Louisiana Premier Charter School offers “choice” for St. John

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, August 22, 2018

RESERVE — Louisiana Premier Charter School board members view tuition-free educational choices as the wave of the future.

Board president Mark Roussel wants St. John the Baptist Parish to emulate the success of the Kenner Discovery Charter School, which gives all families, wealthy or poor, a voice in their child’s educational path.

“We want to keep St. John moving forward,” Roussel said. “Charter schools give everyone a choice, not just the people who can afford to send their children to private schools. It’s what’s moving the rest of the country.”

After a multi-year process, Louisiana Premier has received approval from the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board to begin educating students in St. John the Baptist Parish for the 2019-20 academic year.

The contract agreed to at last week’s School Board meeting must still receive Department of Justice and federal court approval.

If approved, Louisiana Premier will launch next year in Reserve as a kindergarten through ninth grade campus, educating 50 students per grade in kindergarten through eighth and 75 students in ninth grade.

The location will not be finalized until mid-October, and Roussel said there’s a tentative agreement to operate at 3556 W. Airline Highway, the site of the old Reserve Christian.

Other options in Reserve cannot be publicly shared at this time, he said.

Each year, the school will expand one grade level until the school reaches full capacity as a 750-student, kindergarten-through-12th grade campus.

Roussel is confident the contract will be uncontested by the Department of Justice and federal court, and he expects final approval to come by late November.

“We want people to know we’re going to move forward,” Roussel said. “We are preparing to put up a full website where students can apply for enrollment. By late 2018 or early 2019, we’ll start the hiring application and interview process.”

Alison Andrews has already been named the Louisiana Premier School Leader for the 2019-20 school year.

With experience working as a supervisor of magnet programs, principal, guidance counselor and classroom teacher, Andrews is excited to educate students in an environment that promotes learning through hands-on, creative problem solving.

“We are giving parents another choice to have their children attend school in an energizing climate where students can learn to think outside of the box,” Andrews said. “Teaching isn’t just standing in the front and lecturing. We’re going to discover, explore and find solutions to problems.”

According to Andrews, parents will have opportunities to participate in several school events.

Though enrollment priority will be given to students outside the public school system, Andrews said Louisiana Premiere is open to all students in St. John Parish.

The community will remain informed about Louisiana Premier prior to its opening through community forums in the spring.

Roussel said charter schools correlate with increased performance in public schools.

“Competition drives a capitalist society,” Roussel said. “It makes you better.”