By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
After opening 4Points Academy four years ago, director Eustace Isadore is shifting gears and will leave the near 3,000-square-foot site in Steiner Ranch to go 100% virtual. The coronavirus pandemic caused the small, private school to make the major shift.
“We’re coming up to the end of the lease at the end of August. Six months paying large rent without revenues,” said Isadore, a Steiner Ranch resident who had to pay expenses out-of-pocket. “If the program is going to work, we’ll make it work online. We’ll transition out of that space and continue the academy online.”
Isidore and his wife Nesia Warner Isidore — both originally from the Caribbean — have other careers. He is a patent attorney who owns a law firm and she is a global trade consultant for a worldwide accounting firm. But they have a passion for education and started 4Points Academy four years ago this month.
“Once we finish the lease at the end of August… it will be a weight off our shoulder,” Isadore said. “We then can focus on educating.”
Their school has always been small. They currently have a “good, solid group” of nine students but would like to double enrollment over the next month, Isadore said. “The strength of our program is small class sizes.”
Why the shift?
“Coronavirus!” Isadore said.
They thought they’d be back a few weeks after spring break. They initially transitioned online with all nine teachers and students with curriculum and the students worked off of laptops. They thought they’d be doing that for maybe a month.
“Our online module worked so well and teachers were able to work one-on-one with students,” Isadore said. “Because we had that interface, everything was a lot more efficient.”
Also during the spring semester, teachers started to like it because there was no commute.
The school seemed to work but moving into the summer and the inability to host summer camps, like art and robotics, put an unforeseen dent in revenues.
As a businessperson, Isadore realized that it was “not going to work, we were still paying rent… We couldn’t afford to be in this situation, if we didn’t have a lot of students. We needed to find a way to make revenue.”
So as the pandemic drug on, he started thinking about the possibility for a permanent online transition. Earlier this month, the decision became final to stay online-only with the school and afterschool homework help and tutoring programs.
“We think we will be better able to navigate the academic environment with those students whose parents are normally at home and who need a good online option to keep their children safe, while ensuring that they are well educated in teacher-led classrooms,” he said.
The nine teachers — who rotate through the various classes including Spanish, math, Mandarin, language arts and art — are behind the idea.
The students are “as safe as the parents want them to be” with respect to COVID, Isadore said.
4Points follows the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and has full education through 8th grade. It also focuses on education based on academic level versus age, so the curriculum ties with level.
Businesses hurting from COVID-19 affects
By LYNETTE HAALAND
Four Points News
Eustace Isadore says businesses are feeling the hit from the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on the economy.
Isadore is an owner of an intellectual property law firm. To date, he has written and/or prosecuted over 1,000 patent applications, resulting in hundreds of patent issuances, and he has experience with IP licensing, enforcement and protection issues.
Isadore also opened 4Points Academy with his wife four years ago in Steiner Ranch.
“I’m doing what I love to do with the school, and what I’m trained to do with the (legal) job,” he shared.
They are closing down the physical location of their school and are shifting to online-only because of the virus.
“There are quite a few people who are in the same situation we are, they had to shut down their facility or put their business on hold,” he said.
Isadore has noticed over the last six months there’s not been as much legal work outsourced as usual.
Isadore saw this once before in 2008 with the housing market crash and now it’s happening again where attorneys are being laid off or salaries reduced or they’re not hiring associates or firms are delaying hiring.
He has also noticed their legal clients are “pulling back because they’re laying people off and reducing budgets.”
His wife, Nesia, is a part-time global trade consultant at an international accounting firm. She is also seeing the effects.
“As a service provider, their clients are not doing the projects they normally do. It’s affecting them also,” he said.
For 4Points Academy, they are still in the site in Quinlan Crossing until the end of August but Isadore has gotten calls from realtors who have commercial space available in other parts of Steiner. He has not experienced calls like that before.
In the shopping center which is anchored by Randalls, Galaxy Cafe and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf closed permanently in April. When he looks at the lower level parking lot in the center, there are only a handful of cars. He is hopeful business will return soon.
“I can tell they all have been affected,” he said.