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2014 May 23 - 04:09 pm

La. Charter School Finds New Home at College

Closure Threat Abates as Baton Rouge Schools Eye Long-Term Partnership

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A career-oriented high school in Baton Rouge on the verge of closing will remain open at least one more year thanks to help from Baton Rouge Community College.

College Chancellor Andrea Miller has offered to provide Career Academy space for about 250 students at the former Capitol Area Technical College, now known as the Acadian campus of Baton Rouge Community College.

“The mission of the school is aligned with the programming and training of the Acadian campus and I am committed to a long-term mutually beneficial partnership,” Miller wrote in a letter.

The Acadian campus offers training in everything from machine tools to cosmetology.

Nancy Roberts, executive director of the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators, said the Career Academy informed students, parents and staff on Wednesday.

“We are thrilled and excited about the partnership,” said Roberts, who helped found the charter school in summer 2011. “This is going to be great for the kids.”

Unable to find a place to hold school this fall, the school’s board of directors voted on April 16 to close the doors of Career Academy when this school year ends in late May, but delayed a decision on rescinding the school’s charter in case an operating location emerged.

Parents had pleaded with school administrators to keep the school open.

Roberts has spent years trying to find a permanent home for the school.

Career Academy holds its core classes at the former Brookstown Elementary School, but offers automotive, welding, scaffolding and culinary classes at Capitol High School.

Roberts sought unsuccessfully through the state-run Recovery School District to let the school make Capitol High its permanent home.

Roberts said Miller immediately saw the value of Career Academy after visiting the school.

“By allowing the Career Academy high school to locate on our campus, opportunities will be created and enhanced for the benefit of the students and the families of the capital area,” Miller wrote in her letter.

Career Academy has undergone a succession of leaders, changes in teaching staff, high-profile student fights and low test scores even as it has struggled to find a permanent home.

The school got an F academic rating from the state its first two years in operation. Despite its negative label, though, the charter school’s enrollment has continued to increase.

The current leadership believes things have turned around and that the school’s grade will improve in the next two years.

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