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Success Prep leader: School must emphasize science and social studies next school year

Success Preparatory Academy leaders told the Treme charter school’s board that they are setting a tone of improvement heading into the 2014-15 school year.

At the board’s June 11 meeting, School Leader Niloy Gangopadhyay presented iLEAP and LEAP testing data showing that the school’s third-graders dipped in science and social studies. Only 37 percent of students scored at or above basic in science, and 34 percent of third-graders at or above basic in social studies.

In science, about half of fifth- and sixth-graders scored at or above basic.

“We need to have stronger plans around science and social studies for next year,” Gangopadhyay said.

fHe told the board that an increased focus on reading and math came at the expense of science and social studies.

In math, about 70 percent of students were at or above basic in grades three to seven. In English, about 60 percent were at or above basic in all grades except fifth.

Next year, Gangopadhyay said, school leaders plan to ensure that students receive 45 minutes of instruction in science and social studies each day.

Overall, Gangopadhyay said he had expected the school’s test scores to drop in 2013-14 after a big jump the year before

“At the beginning of the year, I knew that we would probably take a drop,” he said. “I think we exceeded expectations in some areas.”

That’s partly because about two-fifths of the school’s staff was new this year. With more new staff coming on next year and the addition of eighth grade, the school leader said teachers must recommit to “raise the bar.”

“Everybody’s got to be accountable, and we can’t let things fall through the cracks like we have,” he said.

Officials also announced a new grant for the school. It will receive $30,000 from Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation’s Sports Matters program.

The Board also elected new officers. Former Vice Chair Lee Adler was elected board chair, replacing Anderson Baker. Treasurer Ryan Bates will now serve as both vice chair and treasurer. Blake Poole will now serve as secretary.

In addition to Adler, Bates and Baker, board members Ben Blanchard, Jack Carey and Robert Edgecombe attended the meeting. Members Kathryn Broussard, Avione Pichon and Avery Corenswet were absent.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 15.

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  • nickelndime

    Don’t make me look up Success Preparatory Academy (“C-Letter Grade School – that was last year!) School’s CEO ‘s professional educational credentials (Niloy Gangppadhyay) at LDOE website. Why am I so sure that I am NOT going to find this guy’s Louisiana credentials?!!! 6-figure salaries for on-the-job training? OPSB used to do this kind of thing. Always get 3 potential applicants. Remind you of anything? Bermuda, New York, Memphis!

  • Alan Maclachlan

    Picking up on one point from this article; it’s hard to achieve success in any school which has a 2/5ths faculty turnover from one year to the next. That’s not just because at the start of the year teachers are strangers to one another, to the school and its support systems and community, but also because such a high rate of turnover tends to speak of underlying causes which drive teachers to leave. If you look at schools which are successful, their turnover rate rarely exceeds ten percent and are usually less than that. Good teachers tend to want to remain in a good teaching environment, while unhappy teachers seek other options.
    So what accounts for the high turnover? If it’s just the cycling through of TFA members who have put in their two years and are moving on, then that means that there is a high percentage of first year teachers on the faculty; and while some first year teachers are successful right away, most are not. Or–is there some other reason causing such a high turnover rate? If so, what is it?

  • nickelndime

    Well said, Alan M., but that is also one of the issues that is so aggravating about Success (well, that’s a misnomer) Preparatory Academy AND its same CEO. This has been going on for years, and the State/RSD (White, Dobard, et al.) just will NOT pull this charter or require anything of value to change. Every year it’s another excuse. We should have done this. Next year, we will do that. More new teachers. We expected this…I really would like to know the low down, nitty gritty (there’s always a story if one looks) on what keeps this charter and this particular CEO doing the EverReady Bunny 2-step year after year. Now, with the cutbacks, the public will know even less (if that is possible).