SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Caddo Parish School Board is defending its decision to renew the charter of a failing local school for three more years.
he Louisiana Department of Education handed the Magnolia School of Excellence a 'D' in 2016 and an 'F' in 2017. Dr. Lamar Goree, the superintendent of Caddo Parish schools, said the renewal continues to give students an educational option in the parish outside of traditional public schools.
Goree said the renewal does not come without some stipulations.
"We are requiring them first and foremost to implement a tier one curriculum across the board...those are going to be your most challenging curriculums in every different subject," Goree said. "We're doing everything to protect the children and make sure they're getting the best education possible."
Goree said the CPSB will also conduct annual academic audits on Magnolia, as well as require the charter school to input student grades into the Caddo Parish School Board's "Student Information System."
"There are certain things that must be in place if we are going to continue to renew this charter," said Goree.
Kim Derrick, the new principal of the Magnolia School of Excellence, said the charter school is tackling its present challenges head-on on.
"I think there are four areas that we've identified that we need to work on," Derrick said.
Derrick stated the school's curriculum, professional development, tutoring programs and individualized attention is where the school is falling short.
Like everything new, Derrick said starting with a new curriculum has presented its fair share of challenges for faculty at Magnolia.
"Anytime you implement new curriculum, it's difficult because it's brand new," Derrick said. "Teachers have to learn it, have to study it, understand it and be able to present it well."
But, although the CPSB voted overwhelmingly to renew the school's charter, there are still some critics of Magnolia's place in Caddo Parish.
"I'm suggesting Caddo Parish look at Magnolia and put them on a year-to-year basis instead of a 3-year contract," said Lloyd Thompson, president of Shreveport's NAACP chapter. "If we aren't strong and say 'hey, it's wrong over there like it's wrong everywhere else, then we're doing an injustice to the young folks."
If you want to see how your child's school has been graded by the Louisiana Department of Education, click here.