Facility squared away; enrollment issue led to postponement
By Sharon Wisch-Ray
Staff members, teachers and students who planned to work at and attend the Hebrew language charter school Lone Star Language Academy found out Aug. 5 the school would not be opening this year.
The staff members were called into a meeting where they were informed of the postponement news. Families received a letter penned by CEO and President Shimon Goodman.
The school provided the TJP with the letter, which noted that while the academy found a “secure, safe and developmentally appropriate facility,” it was not able to enroll enough students.
“These delays impacted our ability to recruit and enroll students and have ultimately led us to the decision to postpone the opening of the school year from this upcoming Aug. 22, 2016, to next August 2017,” the letter read.
Goodman did not respond to the TJP’s request for comment by press time.
While Superintendent Nammie Ichilov deferred comment to the Goodman letter, he did express his disappointment that the charter school did not come to fruition this year. “Our intention from the get-go was to meet the (Texas Education Agency’s) timeline in order to open up with the projected number of students. However, due to a number of challenges beyond the school’s control — the No. 1 being securing a facility in time to do a full recruitment — we had less than the number we needed to move forward.”
With the Democracy Drive facility set, the school plans to recruit for a full year and open next fall.
“Many have told us they are excited about next year,” said Ichilov, who moved to the Dallas area last month.
About 11 teachers, many well-known to the Jewish community, are now looking for jobs.
“We had an amazing staff ready to go,” said Ichilov. “We fully expect to have the same or equally impressive professionals for next year.”
To inquire about the school visit LSLacademy.org, call 972-696-9461 or email info@LSLacademy.org.
Letter sent to parents
“Dear Lone Star Language Academy Families,
“Almost a year ago we shared joy at learning that the Lone Star Language Academy, our labor of the last several years, was authorized to open a charter school in Plano. This began a journey that we have traveled together in these last several months to find a suitable location for the school and a diligent search for a distinguished educator to lead our efforts. We were successful on both of these efforts.
“Our location at Democracy Drive meets our needs well and Mr. Nammie Ichilov has turned out to be the gifted educator that we were seeking. It is with deep regret, however, to share with you that we have not been successful in our last important effort, the enrollment of students. While we finalized a secure, safe, and developmentally appropriate facility, we were not able to do so early enough so as to have an effective recruitment season. This success followed several other unsuccessful efforts to find a location for our school. These delays impacted our ability to recruit and enroll students and have ultimately led us to the decision to postpone the opening of the school year from this upcoming Aug. 22, 2016, to next August 2017.
“Although our hope was that we could still secure the necessary enrollments prior to the opening of school to continue to move forward, we concluded at our board meeting that it was best to regroup and open school in the following year. Our decision was based on our commitment to provide your children with the best educational experience possible. We will not waver or compromise in our commitment to you and your child.
“The community has demonstrated great interest in a Hebrew language academy and we are grateful and appreciative of your support. Given the additional time that we will now have to fine tune our program, recruit staff and complete renovations, we are going to launch a comprehensive recruitment campaign starting in the next several weeks for the coming 2017-2018 academic year.
“We are fortunate to have a great staff of dedicated and professional people, and are heartened by their commitment and support of our mission and vision and joining our team. Our hope is to reengage you, our committed families, our incredible staff and faculty, and the broader supportive community, as we focus our objective with the infrastructure built over these last few months.
“We know that this decision will impact you in various ways. Please feel free to contact me and Mr. Ichilov and other school staff if we can somehow assist you in transitioning to an alternative program.”