Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • McCoy on first semester

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  • Most folks who know Roy McCoy know he likes fast cars. He doesn't drive them fast, but he enjoys having a car with get up and go, one that will make it from zero to 60 mph in a hurry.
    In the last 12 months, McCoy has gone from being part of a group that was standing at the starting line with a good idea to having one semester as principal of Beekman Charter School.
    In his 15th year at Beekman, McCoy was chosen by the Beekman Charter School (BCS) Board of Directors to serve as principal of the school. When the Morehouse Parish School Board voted to grant the school its charter on Jan. 8, 2013, it left McCoy and other school officials little time to get a lot accomplished.
    They worked out undisclosed financial considerations to lease the facilities the school occupies from the Morehouse Parish School System. They held open admissions for all students in Morehouse Parish. They attended job fairs at all three area universities to complete their faculty.
    Teachers are given the freedom to, as one parent put it, "think outside the box." Tonya Armfield has two sons attending BCS. One had struggles with his studies in the past and is now an A and B student.
    "Rather than strict guidelines, they're allowed to use different methods to reach and work with the students," Armfield said. "The improvements aren't just in their grades either. They're learning more and retaining what they learn."
    Keith Huntsman is chairman of Beekman Friends and Alumni, the non-profit organization that operates the school. Huntsman said he and other school officials felt they had attracted the best faculty possible, but it's what they do outside the traditional classroom that has been a pleasant surprise.
    "They put in extra effort with after-school tutoring programs two days a week," Huntsman said. "It's unexpected things like that which help us offer the best possible education to our students."
    The school contracted with 4th Sector Solutions to navigate the maze of budgeting for expenses ranging from contracts with the School System to payroll. In addition to leasing the facilities, Beekman contacts with the MPSS to provide transportation, nutrition and psychological services for students. The school's revenue comes from Minimum Foundation Program funds that are funneled through the School System and through a proportionate share the property taxes collected in that part of the parish.
    When the open enrollment was held in February 2013, McCoy said there were more applications than available slots. First preference is given to students living within the school's attendance zone.
    "We've had some students who moved away or left for other reasons who were replaced by students on the waiting list," McCoy said. "And having a waiting list shows that people are interested in the type of education we're able to offer."
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