Encore Academy, the charter school opening this fall with an emphasis on music and individualized instruction, will hold its first board meeting tonight since receiving approval to share space next year with the Crocker Arts and Technology School site in the Milan neighborhood. After deciding in March that there was not enough time to open a new campus over the summer, the Encore board voted to pursue a shared-space agreement with another school. The Crocker board recently approved the arrangement for their new campus at 2300 General Taylor Street, said Encore school leader Terri L. Smith. Tonight’s board meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the second-floor conference room at Andrew Wilson Charter School, 3617 General Pershing. Items on the agenda include the addition of another board member (Linda Launey), fiscal policies, benefits, and budget issues.
With time running out for any major construction projects before Encore Academy opens its doors in August, school leaders are exploring the idea of sharing space with an existing school for their first year. The newly-approved charter school, which plans to combine individualized lesson plans with music education, is seeking a location in the greater Uptown area, officials have said. Their first choice was to convert a large warehouse on Washington Avenue into a school building, but the timeline has gotten too tight for that project, said Kesana Durand, president of Encore’s governing board, at a meeting Tuesday night. The board’s second choice location, the Our Lady of Lourdes building just off Freret Street currently used by the disbanding Sojourner Truth Academy, also remains uncertain, as the Archdiocese has yet to say whether it will be available for any school to use next year, said school leader Terri L. Smith. Thus, the board voted unanimously to begin exploring a third option, a one-year lease to co-locate within an existing Recovery School District campus.
Encore Academy, the newest charter school approved by the Orleans Parish School Board, has set its sights on converting a warehouse on Washington Avenue into a school building to serve Uptown families when it opens this fall. The educational focus of Encore will be on reading and math skills with a strong emphasis on individualized instruction, but school leaders plan to bolster its academic offerings with a strong music program for every child, school leaders say. The school will open in August with five grades — pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first and second grades in the elementary program, and a fifth grade class to seed the middle school. School leaders are still searching for a location, but plans to make an offer on its first choice, a 51,000-square-foot warehouse near the corner of Washington, Earhart and South Jefferson Davis Parkway. It sits next to the highly anticipated Blue Plate Factory loft apartments, and has easy access to the neighborhoods the school hopes to serve.