Oct 162012
 

Allegations that Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans is structured to favor well-off students and that it does not appropriately serve the city’s African-American population resurfaced on Tuesday afternoon when a series of complaints about the new French-immersion charter school were aired before the state education board in Baton Rouge.

Among the complaints were that the school has failed to follow through on an outreach program to a Central City daycare promised in its charter, that it is using state money to subsidize its private preschool, that students in the school’s new second grade are not being given adequate remedial instruction in French and that state education officials are intentionally ignoring those issues. No action was taken on the complaints, but the board asked its staff to investigate the claims and report its findings next month at a meeting in New Orleans.

Lycee Francais, unlike most charter schools in New Orleans, is authorized directly by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, rather than through the Recovery School District or the Orleans Parish School Board. At a meeting of the BESE school improvement committee Tuesday afternoon in Baton Rouge, board member Lottie Beebe of Breaux Bridge requested a report on Lycee Francais because of concerns she said her constituents have expressed to her.

State Superintendent John White then touched on a few of the basics regarding the school, such as its current enrollment and the fact that it has a separate preschool but does not give any preference to kindergarten admissions other than for siblings of current students.

White said he was “not aware of any issues that require an individual report.” At Beebe’s questioning, he re-emphasized that preschool students are not given automatic admission into kindergarten.

Last year, the school’s first year of operations, preschool parents were assured that their children would be granted admission to kindergarten. When questions about the propriety of that arrangement arose, the school vowed to expand large enough to accommodate current preschool children plus any others that applied, growing the class from two sections with 40 students to four sections with 100.

Board member Carolyn Hill of Baton Rouge, however, said she had visited the school in the past week and had concerns of her own.

“When I look at the diversity of the school, when I look at the number of minority children, I can count them on two hands and maybe one foot,” Hill said.

White said that the state has already expressed its own concerns about the diversity of the school, and that Lycee Francais is making improvement. After an extensive outreach using radio ads and flyers to predominantly black neighborhoods last year during admissions, White said Lycee Francais now has a minority population of about 30 percent. (By comparison, Lycee had about 15 percent nonwhite students last year, Lusher had 48 percent, Audubon Charter had 62 percent and International School had 71 percent; the nonwhite population of New Orleans is about 67 percent.)

“The percentage is increasing,” White said. “They’re making efforts to move in the right direction.”

White also suggested that the demographics of Lycee Francais may be influenced by the location of its Patton Street campus in a predominantly white part of the city. The school located there last year, Milestone SABIS, was 1 percent white.

The first parent to speak in response was Nadia Casimir, who has a child in kindergarten and one in the new second grade. Casimir said her older daughter is new to the French program this year, and that she has never received any assistance catching up with the rest of the class, though that was promised to her. Both the summer programs and the after-school programs require tuition that she can’t afford, she said.

White, however, said his understanding is that the school is paying for the remedial programs, as they should be.

LFNO Board Chair Jean Montes then spoke, agreeing with White that the summer program is free and that the school has a French interventionist tasked with helping students like Casimir’s daughter. The interventionist should be able to design an after-school program for her at no charge, Montes said.

“Our system is designed to help every single student in the second grade to reach the potential of the French program,” Montes said.

Next to speak was Danna Connerly, parent of a kindergarten student. She said she started her daughter in preschool last year at the zoo campus, but didn’t like the outdoor aspects of the arrangement and pulled her daughter out several weeks later. When she tried to enroll for in kindergarten at the new campus, she was told if she didn’t pay her outstanding fees from preschool, her daughter would not be admitted, she told the board. And when her daughter was enrolled, she was placed in a classroom that had a disproportionate number of minorities, she said.

Her complaints have fallen on deaf ears, she said. She has taken them all the way to Raphael Gang in the school choice office, she said, but the department continues to issue favorable reports on the school with no mentions of the problems she raised.

“Without minorities, you do not have a viable program,” Connerly said. “Don’t use minorities to get your charter approved.”

Linda and Harold McMillian of the First Steps daycare center on South Claiborne then pointed to the Lycee Francais charter, which refers to a partnership with First Steps under its mission statement and then contains the following paragraph on page 24:

Lycée Français is partnering with First Steps, a New Orleans day care center that serves at-risk children. LFNO will provide a French teacher, funded through a grant, to teach French to one and two year olds who attend the center. Because early childhood is the optimal time for language development, LFNO’s objective is to work in partnership with this neighborhood day care center to provide opportunities for their children to develop skills in the French language. This is LFNO’s opportunity to establish yet another Outreach Program to give back to our community, and to expand future educational opportunities for the children’s parents to consider.

First Steps met with Lycee officials in 2010, a year before the school opened, and then never heard from them again, Linda McMillian said. She said didn’t even know the school had opened until recently, and that no such partnership has ever taken place.

“To me they have no integrity, they need to be looked upon, because basically they are telling a fib to get what they want accomplished,” McMillian said.

Finally, Lee Barrios, a retired teacher from St. Tammany Parish, said she had her own concerns about the structure of the school. If a private preschool is being housed in a building paid for with state money, isn’t it implicitly being supported by tax money? Barrios asked — echoing an issue raised by former LFNO board member Allen Kelly in May prior to his resignation.

“It’s still state funded,” Barrios said. “If they’re enjoying the benefits of that building, it’s taxpayer paid.”

After those concerns were raised, BESE member Kira Orange Jones asked for more concrete “next steps.” After directing White to look into the concerns, the committee chose to hear his findings at the next BESE meeting about RSD issues, which are held in New Orleans. That meeting is scheduled for Nov. 14, according to the board calendar.

Tuesday’s meeting was streamed live via the BESE website, but the video of the completed meeting has not yet been posted.

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  • Louie

    FINALLY!

  • kally

    The crime here is that BESE has known about these practices for over a year!!! BESE needs to be called out on its failure to oversee this and other charters ( although this one is the poster child for cherry picking in charter schools) This charter should lose it federal start up money period. This is the second year in a row it seems to be using our tax dollars to fund its private preschool. This is a federal crime. It would also seem that their charter should come into question as they falsely claimed to partner with a central city day care for their plan on how they would recruit minorities and at risk children. Shame on you Lycee, 40 black children, 300 white children, these numbers do not lie !!!! This did not pass the smell test last year and it does not pass the test this year. BESE why the cover up? Lycee Parents why are you not outraged? New Orleans needs you to hold your board accountable for misuse of federal funds and outright raciscm!!!

    • concerned

      Racism? Are you kidding me? Charters may not be the answer to our educational problems, but you are just stirring the pot with this kind of comment. Is it surprising that inner-city black parents aren’t interested in a bilingual education for their children. I know many well educated parents that are very weary of how a French education would work (mostly helping with homework, understanding the material, you know – not being able to engage with their children’s education.) I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to choose a French school for those parents that grew up with absolutely no exposure to the world outside of our fair city.

      You ask why Lycee Parents are not outraged? I ask why are you so outraged? What axe are you grinding here?

      Oh yeah, and thanks Louie (comment above you Kally) for posting an entire article in the comments, nice blog etiquette…

      • Kandic

        @concerned….. Your comment concerns me. Being a well traveled African American (yes dear, even Paris) who did apply to this school and maybe on the waiting list (unsure since I did not receive a notice of such) and I was never officially notifed of the status of his application. However, my son attended a predominately white private daycare where 8 of his classmates were admitted into Lycee but not one African American. I believe it is safe to assume that their admissions process may need some work. There is always room for improvement. PS: Black people do travel outside the US..

        • U know who

          You and any other living body that has had such an experience. Need to Speak Out. This is a great forum to get a direction. But I am here to tell there are some BESE Members that REALLY WANT TO KNOW the scoop. Don’t be afraid of the KKK at Lycee let every voice be heard, I am not an activist just want a due process. You can also send emails to the superintendent in Baton Rouge at Louisiana department of Education Mr. White and the next meeting is in November 14 th here in New Orleans

        • kally

          Kandic, Please run, don’t walk to the BESE board meeting in NOV. and tell them this. It will help the school in the long run and New Orleans.

        • kally

          Kandric, Please run and don’t walk to this meeting. It will help Lycee in the long run and all schools that cherry pick. This is an oversite problem and BESE needs to be held accountable Excuse this if it is a repeat post.

        • Louie

          I hope you looked at Audubon and Ecole Bilingue for the awesome French program. Both are accrediated by the French Governmoent and have years of experience. Both schools are very diverse!! Children from all over the world attend. I have grandchildren at both. I am extremely impressed! I do hope you made formal complaints to BESE and the NAACP.

    • MR ROGERS

      IF THE SCHOOL BLATANTLY REJECTS KIDS ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR RACE, THAT IS CRIMINAL AND RACIST. BUT SIMPLY TO POINT TO STATISTICS DOESN’T SHOW RACIST BEHAVIOR AT ALL. DOES EVERY SCHOOL HAVE TO MATCH THE EXACT DEMOGRAPHICS OF HOWEVER YOU DEFINE OUR SOCIETY. (E.G., MUST THIS FRENCHIE SCHOOL MATCH THE DEMOGRAPHIC STATISTICS OF OUR CITY, OUR GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA, OUR STATE, OUR COUNTRY, OR MAYBE THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF PARIS, OR BORDEAUX, OR PERHAPS FRANCE AS A WHOLE, OR THE E.U.? WHICH IS THE CORRECT DEMOGRAPHIC STATISTIC SO THAT THE SCHOOL CAN BE POLITICALLY CORRECT? THAT IS B.S.! QUOTAS ARE B.S AND WILL HOPEFULLY BE STRUCK DOWN THIS YEAR BY THE US SUPREME COURT.

    • Theresa

      Because why would they be outrage when they are a part of this Lilly-white group of parents. This is not a diverse group of people. There is some woman of color claiming to be wives of Doctors, which is not true! It’s a bias, self-centered group of caddy woman that will walk on anyone lives to do the malice deed of self preservation.

  • jppss parent

    Well said and thank you for defending our school. These allegations are just allegations and Dr. Montes and the rest of the board are working hard with the state to make sure all our t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted.
    Why does everything about diversity have to be seen through skin color?
    As far as Louie trotting out that old tired article about how Lycee isn’t following the diversity rules for NOLA, let me point out again that this is a STATE charter and anyone in the state can attend the school. Wouldn’t that skew the diversity percentage a little bit to include the demographics for the whole state and not just the 16block radius around our physical school building?

    We must be doing something right if we have standing room only open houses and wait list for potential new students in each grade. I’m just glad my daughter is lucky to get in on the ground floor of this educational opportunity.

    • Another one

      How many roles do u play?

  • Uptown mom

    I hope that the BESE board also looks into the board tactics; eg, adding a second grade sooner than called for because a board member had a 2nd grader, giving contracts to unqualified friends, etc. This school has a lot of potential and hopefully a bright future. More minority families (more families in general) will apply if the proper guidelines are followed, and if the board can remember that this is not their own private kingdom.

    • LFNO parenr

      Lycee, like all new schools, will add on an additional 1 to 2 grades every year.

      • isaac

        Great! So the board members will be able to put their children into “their” school!

        • MsT

          Adding grades every year is typically the way new schools grow, and if this is to be a viable school that goes through grade 12 (as planned), grow it must. I’m a parent, and I’m fine with board members having their kids at the school because their kids’ needs generally dovetail with the needs of mine, and I know the board members will work that much harder with their own children there. Besides, if people with older kids are unhappy with their current schools, they should have other choices. Competition is GOOD!

  • A Parent

    Thank you! It should also be noted that LFNO’s admissions are now a part of the RSD’s OneApp system. Enrollment is open to anybody who applies, and should there be more applicants than available spots, the RSD runs a lottery to assign the seats.

    • mom

      Are you sure about that? Where did you get your information from? There is no mention of the use of One App on the school’s website; in fact, it says that applications should be sent to the school- no mention of RSD.

      • jppss parent

        I don’t believe they can be included in the OneApp because of their type 2 charter status. That would give preferential (sp?) treatment to NOLA kids over students that would come in from neighboring parishes.

        • mom

          They can- ISL (also type 2) is being pressured to use One App. There were articles in the Times-Pic about this. It’s a school based in New Orleans, so Jeff Parish parents can select the type 2 schools, I guess. But Lycee is definitely eligible. I just wonder where A Parent got his/her info from.

          • jppss parent

            If you read the response from ISL about them being included in the OneApp their argument is that they are a Type 2 and it would limit how they except other students from neighboring parishes. ISL has a school in JP but they are type 1 which requires them to only accept JP residents. ISL currently has students from the northshore and westbank parishes at their camp st campus. JP parents enrolled in ISL at the camp st campus had the choice to switch to JP ISL or continue w/in the type 2 charter in NOLA beginning this school year. OneApp is completely voluntary at this time and it is up to each separate charter board to be included in the new process.

          • Theresa

            That does not limit student from other surrounding parishes to apply through One App.

          • jppss parent

            no it doesn’t but say One App receives & accepts 5 students from their pool and ISL receives & accepts 5 students from surrounding eligible parishes. Which student base gets to attend the school. ISL is not supposed to keep chairs open for specific areas.

          • scoutmom

            ISL is NOT on One App. Sean Wilson has stated that because the school is a language immersion school parents need to research the education from every angle. A school like this should not be just a box you check off to get in. We have students from 5 different parishes currently attending ISL.

            Personally I agree with him on this one. Language immersion is not for every child or family. We all know having kids in immersion schools it is a family effort.

          • Another one

            That’s how come with selective enrollment, if this school is what YOU say it is than why do they expect to get what the average charter school would get the 600,000.

  • 2nd Grade LFNO Parent

    I am an African American Parent with a child newly admitted this year to 2nd grade. I love this school. My daughter comes home very happy and excited about her day each evening. She attended summer camp for free at LFNO. This school is wonderful and full of dedicated teachers/staff who are often there long after I pick up my daughter from aftercare. As to ratios, fewer whites, blacks, hispanics, asians (in short fewer everyone) will enroll in this program. Parents of many races are simply not interested in the additional rigors of their child being educated in a language they may not speak at all let alone have mastery of. That being said, many parents of many races ARE interested in having a bilingual child. As the school builds out and more people become aware of the program, the diversity will be a non-issue. Children are being educated in this school to prepare them for adult life inside OR outside of the US.

    • U know who

      You sound as if Americans are beneath you. Must be another board member that founded the school for the rich in disguise. To whom it may concern; put this in your peace pipe and smoke it NO MORE CAN YOU HAVEVA SCHOOL FOR YOURSELVES. If you give a child an opportunity for diversity I am sure he will become a product of that program. Everyone should be given the WHITE hope of a bi-lingual child.

  • ROGERS, WHO EATS FREEDOM FRIES

    LAST I CHECKED, WE ARE LIVING IN THE GOOD OLD US OF A, AND THANK GOD, NOT FRANCE. WHAT ARE WE DOING WASTING GOOD PUBLIC U.S. OF A MONEY PROMOTING FRANCE? THE KIDS OF THIS CITY NEED AS MUCH HELP AS POSSIBLE IN ENGLISH. IMAGINE IF THIS WAS A MUSLIM CULTURE SCHOOL AND THE UPROAR THAT WOULD OCCUR. WE SHOULD NOT HAVE CULTURALLY AFFILIATED SCHOOLS SUPPORTED BY PUBLIC MONEY.

    ALSO, AS TO THE NOT ENOUGH MINORITIES ISSUE, LET EVERYONE CHOOSE AND HAVE A FAIR CHANCE. DOES EVERY SCHOOL, EVERY TV SHOW, EVERY WORKPLACE HAVE TO MATCH THE EXACT DEMOGRAPHICS OF HOWEVER YOU DEFINE OUR SOCIETY. (E.G., MUST THIS FRENCHIE SCHOOL MATCH THE DEMOGRAPHIC STATISTICS OF OUR CITY, OUR GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA, OUR STATE, OUR COUNTRY, OR MAYBE THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF PARIS, OR BORDEAUX, OR PERHAPS FRANCE AS A WHOLE, OR THE E.U.? WHICH IS THE CORRECT DEMOGRAPHIC STATISTIC SO THAT THE SCHOOL CAN BE POLITICALLY CORRECT? THAT IS B.S. QUOTAS ARE B.S AND WILL HOPEFULLY BE STRUCK DOWN THIS YEAR BY THE US SUPREME COURT.

    • jppss parent

      While I agree with your stance concerning the demographics issues, I have to disagree with you about the French education.
      Learning a 2nd language at a young age (spanish, french, etc.) is beneficial on many levels educationally. Not only do children that know 2 languages generally test better and that has been proven through studies over many years. I look at my child learning French not only a benefit for her in that regard, but she’s now a more viable future college student and employee. Limiting yourself to just English in a global economy is not good business sense. We are also opening our family to learning the language with her. And if we are going to complain about public money support culturally affiliated schools that would also fall in the vouture(sp?) system that allows public school students to attend private Catholic schools. Have you even researched what type of curriculum this school offers? My daughter is leap years ahead of other 1st graders that we know in respect to her math knowledge and even something as simple as penmanship. So don’t condemn until you know what this school is bringing to the table educationally.

      • ROGERS, WHO EATS FREEDOM FRIES

        I WAS RAISED LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. HOWEVER, MY SENSE OF THE RESEARCH, WHICH I READ ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, ON BILINGUAL EDUCATION, IS THAT THERE IS A LOT OF CONFLICTING EVIDENCE, BUT IT SEEMS THAT BILINGUAL EDUCATION IN AN IMMERSION SCHOOL IS NO BETTER THAN JUST GOING TO A TRADITIONAL SCHOOL WHERE ONE LEARNS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE AS A PART OF ONE’S COURSE WORK. IN OTHER WORDS, YES, OF COURSE THERE ARE BENEFITS IN LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE, BUT DOING SO THROUGH THE LYCEE IS NOT REQUIRED TO GET THE BENEFITS YOU SPEAK OF. YOU CAN GET THE SAME BENEFITS OF A FOREIGN LANGUAGE THROUGH A TRADITIONAL SCHOOL.

        ALSO, LARGE,WELL-ESTABLISHED BILINGUAL SCHOOLS IN NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES ARE AWESOME, BUT IN A CITY LIKE NEW ORLEANS, GOING TO ONE OF THESE SMALL IMMERSION SCHOOLS IS SOCIALLY LIMITING AND KIDS DON’T GET TO EXPERIENCE TRUE SOCIETY AND LEARN TO INTERACT WITH OTHERS WHO ARE DIFFERENT, WHICH IS A CRITICAL PART OF ONE’S EDUCATION. SO, I AGREE THAT LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE IS GREAT, BUT NOT IN THE GUINEA PIG ENVIRONMENT OF A SCHOOL LIKE THE NEW ORLEANS LYCEE (BUT POSSIBLY IN A WELL-ESTABLISHED SCHOOL LIKE THE FRENCH LYCEE IN NEW YORK. I WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM SENDING MY KID THERE IN A HEARTBEAT).

        ALSO, THE PUBLIC FUNDING OF THESE FOREIGN CULTURE SCHOOLS, WHICH PAYS OFF NICELY FOR THE SENIOR MEMBERS OF THE ADMINISTRATION WITH A FINANCIAL INTEREST, IS HIGHLY PROBLEMATIC AND CREATES A BAD PRECEDENT. I DON’T THINK PUBLIC FUNDS SHOULD SUPPORT A CHINESE CULTURE SCHOOL OR A MUSLIM CULTURE SCHOOL OR A COMMIE-RUSSIAN SCHOOL, OR ANY OTHER CULTURE SCHOOL. IF IT WERE COMPLETELY PRIVATELY SUPPORTED, THEN, PARENTS CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT WITH THEIR MONEY. BUT I DON’T WANT MY HARD-EARNED AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS SUPPORTING THE PROMOTION OF FRENCHIE CULTURE, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE SAME MONEY COULD BE USED TO SUPPORT ALREADY EXISTING SCHOOLS IN OUR CITY.

  • Lycee Lova

    “why are Lycee parents going to state officials complaining and asking for help?”

    I’m sorry, but I am a parent at Lycee and I have seen Ms. Wilson (Connerly) at the school many times and that woman is nuts. She screams at everyone. Kids in the lunch line, parent volunteers that are at the school and at the teachers. Not just screams – she is using swear words around the kids and outside the school, she has been seen getting up in other parent’s faces. In my opinion, she is not right in the head. Ask ANY parent volunteer at the school – they all know her as a crazy lady. Robert – you should connect with some parents at the school to find out about Ms. Wilson. She’s a bully to the parents and to the little students. I’ve seen her cut the lunch line to get ahead of the line of a PK4 class!!

    And to all the Lycee parents who are reading Uptown Messenger and all the negative comments – do not even pay attention to these people. Are you happy at the school? Is your child getting a good education? As to these other questions and allegations being made against the school – a lot of what’s being written is not true and I feel positive that the school will come through scrutiny with flying colors. For reasons unknown, some parents are simply threatened by Lycee and want to have something to complain about. Let them. It draws more attention to Lycee and the funny thing is – every time there is a story on Lycee (good or bad), I have friends or friends of friends calling me up, asking me how they can apply to the school. I guess this is all free publicity for them!

    As for Lycee receiving federal funds for potentially doing outreach with First Steps. Really? Where did hear that? Because it’s really hard to get federal funding just by saying you are going to do something. You have to prove that you did it and have the data to back it up. You so silly.

    • U know who

      Tell the truth Paige, the person she yelled at was physically blocking a gate so that her kids were told that they needed to use another entrance and clearly white parents were going through it. When you have alliances and all these women are your watch dogs, you guys have literally bullied this woman out of a social circle. Tell the truth for a person to act this way with someone it must be something going on. This have been going on before Ms. Connerly-Wilson. You are angry because she has been trying to ask for compliance oh I know the whole story.

    • Kandic

      If Lycee wrote in their charter application that they would have out reach to this daycare, then that is exactly what they should have done or amended their charter to exclude this. Sadly, many charters are written so beautifully by a professional so the 501(c) can get a school. However, most administrators have never read their schools charter to know what is in it.

      • U know who

        The school officials of Lycee created and manufactured all the outreach Ms Paige was willing to allow. Think about it First Steps as she refers to it would be a program not implemented under that roof where the Masses kids are housed. With that in mind Montes is in control of his Hatians, under his command. With all hope The founder herself was praying that they never realized at least until after all 3 distributions were awarded. COMPLY make good with these folk do what is legally and morally your obligation!

      • DoE Observer

        “many charters are written…by a professional”

        Kandic:

        The Lycée Français charter was written over the course of eighteen (18) months by primarily four (4) people, none of whom are or were “professional charter writers”: one is an educator with over 20 years experience in the public school sector, another one (with over 20 years public school experience) helped craft and write the State Charter School law, and two passionate individuals who want to see a Lycée (that’s French for “high school”) for their teenage sons.

        The Lycée Français Charter is approximately 320 pages long and contains
        approx. 110,000 words. The section referencing Ms. MacMillan’s First
        Steps Day Care, that “U know who” (and no, we don’t know), “Louie”,
        “Kally”, others, and you, Kandic, cite is four paragraphs and all of
        578 words long! That’s 1/2 of 1% of the total charter.

        Before Lycée Français’s effort, most successful charter applicants were approved by a 6 – 5 vote. BESE approved Lycée Français’s application and authorized its Type II Charter by a unanimous 10 – 0 vote (an unheard of outcome for any charter applicant before or since) due to its comprehensive and determined approach to deliver an independent, stand-alone Pre-K – 12th Grade French School not just to New Orleans, but to the entire State of Louisiana.

      • Theresa

        The executive summary is something that every board member should know the content. Throwing the Mcmillan’s under the bus or maybe even Kicking their business name to the Curb. First Steps is in the Executive Summary. They (everyone that defends the LFNO charter content) are the biggest manipulators and liars I have ever seen!
        I wonder if the wonderful iconic Mr. Mayor is a part of this corruption. Something that the A.G. might want to nibble on!

  • Nola

    If the Lycée Administration was doing its job this parent would have known about the free summer camp (if there was one) and her child would have free homework help. Even the representative defending Lycée at the meeting was visibly confused by the fact that afternoon homework help was not being offered to this parent of a newly incoming 2nd grader at no charge. This was what was agreed to by the Board of Lycée so that they could maintain their open enrollment status and receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in start up funding. Montes was cagey when asked about the after school help. It would have been so easy to make sure this parent and this child were taken care of and not falling through the cracks. It would have been well worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars that is being received on start up funding to offer this. These parents are obviously feeling something is off. Why else would they go to Baton Rouge, wait all day to speak and then come back to face the derision of a school. It’s not like they have a neighborhood school to fall back on.

    With regard to MacMillans first step. Lycee lied in their charter. Period. They used someone else to achieve their goal and did not in any way fulfill their promise…they did not even make an appearance to begin working with Macmillan. This is not a small transgression. This was a calculated move to show they had at risk children in their plans. If you look at the charter they are also doing outreach to the at risk children in New Orleans’ Haitian Community… I am assuming all of the parents responding know quite a few at risk Haitian children being served by the school?

    • Lycee Lova

      In response to your question about the Haitian community and Haitian children at the school – yes, there are quite a few Haitians at the school, so obviously they have done outreach to the Haitian community.

      • Nola

        I realize there are Haitian children at Lycée. My argument is that out reach to at risk Haitian children was promised in the charter. The charter specifically mentions that children in Haiti need schools because of the natural disaster. I don’t think Dr. montes’ children qualify. Outreach to at risk children is a fundamental element for receiving a charter. MacMillans and Haiti were the 2 out reaches offered….and both are bogus.

  • 2nd Grade LFNO Parent

    How many angry Lycee parents were at the meeting to complain? Every school can dig up a few angry parents (some many, many more than a few). If you look at the responses here you will see that the majority of parents with kids attending this school are very happy. I think what I am seeing here are a lot of non-Lycee parents with alternate agendas posting.

    • U Know who

      This entire school is friends of friends, made from Facebook, go away with protecting this one big social circle of Rich Women and the friends of “who you know”, tell this one and DON’T tell that one unless you know them and they are of the elite. THIS SOUNDS LIKE TALK OF BULLIES! The lady that was getting bullied Ms. Connerly, these are probably her challenges.

      You know the program is great. The problem is that it is a predominantly white school with all Federal Funding, from families that can clearly afford private schooling because this is what the whole school came from, the uptown private french school. The French language is not bound to one race. Grow-up and if you want to say what race and sociological back-ground a child should have to learn at a public school you are a very ill person. Children should have the same opportunity.

      • jppss parent

        @1d5f44510a41397680b4777b7acafd94:disqus I learned about this school through the TP and followed the directions given for applying and being accepted for the 2011-12 school year. Though I’m sure there a few families that knew each other prior to the start of school the majority of us didn’t meet until the school started their orientation process. This is not an elite school for the uptown private school citizens. I can’t afford private school on a good day and I feel lucky that my child is able to attend a school that not only provides an exciting education base but is open to everyone in this area. My daughter has friends from all walks of life and since this will be K-12 school in the end, these children will part of each other lives for the next 11 years. That means a lot.

        • Another one

          Why is an uptown school an interest? I am confused “in this area” what area are you referring to Jefferson Parish or uptown. Uptown is not your vacinity y ou live Jefferson. Something is wrong,
          Uptown was always a great mixture of people Irish, black, Creoles and Cajuns. Understand that the friends of friends should defend her honor, I realize the amount of money you have saved now that the Dept of Education is paying your child’s tuition, “isn’t that a BLESSING?” Seriously criminal acts and blessings are thought of in the same thought process!

  • Lycee Mom

    It is hard to build, but easy to destroy.
    I am Hispanic with a child at the Lycee, and as a tax payer and voter, I am very pleased with the quality of this public charter school. I have seen nothing like what was described in this article. My experience has been that the Board, the administration, and the teachers are responsive, if you go to them with your concerns. I think it’s important to remember that the school is only in its second month of operation at Patton. My experience is that issues are readily addressed if aired through school channels. These two parents do not appear to have done so, choosing instead to create a public storm, clearly with the support of some BESE members.
    My personal impression is that Ms. Connerly is a professional “squeaky wheel.” I have seen her accost and nearly assault another parent in a fit of rage and I have seen her angrily stomping through the school on other occasions. I feel she has achieved her goal with the attention she has received.
    The 3-ring circus that occurred at the BESE meeting was cheap and unfortunate. I, for one, am signed up for the hard work of continuing to build a great school! My child deserves it; the kids of Louisiana deserve it. People like Ms. Connerly and some members of BESE will not destroy it.

    • U know who

      You are not Hispanic and who ever you are you have buildt this great program designed around your kids. What a great thing you have done for our Greater New Orleans area. Your kids are the exception to have a parent to open a school Just for them and your kind! Surely you don’t want the people tat you used to get this charter to have any of the benefit.

  • MsT

    As others have mentioned, Lycee is a type 2 charter that serves the state, not just the city of New Orleans. Families from Metairie, Kenner, the West Bank, St. Bernard, and I think even the North Shore attend. It shouldn’t reflect the demographics of just New Orleans, because it isn’t a New Orleans school. As long as kids aren’t being rejected due to race, religion or gender, I don’t see a problem. When I looked at Hynes a few years ago, their immersion program was almost entirely white, even though the school was otherwise mixed. I assumed that was due to parental preference and not because the school was conspiring to keep the African-American/Asian/Hispanic kids out of French education. I’ve heard the same about Audubon (more white kids in the French program) though I haven’t looked at it myself. I wonder what the percentages of non-white kids would be for just the French programs in these schools, and I wonder if the number of minority kids in the French programs has increased over the years as the schools became more accepted.

    In regard to the couple of parents who are complaining (and make no mistake, most parents are ecstatic about this school), they need to take some responsibility here. If you put a second grader in language immersion with no previous experience, it is going to be tough. It can be done, but the parents and the child will have to work HARD and deal with some discomfort on the learning curve. The school should carefully prepare parents who want to start their kids late to make sure they understand what will be expected. It’s fine to ask for support from the school, but you can’t expect the school to do it all for you.

    If the other parent, Ms. Connerly, is bullying parents and using profane language in front of the kids, she should be banned from the school. That kind of behavior is unacceptable. Frankly, the fact that she took her child out of pre-K because she didn’t like the “outdoor nature of the zoo” (seriously?) and then was offended that she was expected to pay her bills tell me she’s irresponsible and difficult.

    • U know who

      If only the truth would prevail instead of hiding behind a parent disagreements with the ways of this school. Comply with numbers evaluate the laws of a public charter school law book. Don’t try to pick a person to pieces because of their choice of environment. To pass judgement on a person choice s ring!

  • ROGERS/AMERICAN FRIES

    IT’S CALLED POETIC LICENSE HONEY. I’LL KEEP MY CAPS ON ALL NIGHT. AND THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LYCEE NY AND CALI, ON THE ONE HAND, AND LYCEE NOLA, ON THE OTHER. I GUARANTEE YOU THE NY AND CALI SCHOOLS ARE IN A DIFFERENT STRATOSPHERE THAN THE GUINEA PIG NOLA-LITE VERSION. KEEP DREAMING.

    • LFNO parent

      You should take FREEDOM out of your username because you obviously don’t believe in it.

  • Andy Brott

    Mr. Mrs. or Miss Will_K,
    but as this was posted on the net and supported by an alias source/commentator I can only ass-u-me it’s true.
    JK…
    My poor attempt at humor aside, my wife and don’t have kids at play on this, but have friends that do, and know how much this school is loved by both the parents and kids that attend.
    Then look- i’m the 31st comment!!!! and it’s people engaged from the journalistic skills of Robert Moriss UM and not from the cheap tricks of “Karaoke Writters” like me.
    I think Aristotle put it best when he said-
    “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
    so right or wrong- at least the New Orleans Tribune and people like Louie are engaged. We all should be if we want to fix this socially stratified mess.
    We just need to focus more on solutions (kudos to K.O. Jones) and less on bitching.
    Schools like Lycée Français are a great start, but all Charters must be closely and independently watched or you get-
    http://cenlamar.com/2012/08/07/shocking-bobby-jindals-vouchers-will-provide-over-600000-per-year-to-school-led-by-prophet-apostle/
    Best from Freret,
    Andy Brott

  • Ha Ha Horace

    Oh, poor Lycee Francais. This group tried, unsuccessfully, to get their charter done, but could never meet the minimum standards. Finally getting the least they could promise for the charter, they put the school together with no intention of ever following the rules. This is purely a word-of-mouth debacle that Paige Saleun touts as her personal triumph. Taxpayers shouldn’t be financing the education of elitist French parents. Closing them down can’t happen soon enough.

    • MsT

      I am a Lycee parent. I am American, not French, and I am a taxpayer. I learned about this school via the Times-Picayune, and I did not know one single person when I applied. I am very grateful for this school because I can’t afford private school (like Ecole Bilingue), and since I live in Jefferson Parish, Audubon and Hynes are not options for my child. I’m sorry to contradict the myth you’ve constructed, but this is a wonderful school that gives opportunities to children who would otherwise not have them. It’s disheartening to say the least to read venomous and dishonest comments like yours.

      • Sue Sorry

        This school just happens to give opportunities, but as a by-product of a bigger picture. If you are not aware of the politics behind the institution, then you are insulated from the truth. Because you live in Jefferson Parish is no fault of your own, but this is, indeed, an Orleans Parish school that handpicks its student body from parishes other than Orleans. I’m so pleased you found your dream school, however, the board of Lycee Francais prefers you over the kids that could really use the diverse education.

        • Another one

          Absolutely there is French schools in Jefferson Parish. Monopolizing the school with kids of choice should be treated the same as the 98% that Paige spoke about earlier, they go through One App as most Public Charters. Lycee is privileged they attend private school forums and called it a Public Charter. Do as you are suppose to and no one would condemn you they commend you. Some think it’s ok to think only about self but this world was created for all mankind. The Priest at St. Francis Asis Church should have never taken that big donation from his Parishner. How could they Evict a tenant in good standing.
          When you defame a person that tried to approach an irate, ghetto fabulous , ignorant woman. I deliberately volunteered to have a civil conversation and did, did not realize that I was walking into a trap. Every since war at the Lycee is on. Seriously behind some dirt that you have swept under your rug. Be Real stop living a lie. Promises should not have been broken when it came to McMillan Program. There isn’t a predominantly black program that has been as carefully thought out as the Lycee Francais. You have walked all over people to get here.

  • U know who

    What Parent that is an average knows all this technical stuff about a school’s stats. These sound the words of a board member or someone that has a lot of involvement with the going on with this school. To have a person state there race, not common. Don’t believe that you are a black parent go somewhere, you have more of an interest than just a parent of a child. STOP

  • Michael

    Thanks for making this point, Wallflower, because this is probably the most serious dynamic endangering this school’s future. The easiest way to track it is to watch when and how the issue of adding a sixth grade next year comes up and who pushes hardest for it on the board. And don’t look to the state for guidance here. They will likely rubber stamp approval to accelerate the school’s growth, even if it isn’t in the interest of the school’s sustainability to do so. There is an enormous amount of back end work that goes with adding grades, and the people who want to push it faster have no clear sense of that along with some real myopia about the realities of available real estate to accommodate the growth.

    The bottom line is that this school’s board needs to feel that they are being watched and scrutinized more closely. Parents and concerned community members: Show up to board meetings, ask questions and press for quantification in the answers you receive.

  • ann

    I am one of the many persons at LFNO that is socioeconomically diverse. LFNO has enabled me, a working single mother, to give my child an immersion education that I hope will broaden her horizons and give her opportunities that I haven’t had. Really, Thank you Lycee because I can’t afford Ecole Bilingue and Audubon is a terrible option for us while they are in Gentilly.

    • U know who

      Do not misunderstand my mission and/or cause. It is not discredit the unprofound energy that these teachers are putting into this program, Jill Otis (ex-principle of Audubon) clearly knows how to set up and run a viable program. Lycée was her baby, she was introduced to this idea by ja visious woman and a misdirected man to start a wonderful project. Their terms of endearment is very selfish and prejudice, it is not or will it ever be to benefit our precious ones, we are just wreeping the benefit at a cost.
      You better not be opposed to anything or be vocal or you are a squeaky wheel!
      Well hell I can imagine what they must think of her at Audubon and any other program she has had her children in or has come in contact with. Guess what I don’t agree with malpheasance or any other corruption. When you speak out about criminal intent you are crazy, contrary to that if you don’t tell the authorities and oversight boards,then you aiding and abedding. Bese has an obligation to do some overseeing. Not, this is the way Louisiana politics are, the one who pays the most receives the most gratis. She has also befriended the investigator reporter on Facebook

  • kally

    This article is backed up by actual MFP numbers from the 2011-12 school year for the Lycee and those do not lie.Hope things have changed but, as of last april this article was correct. The tribune would not havebeen published it if it was not acurate. It is one of the oldest black publications in louisiana.

    • jppss parent

      @aecd07c04d625f5882f3aef4a633df11:disqus I don’t understand how these numbers are correct. LFNO didn’t even have a lunch program last year. We all packed our lunch so how can these numbers be accurate. I didn’t even fill out the paperwork to verify my qualifications. MAD Magazine has been in publication for years too. It doesn’t mean everything they print is accurate either. and some fact checking isn’t always followed through. We can see that in the debates that have just finished. It depends on who is telling the story as to how the facts are generated and spit out for the public to devour.

    • louie

      The Lens is also covering this as well as the Tribune.
      All wonderful reads and hopefully the issues will be addressed. NOLA needs excellent public schools–our children and grandchildren deserve it! They are our future leaders. Education is one way we can stop all of the killings and crime on our streets. LFNO parent–my facts are correct. All of the Tribune articles are based off of the Lycee’s reported numbers. These numbers come from your administrators. If you don’t like them talk to your school office! Maybe they can fudge them to please you!

  • Uptown Pre-K mom

    While some may not agree, this article is very accurate. I’m African-American, my child was accepted at Lycee Francais for Pre-K. I knew that we would have to pay ~$5k for the year. However, in most schools this is income based or the school assists you by placing you on a payment plan. Lycee Francais wanted all of the money upfront, or they said that I could get a private loan. I tried several times to contact someone in their finance/business department, and my calls were never returned. I’m a young single mother & do not have the means to get a private loan. I could have done something income based, or even paid monthly. So by default we had to give up his spot. K is free, so I could apply again, but I want my child at a diverse school, so I’m hesitant to apply again.

    • kally

      Did they tell you they had LA4 funding? if your child was prk4 age and this was not mentioned to you, you need to make a formal complaint to the BESE board and if you want to take it further, report it to the OCR in Dallas. This should not be happening, it only hurts new orleans. Please do it before the NOV. meeting.

    • Theresa

      It is so great to see this open forum regarding the Lycée practices because if you could ever visit at lunch time it’s like going to the Country Club or the tennis courts for doubles. Only the nobody’s are actually working. Clarification: nobody’s is the people that don’t have bonds other than their child’s best interest. If you have never been to a board meeting for BESE you should go and tell them your story. Heads up you shouldn’t have to pay where La4 is in place. The whole pre-k 4 shouldn’t have to pay but LFNO prefers the the upfront monies. Paige must be going to Europe this year at the expense of Lycee. I am sure her family will have a wonderful vacation on this big favor she has done for the excellerated families this school house. Wait until they fall out and watch London Bridges fall down! Ha Ha Ha

  • scoutmom

    I have children in school at ISL. It says here that ISL 71% nonwhite students. I can believe it. We have a large community of Hispanics, they are not white. We have just about every nationality there is at ISL. We are an older school. Lycee is a new school. With time they will grow to have greater diversity. I think people are b!t@#en to B!t@#. What needs to be looked at is: How is the education, How is the staff (is that diverse?), are they advertising in a range of neighborhoods and publications? If so then find something else to complain about. I see many and I mean many schools that look to be all black. Why are there no arguments there? Why because that would be reverse discrimination. Language immersion schools are not for everyone. It is a foreign concept (no pun intended) to many parents of young children. We did not have schools like this when we were in school. This is a good thing. The school will grow and it will be diverse and it will be wonderful for the families who choose to enroll their child.
    I would like to see the parents that are so concerned with diversity at this school to take to the street literally and drop applications at minority daycares, churches, pediatric clinics and anywhere else parents of school age kids might go.

    I say welcome to Lycee and all who are affiliated with the school. Our children are getting a worldly education, with immersion. I only wish we get more schools like it here in Louisiana.

  • Theresa

    I understand why Louie does not have a bone to pick with the average public charter because they have met compliance and did not receive max compensation on the start-up grant funds. If this organization has used various groups and entities to get their Charter approved, where is the Bureau of Investigations ?

  • Theresa

    What is your suggestion on how to them out of their?

  • Outsider

    The real question about LFNO has to do with federal- not just state- funding it has received and will continue to receive. Are the funds being commingled with the private pre-school? Isn’t open enrollment in all grades a pre-requisite for that funding? I understand that French proficiency was not required for entry into 1st and 2nd grades for 2012-2013, but alas, the new application the the school website indicates that French profiency will be a requirement from 1st grade on. What is up with that? Federal funding should be revoked. LFNO- everyone wants you to succeed but you must play by the rules. We are watching you and will not relent until we are convinced you are operating legally and ethically. It can be done! And it should…..

    • MsT

      Doesn’t Lusher receive both Federal and state funding? They require children to test in at every grade with the exception of Kindergarten — but only then if you live in their district. (I think out-of-district kids entering Kindergarten still have to test in.) At some point it becomes unreasonable to put a child without proficiency in a language immersion program. Would it be fair to the child to expect them to keep up with the rigors of the academic program if they don’t speak the language? What do ILS, Hynes and Audubon do in regard to this in their immersion programs?

      • kally

        These schools above did not accept federal ” start up” money to the tune of $600,000. That is the difference. This school is misusing federal start up funds by having selective admissions.