James M. Singleton Charter School is in the top three percent in New Orleans for gains this testing period, principal Debra Robertson said during the May meeting of the school’s board of directors.

Robertson said she had just gotten the scores that morning, and hadn’t been able to distribute or dissect them fully, beyond noting that they showed a 68 percent proficiency in both English as a Second Language and in Mathematics.

The board broke into round of applause, and former city councilman and board member Jim Singleton took a moment to salute Robertson.

“I just want to say to Mrs. Robertson thank you,” Singleton said. “I know we had some things that happened, the budget got cut. I know you didn’t like it when we had to make the cuts, but you did it, and you moved forward, and now the record will show.”

A consolidated budget statement issued last August showed that the charter school was $848,735.99 in the red. In October, eight teachers were cut when the school got 70 students fewer than the enrollment goal of 640. In December the school’s performance score rose from an “F” to a “D” and the charter was renewed for an additional three years. The school was $388,647 in the black as of its April 30 financial statement.

In other news, there were 39 suspensions in the month of April. Eight were for fights; one was for stealing, and four were for leaving the classroom without permission. There were also 15 incidents of disruption to the school, six of willful acts of disobedience and five instances of gambling, Robertson said.

The gambling issue provoked the curiosity of some board members. Robertson explained that she was teaching a lesson on ratios and used a number generator. She then left the classroom for a moment and when she returned, the students were using it to gamble and exchanging real money.

“They helped themselves to it,” Robertson said, referring to the generator.

Della Hasselle

Della Hasselle, a freelance journalist and producer, reports environmental and criminal justice stories for The Lens. A graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative...