Delta Charter School in Ferriday gets approval

Published 12:05am Monday, January 7, 2013

FERRIDAY — A storm brewing in Ferriday since 2010 appears ready to rain in August with the opening of the Delta Charter School.

The Delta Charter group, which was organized to help push the school’s creation after Huntington School closed in May 2010, received its final approval Friday in the form of a signed consent order by a federal judge.

Because Concordia Parish is under a federal desegregation order, the group had to meet with U.S. Department of Justice officials for desegregation requirements before being allowed to open its doors.

Delta Charter board member Craig Jackson, one of two founders of the board and owner of Cash Express in Vidalia, said receiving the signed consent order will allow the board to move full speed ahead with the project.

“It’s been a long battle and a long process, but now we don’t have anything holding us back,” Jackson said. “There’s only so much work you want to do with having the idea that you might not get there in the back of your mind, but that’s not an issue anymore.

“Now it’s going to get a lot more fun and exciting because we know this is actually going to happen now.”

Clovis Christman of Monroe, La., was selected as administrator for the charter school in June, and said the signed consent order will allow him to begin putting together the building blocks of the school.

“Now that we have this legal process behind us, we can start concentrating on the curriculum and the things that are going to be most important for the students,” Christman said. “Here we are in January, and it sounds like we have a lot of time, but we’ll be real busy in the next few months connecting all the dots and getting everything ready to go.”

The board’s current goal, Jackson said, is to have the school open in August at the site of the former Huntington School building on Lynwood Drive.

The school, which will be referred to as the Delta Storm for athletic and mascot purposes, will have a math, science and technology curriculum and will serve kindergarten through ninth-grade students.

“We’re happy to be able to offer another choice in the area, and the school will have a very strict discipline policy as well as strict academics,” Jackson said. “We definitely have a great program in place for the curriculum, but it’s not going to be easy.

“We’re going to challenge the students.”

The charter school’s curriculum will use a program called Project Lead the Way, which engages students in activities, projects and problem-based learning.

Rudy Hennigan of Robeline, La., who was selected as curriculum coordinator for the school in June, is a certified instructor in the program.

“I’m looking forward to sitting down with Rudy and getting all the pieces together for the school’s curriculum,” Christman said. “The other important thing is to plan public meetings because there’s a lot of misconceptions about what charter schools are, and we want to make sure the public understands our goals.”

Charter schools are publicly-funded, independently-operated public schools that do not charge tuition or fees, are open to all students who wish to attend and cannot discriminate when making enrollment decisions.

The charter school in Ferriday will be a “type-two” charter school, which means it can draw students from the entire state and is not bound to the parish.

The student population of the charter school, however, must reflect the at-risk population in the district where the school is located.

Jackson said the board would be meeting within the week to determine exact dates for early enrollment.

“We’re thinking the earliest would be around Feb. 1 and the latest by March 1, but we definitely want to do it sooner rather than later,” Jackson said. “We want to get all that kind of information together soon, so we can send it out the public and get everyone on board.”

  • Anonymous

    I felt so elated to have read this wonderful news this morning! Children in our area (particularly Ridgecrest/Ferriday) deserve more options and this is a wonderful plan. I am looking forward to seeing new methods that will come along with the fruition of this decision to better the quality of the education of our children as compared to what Ferriday public school methods are and their proven failing records. This is a win for Ferriday.