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Delta Charter School looking at ways to accommodate abundance of students

FERRIDAY — Administrators of the new Concordia Parish charter school say they’re working to find ways to accommodate the number of students applying to enroll in August.

“We’ve got a full slate of children enrolled ready to go for the first day, but we have more than 60 children on the waiting list and more coming in every day asking if they can sign up,” Delta Charter board member Craig Jackson said. “You could say we’re at capacity right now with the 276 students we planned for, but we’re currently trying to get situated to possibly accommodate more students.

“The enrollment definitely exceeded our expectations.”

The Delta Charter group, which was organized to help push the charter school’s creation after Huntington School closed in May 2010, received final approval in January.

The Delta Charter School will have a math, science and technology curriculum and will serve kindergarten through ninth-grade students.

The charter school is located at the old Huntington School building on Lynwood Drive.

Jackson, who is one of two founders of the Delta Charter group, said crews are currently working to renovate the building and preparing to install technology equipment.

“The school is completely functional right now, but there are some walls that need a new coat of paint, some air conditioners we need to install and things like that,” Jackson said. “Part of our goal at the charter school is to have state-of-the-art technology, so we’re wiring the whole building getting it ready for all the technology we’ll have coming in.”

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

School Director Clovis Christman of Monroe, La., said he’s currently interviewing teachers and preparing the school’s curriculum.

“The closer we get to the first day, the more emphasis we’re putting on getting our teachers here and situated,” Christman said. “Like everybody else, we’re working on our curriculum right now and making sure it aligns with state standards.”

Jackson said he’s also working to establish the school’s athletic program.

The school will be referred to as the Delta Storm for athletic and mascot purposes.

“The athletics and extra-curricular activities are looking extremely well, and we’re trying to fill in sports teams across the board,” Jackson said. “Football is barreling down on us time-wise, but it looks like we’ll be able to schedule some junior high games if we can get a coach in place to prepare the kids to have a positive experience.

“We’ll definitely have softball, baseball, basketball and even tennis and golf if there are students who want to do that.”

Jackson said applications for enrollment are still available at the school but that all students will be put on a waiting list for now.

“If we’re able to accommodate more students or some spots become available, the people on the waiting list will be the first ones we call,” Jackson said. “Right now, everything looks really good, and we’re really excited for our first day.”

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.