Charter Schools Related schools coverage »

Einstein Charter plans to deepen its roots in eastern New Orleans; seeks students, funding

As the academic year nears an end, leaders at Einstein Charter are looking ahead. Administrators hope to bring in more students, donations and board members for the 2014-2015 school year.

Development director Daniel Davis laid out fundraising and student recruitment plans at the board’s monthly meeting, May 6.

The school has a projected enrollment of 848 across its two campuses. Davis said he wants to attract families who live in New Orleans East.

“There are children living here who are not enrolled in Einstein, which is the only open-enrollment B charter school in the area,” said Davis. “It’s important that we remain rooted in the community.”

The school will rent two billboards in the East. Public service announcements are set to run on WWL and English, Spanish and Vietnamese radio stations. Einstein and New Orleans East both have a large foreign-language speaking community.

Later in the meeting, Davis delivered a development presentation to the board, where he listed the grants he has applied for in his seven-month tenure at Einstein.

He outlined future fundraising strategies, which include updating marketing materials, developing a prospective donor list and capitalizing on Donor’s Choose, an online charity that allows individuals to donate directly to classroom projects.

Board President Laurin Jacobsen said she would like a development update at each board meeting.

Davis said he is wary of making the school’s grant activities public. He said news reports and the board’s meeting minutes could clue in other schools competing for the same money as Einstein.

“Every developer reads every news article, because they want to find out who is giving money, where it’s coming from and how can they get some more,” Davis said.

Jacobsen said the governance committee would discuss how specific the development reports should be at its next meeting.

Former board president Ryan Bennett, who served for four years and is nearing his term limit, resigned Tuesday prior to the meeting.

The board unanimously voted to admit three new members: Shelia Sundar, a literacy specialist; Andrew Lorenz, a law student; and John Bowman, a retired school administrator. The board hopes to add additional members.

Ron Midkiff, a former Einstein school administrator, asked board members if they planned to pursue African-American or Vietnamese board members.

“Just like you target students, you need to target also [potential board members] from those communities,” Midkiff said.

Both Chuck Gasho and Jacobsen said they agreed. Jacobsen said she is limited by the applications she receives. “In an ideal world we would have a vast array,” she said.

The board held an executive session following the meeting to discuss “pending litigation.” Jacobsen said she could not elaborate on the pending litigation.

Board members Emily Danielson and Zachary Wool were also present for the meeting. Donica Conway and Lauren Narcisse were absent.

The next board meeting will be June 3, at 6:00 p.m. at the Einstein campus, 5100 Cannes St.

Help us report this story     Report an error    
The Lens' donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.
  • nickelndime

    EINSTEIN: Hold up! The EINSTEIN board went into Executive Session to discuss “litigation” !? What litigation? Pending, ongoing, potential…and why is this item/topic not an agenda item? Makes me wonder where the real things are being discussed! In emails, telephone and/or personal conversations? And perhaps this board needs to get grassroots board members, rather than doing what other charters are doing – like getting potential board members from board “pools” provided by the likes of other nonprofits such as the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools. Einstein is largely composed of African American and Vietnamese students, and yet the board is of the Caucasian persuasion, save Donica Conway, who won’t be around much longer because she board “hops.”