos Carnival.” The school band performed and king cake was served.

The 80-minute meeting adjourned at 8 p.m. Members present included David Winkler-Schmit, Will Bradshaw, Geneva Marney, Ross Anderson, Eric Griggs and  Kristyna Jones. Nancy Marshall and James Baker were absent.

The next board meeting is March 25. Upcoming committee meetings are as follows:

  • March 12, 11:30 a.m. — academic committee meeting in principal’s office
  • March 19, 11:30 a.m. — development committee meeting at Laurel Street Bakery
  • March 30 — Finance committee meeting (location and time TBA)