Posted in the New Orleans Forum


Slidell, LA

#1 Apr 6, 2013

CHARTER SCHOOLS are CHARGING the TAX-PAYERS of the GREAT STATE of LOUISIANA over $8,000 per Student to EDUCATE our Children annually, even more when you factor in Special Education Students.

REQUEST: We need Parent and Community Volunteers to visit CHARTER SCHOOL WEB-SITES and analyze the School's General Information. Find out EXACTLY how many Students they are claiming as "ENROLLED", then go to the School in the Morning or Evening and take Daily Head Counts of Students actually entering and exiting the Campuses. For morning Head Counts please get to the school 30-minutes before school starts in the morning and for evening Head Counts please allow yourselves enough time after the School Bell Rings to take an accurate Head Count!

FACT: CHARTER SCHOOLS should not and I repeat "NOT" be charging the TAX-PAYERS of LOUISIANA for Students who "NEVER EVER" attend School.

John McDonogh H.S. tries to recruit students, raise attendance after Oprah series

... the results of my "INVESTIGATION" led to this announcement!

Danielle Dreilinger, The Times-Picayune

April 03, 2013 at 4:58

Oprah's camera crews are gone but the work continues at John McDonogh High School, which is struggling with attendance, retaining students and recruiting new ones for next fall.

In the first round of applications for next school year, 82 new students expressed an interest in attending the school, while another 127 students said they want to return. That's far short of the 382 students currently enrolled at John Mac, now in the first year of a charter takeover by the group Future Is Now.

As it stands, Principal Marvin Thompson said as much as 50 percent of the existing student body fails to show up on any given day.

"Attendance is a huge issue," he said at a charter board meeting on Tuesday.

In contrast to months of crowded, argumentative sessions dominated by discussions of "Blackboard Wars," the reality series that recently aired on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, Tuesday's meeting was relatively quiet. The show, which chronicled the early months of the school takeover, came up only once in public comment. When it did, charter chief Steve Barr said, "I don't want to talk about 'Blackboard Wars.'"

Thompson outlined the "comprehensive approach" he's put in place to address attendance, which started at 80 percent in the fall and has dropped as low as 50 percent some days. Tactics include same-day automated phone calls to parents, letters sent home for students with 10 or more absences, meetings for students and parents and opportunities to make up absences after school and on Saturday.

The school is "trying to establish here an expectation of attendance ...(an) expectation of diligence," Thompson said, adding that part of the problem is that students who aren't doing well get discouraged as the school year nears its close.

In some cases, the absences could keep seniors from graduating. Based on testing, the school is projecting a 65 percent graduation rate, said counselor Neisha Riley. Of the 112 seniors, 75 have passed all the exams they need and 35 have passed their courses but not the graduate exit exam.

To attract new students, Thompson is trying to schedule recruitment visits to middle schools. So far none of the 13 schools he's solicited has responded, but many were on break, he said. There's a crawfish boil Saturday and an open house scheduled for April 18. The Future Is Now charter application calls for the school to enroll 525 students at full capacity.

Six of seven board members attended the meeting. The chief operating officer did not attend and no budget updates were presented, though Barr said the school laid off a remedial reading teacher last week for financial reasons. He said after the meeting that a budget update would be ready by April 12.

Certified School Psychologist
Civil Rights Activist
Author of "THE REALIST"

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