5 charter schools renewed; 4 rejected

NEW ORLEANS — The state Board of Secondary and Elementary Education voted Wednesday to continue charter school contracts for five New Orleans schools and to end operations for four others in the city.

Charter operators are given an initial five-year contract.

Mid-term assessments are conducted in the middle of the fourth year for a vote on extending the contract and in a school’s fifth year for renewal of the contract.

The midyear performance reviews are based on site visits, interviews with the school’s leadership team and the charter board, and an analysis of academic financial, legal and contractual data.

The charter schools whose contracts were approved Wednesday by BESE for renewal or extension are Arise Academy Elementary Charter School, Success Preparatory Academy, Miller-McCoy Academy, Kipp Central City Primary and Akili Academy.

The four schools that will cease to operate for the 2013-14 school year as charters are Pride College Preparatory Academy, Crocker Arts and Technology School, Intercultural Charter School and Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School.

The Louisiana Department of Education’s policies look for a growth rate of at least five points per year for start-up charters. Over the period of either three or four years, none of the four schools met their growth targets for their annually calculated School Performance Scores.

Pride, a K-5 school in eastern New Orleans, was given an F grade for the past two years.

Crocker, a K-5 school in the Milan Uptown neighborhood, received a D-minus in the 2010-2011 school year and an F for the 2011-2012 school year.

Intercultural, a K-8 school in eastern New Orleans, received a D, then an F.

Mays, a pre-K-6 school in the Desire neighborhood, was given an F for the past two years.

The schools will finish out the school year. Department of Education spokesman Barry Landry said the schools, communities and parents are notified in December in order to give all parties affected, including any potential new operators, time to make decisions about the 2013-2014 school year.

Crocker charter board President Grisela Jackson issued the following reaction in a news release Wednesday:

“The loss of our charter in no way diminishes the tremendous investment of time, energy, effort, talent, and dedicated service that has been expended over the past six years, when we first began the work to bring Crocker from a dream to a reality.

“In fact, we are currently exploring opportunities for new management to move Crocker forward into its next phase of growth and development. ... We continue to believe in our students, in their potential and in the possibilities for greatness that lie ahead for them, and we ask our parents and community to continue to support Crocker as we strive to make certain that the great school we have worked so hard to establish will to continue to serve our community for many more years to come.”

The Intercultural School declined to comment Wednesday. Mays officials did not respond to a request for comment, and Pride officials could not be reached for comment.