Magnolia Charter School finishes first year on track - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Magnolia Charter School finishes first year on track

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The first new school to be built in Caddo parish in more than two decades, opened it's doors to students a little more than a year ago.

This was the the first year for the Magnolia Charter School of Excellence.

And there is already a waiting list for students to get in for the 2014-2015 school year.

But has the school risen to exceptions by helping students reach their educational goals?

And what makes the charter school so successful?

Those are the questions Assignment education reporter Crystal Whitman asked as 3 investigates.

It's the latest trend in education charter schools springing up across the nation and now Charter Schools USA, which opened the newly built Magnolia School of Excellence, in August 2013.

Dr. Phillip Rozeman is on the board for the school. He says through ups and downs, they had an excellent first year.

"The educational model being used at the school is something that is going to just continue to be better and better overtime," said Dr. Rozeman.

Principal Pamela Barker says the k-6th school, achieved high academic measures on state exams.

"Our third grade scores where extremely high comparatively to Caddo as well as to the state. We are extremely excited about looking at those third grade scores because those will be our students to move to fourth grade," said Barker.

Taking a look at the numbers, that is a drastic contrast to the school's fourth grade students I-Leap score of 44 in basic skills.

The numbers are similar in comparison to Riverside Elementary School, who scored a 43 in basic skills.

A.C. Steere Elementary School scored 46 in basic skills.

University Elementary scored 44.

45 % received free-and reduced lunch for the first year.

40% for Riverside Elementary.

41 % A.C. Steere Elementary.

50% University Elementary.

"Magnolia School of Excellence Charter School USA really brings a specific educational model that is very student centered. Lots of parental involvement; great teaching staff; great educational model,so we really are bringing something different and excellent to Caddo Parish," said Barker.

Others in the community disagree.

"Magnolia Charter says that we can provide you with everything that this public system did not provide you, but there are going to be a criteria you have to meet in order to become or even stay apart of this Magnolia family. We should not be regulated to that. We should say we are interested in every child in Caddo Parish having the opportunity to receive the best educational opportunities that are available to them," said resident, Jon Glover.

Despite the fact that there is no bus service offered at the school, Barker says attendance scores remained high.

"We where extremely pleased. Our attendance rate is as we looked at our data just last week for the end of the year really was at about 98%," said Barker.

Riverside Elementary, A.C. Steere Elementary and University Elementary Schools had an attendance rate of 96%.

If the school fails to show success the doors will close they have a couple of years to prove themselves not only to the community but also to the state.

Students will return to class on August 11th. 

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