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First new public high school for LC in decades set for first year

Last Modified: Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:43 AM

By Kara Carrier / American Press

The first charter high school in Calcasieu Parish will open its doors in mid-August with about 110 ninth-grade students.

Lake Charles College Prep, at 2750 Power Centre Parkway, will be the Lake Area’s first new public high school in more than 40 years, said Deborah Frank, school principal.

Frank said she and staff members have been busy preparing for the first day of school — Aug. 13 — and a parent-student orientation session, set for 3-6 p.m. Aug. 7.

During the orientation, many details such as student identification cards, class schedules and transportation, will be taken care of so the first day of school will run smoothly.

“It won’t be perfect, but it will be as near perfect as we can get it,” she said. “We have some great people on board, and we’re all going to be wearing many different hats. It’s going to take all of us to do whatever it takes to make this school get up off the ground and be successful.”

The school will grow and add a grade each year until it’s a complete high school. Frank said she expects enrollment next year to triple.

She said she is excited and impressed with her staff’s qualifications and education experience. She said most have master’s degrees or are working toward one. But Frank said the most important attribute of her staff members is that they all want to be a part of the school.

“Like the parents who have chosen to send their kids here, we have employees and teachers who have chosen to come here because they want to make a difference,” she said. “We all see this as an opportunity to really make that happen for some students who really need us.”

Shannon McSwain, the school’s English language arts teacher, said her goal is to have students become better readers, writers and critical thinkers in all subject areas. “We are college prep, so we want them to be prepared for the rigorous college curriculum — whether it’s a four-year college, two-year college or technical college — that they will be getting into one day,” McSwain said.

Marcus Simon, the school’s physical education teacher and basketball/track coach, said he has met some students and parents, adding that he is excited to be a part of history.

“To be the first brand-new public high school in the last 40 years, to be a part of it at the groundbreaking level, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “It’s special to be a part of something like that and be a part of change.”

Simon said he is looking forward to building a solid high school athletic program. He said the school plans to compete in basketball and track this year and become a Louisiana High School Athletic Association member next year. The school will start a football program in 2016.

Frank said the school will offer the same clubs and activities that most high schools have such as cheerleading and student council. “That’s so much a part of the high school experience, and students should have those things,” she said.



Posted By: Vicki Russell On: 7/25/2014

Title: Charter School

Is this a type 2 or a type 5 school?

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