The Algiers Charter School Association has assigned employees to now serve as test coordinators at each of its schools, administrators told the board Tuesday.

The update to the six-school network’s testing policy comes the same week it placed the principal of Landry-Walker High School, and others, on paid leave after an Inspector General’s investigation into state testing came to light.

The network hopes the coordinators will help establish a quicker line of communication, to both the administration and board, for any issues that arise.

Executive Director of Instruction Faydra Alexander reviewed the amendment to the testing plan at an academic committee meeting Tuesday night. Alexander recently added the ‘executive’ to her job title in what she said was an “expanded role.”

The testing policy was approved by the board in the fall, Alexander said, but the section on school test coordinators was recently amended. Four are serving in that capacity for the first time, while two have prior experience, Alexander said. All are receiving training.

Committee co-chairwoman Nicole Sheppard she heard complaints in the past of some monitors harassing and trying to intimidate students. But it took too long for the board to learn of them.

“We learned several months later,” she said.

Sheppard didn’t expand on her comment, offering it in response to the named test monitors and in hopes that issues would be communicated sooner than in the previous year.

Alexander said the plan aligns with state policy, and the only amendment was the school test coordinators.

Alexander also introduced former Human Capital Manager Avery Drake, who is now working as an instructional-support specialist. Alexander said the change in position reflected that the network has increased its academic focus.

Schools are preparing for the annual Louisiana Department of Education visits, she said, some of which are occurring this week.

Olin Parker from the department’s charter school accountability office will visit each site to evaluate academics and culture. Alexander said he would also spot check special-education documentation.

Interim CEO Rene Lewis-Carter reminded the committee that all RSD charter schools pledged Tuesday to hire outside monitors for upcoming state testing. That is in addition to internal monitors that schools are required to use each year.

In addition to Landry-Walker, the network operates Algiers Technology Academy, Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy, Martin Behrman Charter School McDonogh #32 Literacy Charter School and William J. Fischer Accelerated Academy.

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...