International School of Louisiana starts 2018-19 school year with 1,410 students

The International School of Louisiana has resumed classes for the 2018-19 school year with 1,410 students across its three campuses, school officials said Wednesday. The flagship campus on Camp Street has nearly half of those students, who are enrolled in grades 3 through 8. The remainder are split about evenly between the K-2 grades at the Bethune campus in Dixon, and the grades 1-5 on Olivier Street on the Westbank. After a series of moves and reorganziations through Jefferson Parish and Mid-City in recent years, this school year marks the second in a row in the current configuration of three campuses. Enrollment remains about the same at each, with slightly fewer at Bethune now that the larger second grade class from Jefferson Parish students has been absorbed, said Head of Schools Melanie Tennyson.

International School of Louisiana to extend healthcare benefits to employees’ same-sex partners

The International School of Louisiana will become the latest New Orleans charter school to offer healthcare benefits to its employees’ same-sex partners, after a vote Wednesday night that board members deemed “symbolic.” The proposal, technically called a “domestic partner benefit,” would apply to all employees in unmarried relationships, without specifying any sexual orientation. Employers often use the domestic-partner classification to extend employment benefits (including in the city of New Orleans) to same-sex couples in states such as Louisiana where it is illegal for them to marry. “Over the years, our employees, who are coupled without judicial or legislative recognition of their relational bonds, have not been afforded the opportunity to have healthcare coverage through ISL’s employment option,” said Head of Schools Sean Wilson at Wednesday night’s meeting of the school’s governing board. Creating the domestic partner benefit has two goals — one philosophical, and one practical, Wilson said.

International School of Louisiana poised to promote principal to new Head of Schools

With the departure of its school leader little more than a month away, the International School of Louisiana is preparing to promote the current principal of its Camp Street campus to lead the school system for the next three years. Five members of the school’s governing board said that principal Melanie Tennyson is the right person to continue the school’s success after the departure of Sean Wilson, who leaves July 1 to become the principal of International High School. She has long been considered ready for the job if Wilson ever left, noted board president Matt Amoss. “I think Melanie’s the right person for the job,” said board member Andrew Yon at a Wednesday night meeting of the Head of Schools committee. “New leadership coming in from the outside is frequently done to right the ship or change directions that the organization is going, and we don’t want to do that.

International School of Louisiana may name new leader this month

Although International School of Louisiana leader Sean Wilson will not depart for his new job until July, the charter school’s governing board may name a new Head of Schools this month, officials said Wednesday. After seven years at ISL, Wilson was chosen last month as the new leader of International High School, and his upcoming departure was the focus of much of the ISL’s monthly board meeting Wednesday night (held at the Hilton Garden Inn to coincide with a previously-planned event there). The board voted to convene a search committee for a new Head of Schools, and the committee will initially be comprised of current board members, said board president Matt Amoss. The committee’s meetings will be open to the public, however, and some parents or other community members may be added as non-voting members. The committee will meet on a weekly basis and likely name a successor to Wilson at the next full board meeting, currently scheduled for May 28, Amoss said after the meeting.

International School leader tapped as next head of immersion high school

Sean Wilson, who as Head of Schools presided over the International School of Louisiana’s long climb into the city’s top tier of open-enrollment charter schools, has been offered the job of leading the International High School next year, leaders there say. While the two charter schools share a number of goals (as well as the similar name), they are completely separate entities. The previous head of IHS, Anthony Amato, was serving his final year there when he unexpectedly died earlier this year, and Nan Ryan was named interim head while the school board continued its search for Amato’s successor. The IHS board hired a consulting firm that conducted a national search that led to progressively smaller pools of applicants, until the final seven met with IHS board members via Skype and were narrowed down to three — an educator in Pennsylvania, an assistant head at a Chinese-American school in San Francisco, and Wilson. The three candidates toured the school last week, and the school subsequently announced that Wilson has received the board’s nomination.

International School seeks new solutions to overcrowded Camp Street campus

In a conversation that will be very familiar to parents, the International School of Louisiana is again exploring a wide range of options to ease the overcrowding at its Camp Street campus — from reducing the number of students it accepts each year to leaving the site altogether. “[Facilities] is one of our biggest issues, as it is for many other charter schools,” said ISL board chair Matthew Amoss during the school’s monthly board meeting Wednesday. “We’re always cramped for space, and we always have way too many people wanting to come to ISL, more than we have spots.” ISL’s struggle with space issues at Camp Street has been growing year by year, as more students stay from its popular lower grades all the way into middle school. How to handle the problem dominated the school board’s meetings for much of the last school year, starting in October 2012 when the idea of moving Camp Street’s upper grades to Algiers drew large crowds of parents in opposition.

Credit-card use questioned at Sophie B. Wright; Bricolage to spend second year at Touro; ISL leads applications via OneApp

Independent auditors have raised questions about thousands of dollars of credit card spending at Sophie B. Wright Charter School; Bricolage Academy will spend a second year at its temporary home at Touro Infirmary; and the International School of Louisiana drew the most early applications of any school under the city’s new OneApp admissions process, according to recent reports. At Sophie B. Wright, auditors initially pointed out more than $14,000 in undocumented charges to school credit cards, but school officials say they have traced most of the spending to RTA bus tokens and office supplies, according to a report by Jessica Williams of The Lens. About $1,600 remains unaccounted for, Williams reports. Bricolage Academy, which opened this year in classrooms at Touro Synagogue, will spend another year there while the school administration searches for a new facility for the 2014-15 school year, according to a report by Sam Nelson for The Lens. The school’s 75 kindergarteners are showing strong growth in reading, Nelson reports.

International School of Louisiana receives state certification

The International School of Louisiana has been designated as one of the first state-certified World Language Immersion Schools, officials announced. The school will be given the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education seal of excellence for the quality and methods of teaching language immersion classes to children in New Orleans and Jefferson parish. For more information please refer to the following press release from the International School of Louisiana,
The International School of Louisiana is proud to announce its recent designation as a State-Certified World Language Immersion school. The high performing language immersion school has three campuses, two in Orleans and one in Jefferson Parish. The Louisiana State Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) has recognized ISL based on its overall excellence in offering high quality, highly effective world language immersion learning and teaching.

International School questions pace, scope of upcoming Camp Street renovations

A renovation project designed to seal the International School of Louisiana building on Camp Street from water intrusion and remove lead paint from its windows has yet to begin months behind schedule, and school officials are unsure whether the current plans preserve the historic nature of the building or when they will even begin. The renovation project is being coordinated by the Recovery School District and includes replacing the roof, repairing cracks in the outside walls and repairing or replacing the windows and doors to seal the building from water intrusion during rainstorms, among other items, said Aviva Le, the facilities director at the International School. During heavy rains, Le has to set up “irrigation systems” in certain classrooms to control the water coming in, she said. When the project will actually begin, however, is an open question. At a meeting with construction representatives in April, the International School was given a timeline that called for a contractor to be chosen over the summer, construction to begin in September and for the work to be complete by spring of 2014.