Both schools are Type 4 charters from BESE to OPSB
At a meeting February 8. 2012 Darryl Kilbert, superintendent of the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB), informed Algiers Charter Schools Association (ACSA) that ACSA will no longer manage Edna Karr High School and Alice Harte Elementary School, effective June 30, 2012.
Both schools are Type 4 charters, meaning the charters are awarded from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to OPSB, who in turn contracts with a charter operator to manage the schools on their behalf.
ACSA began its management of these schools in December 2005 when OPSB did not have the infrastructure in place to manage the schools after Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans Parish School System. Since ACSA assumed management responsibilities for these schools, Alice Harte’s School Performance Scores (SPS) increased by 31 points, with a final score of 101 as of June 30, 2011. Over the same period, the SPS score for Edna Karr increased by 35.5 points.
The original term of the contract was from December 2005 – August 2010, with a one-year extension granted to August 2011. From this period to present date, ACSA has operated both schools in good faith without a contract. The current charter terms expire on June 30, 2015.
According to ACSA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrea Thomas-Reynolds, “It was ACSA’s hope to align the management terms with the charter contract period to provide program continuity and stability for students, parents, and staff. It’s regrettable that an agreement could not be reached; however, we are extremely proud of the support and higher standards of accountability that contributed to the success achieved by the schools under ACSA management.”
ACSA provides in depth academic, operational, and fiscal management services for schools in the charter network. Some of these departments include academic support services, special education services, operations, compliance management, and fiscal oversight. Under ACSA’s management, the financial reserves of these schools as of June 30, 2011 was $6.1 million collectively, which will revert back to OPSB or a new operator if one is ultimately selected.
Thomas-Reynolds adds, “We firmly believe that the management of charter schools and school leadership have a direct alignment to the academic success of schools. We realize the stewardship of these Type 4 charter schools has always been temporary and challenge OPSB to maintain the proven research-based reform efforts and higher standards of accountability that contributed to their success.
“ACSA looks forward to a cooperative transition with OPSB that includes the involvement of all stakeholders impacted by this decision.”
According to a 2011 study by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), the ACSA showed the highest scores for open-enrollment charter schools in Orleans Parish. Since its inception, the ACSA improved scores across all schools more than 39 points.
The Algiers Charter Schools Association (ACSA), a non-profit organization, was the first to open five schools to several thousand students following Hurricane Katrina. Today, the ACSA serves nearly 5,300 students. ACSA schools are free from conventional education structures, are open by choice to all students without admissions tests, are not religiously affiliated and have high accountability standards.
(Courtesy Sylvain Solutions)