BESE committee approves expansion at Impact Elementary Charter School

BAKER, LA (WAFB) - Charter schools were under the microscope of BESE's School Innovation and Turnaround Committee during its last meeting.

The committee reviewed the latest performance scores for dozens of charter schools in the state of Louisiana.

Among those is Impact Charter Elementary School in Baker. Thanks to the committee, the school may soon add "middle school" to its title.

"There's been stability in the staff, very intensive academic intervention and they've really stabilized the culture for academic excellence," said BESE member Jada Lewis. "So, it was a great opportunity for them to continue serving."

Impact Charter Elementary opened in 2014 and currently serves more than 350 students in pre-k through 5th grade. At the request of students and parents, the school plans to expand and add on 6th through 8th grades.

"To continue to develop kids and their academics to get them where they need to be so that by the time they finish 8th grade, they'll be ready to enter into a high quality high school," said Chakesha Scott, the school's founder and CEO.

The expansion was hard fought. Just a few years ago, the charter school was struggling with its BESE scores, receiving a 43.5 or "F" letter equivalent. Scott said the school worked hard to turn things around. In 2016, it improved its score to 58 or "D" letter equivalent. That increase earned the school a Top Gains recognition in 2016.

"We did that through intervention methods, working around the clock, using our data to drive our instruction, identifying those kids struggled in certain areas and providing resources to help them build those skills in those areas," Scott explained.

BESE is expected to give final approval to the expansion in its regular March board meeting. If all goes well, the expansion will start with the 6th grade class in the fall. The 7th and 8th grades will be added on over the following two years.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.