International School to discuss lease of land next door on Camp Street

The International School of Louisiana governing board will discuss a proposal to lease a lot next door to their flagship campus on Camp Street for recreation space at a meeting at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 25). The land at 1376 Camp Street owned by Coliseum Place Baptist Church would cost the school approximately $1,000 a month over the next three years, according to a proposed lease included with the meeting agenda. The land would be used for “additional recreational/playground space for Lessee’s programs, activities and events,” the lease states. Growth issues at the Camp Street facility have dominated the board’s discussions over the past year, and Wednesday’s agenda also includes an item to begin working on a permanent facilities plan for the school’s future.

International School’s modular buildings unlikely to be in place by start of school

Bureaucratic hoops have delayed the installation of modular classrooms at the International School of Louisiana’s Camp Street campus beyond the hope of having them in place for the start of the next school year, suggesting that some students will spend the first month or so of school traveling to the Westbank for classes, officials said Wednesday. Although the school sits in the Lower Garden District neighborhood, it does not need the approval of the city’s Historic District Landmarks Commission to install the temporary classrooms, officials have said. But the school must still appear in a public hearing before the HDLC before it can receive a building permit to begin the installation, said Head of Schools Sean Wilson, and the school’s plan is not on the HDLC agenda until July 18. “We have to go through that process,” board chair Andrew Yon said during Wednesday’s meeting of the school board. Even under a best-case scenario in which the school receives a building permit immediately following that hearing — which there is no guarantee of, either, board members noted — the modular classrooms will take three days for delivery, followed by at least four weeks to install them, Wilson said.

International School plans $16 million budget for coming year

After an initial budget proposal that showed a $700,000 shortfall, the International School of Louisiana held a public hearing on a balanced $16 million budget that increases fundraising expectations but reduces spending on counseling services and recalculates employee benefits, according to a report by Emmanuel Felton of The Lens.

International School sees increase in LEAP scores at Camp Street, gets first results for Jefferson Parish expansion

The number of International School of Louisiana students at the Camp Street campus who passed state standardized tests showed another slight increase this year, officials said, and praised the scores recorded at the Jefferson Parish expansion campus as a “familiar” baseline to start from. “We knock it out of the park in terms of where the state is, where the parishes are,” said Head of Schools Sean Wilson at Wednesday night’s board meeting. “It doesn’t mean we rest on our laurels. It means we now look at where we can improve.” Camp Street
At the Camp Street campus, 92.5 percent of students scored at Basic or above in English Language Arts, and 93.7 percent of students passed the math exam.

International School, neighbors reluctantly press forward with modular classrooms for Camp Street

Neither the leaders of the International School of Louisiana nor their closest neighbors are particularly happy about the decision, but modular buildings appear to be the only available solution remaining to ease the overcrowding expected at the Camp Street campus next year. Now, the primary question left to answer is how long the modulars will stay on the Magazine Street side of the campus — two years, five, or much longer? About 50 people showed up for Wednesday night’s meeting of the ISL governing board, most of them parents simply eager to see a resolution after the school’s previous plan for a satellite campus unexpectedly fell through. No other nearby properties are available with the right configuration to hold the school’s fourth and fifth grades, officials said, and the process of converting a building would last well into next school year — which would require yet another temporary place for those students in the meantime. The school already has a contract in place for modulars at the Algiers campus, which would allow it to move quickly in placing similar buildings at the Camp Street campus.

International School turns to modular building on Magazine Street to ease crowding in Camp Street building

With little time to find an emergency solution to overcrowding at its Camp Street campus, the International School of Louisiana will install a modular classroom on a rear corner at Magazine and Euterpe, officials announced to neighbors this week. The school leadership deliberated for months on how to handle rising enrollment in its upper grades at Camp Street, finally settling on a satellite campus in an office building on Thalia several months ago. As lease negotiations progressed, however, the building was suddenly sold to a new buyer that refused to rent the space to the school, ISL officials announced earlier this month. In a letter dated Wednesday, ISL Head of School Sean Wilson informed neighbors that the administration’s solution for the 2013-14 school year will be a modular classroom in a yard at the corner of Magazine and Euterpe. The school’s governing board will be discussing the decision at 6 p.m. today (Wednesday, April 24) at the school.

International School plan to expand Camp Street to Thalia building falls through

A hard-won plan to create a satellite building for the International School of Louisiana’s Camp Street campus in a Thalia Street office complex fell through this week when the site was unexpectedly sold, officials said. The building in the 1500 block of Thalia would have housed the school’s fourth and fifth grades next year to ease overcrowding at the original Camp Street campus. As recently as two weeks ago, school officials said at a board meeting that they were finalizing the lease and planning the renovations to convert it into classrooms with no problems on the horizon. This week, however, school officials announced to parents that the Thalia Street property had just been sold, and that the new owners do not want to lease it. Board president Andrew Yon confirmed on Friday that the property is no longer an option, and said school administrators are now “developing backup options to share with the board.”

International School of Louisiana in ‘great position’ for charter renewal, state official says

With rising test scores and strong finances, the International School of Louisiana stands to fare well when its charter comes back up for renewal in two years, a state official told the school board Wednesday evening. For the 2011-2012 school year, ISL’s scores earned the school a performance score of 118.5, a B grade just two points shy of an A under the current system. The grading scale will shift this year — with schools receiving less credit for struggling students but more credit for those who show improvement — but the growth shown by ISL exceeded expectations, said Marian Schutte of the Louisiana Department of Education. ISL’s charter is up for renewal in 2015, and under new guidelines approved by the state, it will be evaluated in terms of both its organizational strength and financial health, Schutte said. Overall, however, the school is currently showing no red flags, she said told the ISL board in a visit to their monthly meeting.

International School to ease Camp Street crowding with satellite campus on Thalia Street

The International School of Louisiana is set to begin negotiating a lease for a building on Thalia Street that could create 10 classes for its fourth- and fifth-grade students next year, easing overcrowding at its main Camp Street campus for the foreseeable future and ending a controversy that three months ago had many parents considering leaving the school. While ISL has not added new classes at its Camp Street building, increasing numbers of students are remaining at the school into the upper grades, straining the building’s capacity of roughly 600. Rooms that were once used for art or other enrichment activities were converted into more homerooms, and administrators have known for months that no more space would be available for the students who return next year. The satellite campus at 1516-30 Thalia St., currently an office building, will be converted into 10 classrooms to hold the school’s fourth and fifth grade classes, with two enrichment-style classes for them. The middle grades were chosen for a variety of reasons: Logistically, they can walk back to Camp Street with a teacher for services like the library or after-care with relative ease, unlike younger children.