Charter school construction

The new home for Lake Charles College Prep, currently under construction, is expected to open in June.

All three schools in the Lake Charles Charter School system have fully re-opened after sustaining a range of damages from Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Henry Mancuso, acting superintendent, said the campuses each have punch list items left to complete in the coming weeks but otherwise it’s back to business.

“We put a priority on getting kids and students into the classroom for in person learning. We just made the decision...Let the work proceed and we’ll then procure and secure the funds through whatever means necessary with priority always kept on getting those kids back into school.”

Lake Charles Charter Academy and Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy were initially sharing facilities after the storms until LCCA could come back online. Now that both schools are back at their home campuses, kindergarten through eighth grade has re-opened for

a full five-day schedule.

Mancuso joked that his six-year-old nephew was hesitant about resuming the full-time schedule. “I assured him that at six years old he’d have enough energy to go five days a week. But they do kind of get out of the habit and out of that routine.”

Similarly, Lake Charles College Prep has resumed its pre-hurricane hybrid model of instruction with students alternating days on campus. “Students, particularly high school, really need that routine,” he said.

While campuses have re-opened, each of the charter schools still maintain their fully virtual option for families. While a few families elected to continue or switch to the virtual option at the start of the spring semester, Mancuso said that many opted to return to campus. “I was expecting that to happen because both students and parents were ready for students to get back into school, a learning community. They recognize that virtual learning is a substitute but it’s certainly not a great substitute. Nothing can really replace in person learning.”

Recalling a baby shark dissection he recently witnessed in a biology classroom, he added, “You just cannot do that virtually.”

Work on LCCP’s new permanent home, adjacent to its current temporary location on Power Centre Parkway, continues though it faced a $1 million setback from the storms.

“Builder’s risk insurance paid for those damages and we’re now targeting June 18 as the completion date,” Mancuso said.

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