Nov 152014
 

The boundaries of the school district for kindergarten admission to Lusher Charter school. (UptownMessenger.com)

The boundaries of the school district for kindergarten admission to Lusher Charter school. (UptownMessenger.com)

Lusher Charter School will continue to give admissions preference to incoming kindergarten students whose families live in a small district around the elementary school next year, officials announced Saturday amid concerns from some parents that that path into the school is soon to end.

“Nothing is changing as far as the process we’re going through for this year,” said school CEO Kathy Riedlinger. Continue reading »

Nov 102014
 
The front door of the Priestley school building in west Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The front door of the Priestley school building in west Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans officials expect to sign a purchase agreement with the Orleans Parish School Board for the old Priestley campus in west Carrollton within a week or two, launching a 90-day evaluation period before the sale becomes final. Continue reading »

Nov 052014
 
Lusher Charter School operations director Frank Israel checks on a classroom under renovation at the Freret campus in late October. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Lusher Charter School operations director Frank Israel checks on a classroom under renovation at the Freret campus in late October. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

With the major U.S. midterm elections now in the rearview mirror, school officials around New Orleans are now looking to the Dec. 6 runoff.

While Louisiana decides between Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu for U.S. Senator, New Orleans voters will also decide whether to renew a property tax that will begin building a citywide fund to maintain school buildings in Orleans Parish — which some school leaders say is crucial to ending the decades-long cycle of neglect and deterioration at city school buildings. Continue reading »

Oct 222014
 
School Performance Scores for Uptown campuses, based on date released by the Louisiana Department of Education. (UptownMessenger.com)

School Performance Scores for Uptown campuses, based on date released by the Louisiana Department of Education. (UptownMessenger.com)

While Lusher Charter School remained the highest-performing school in Uptown New Orleans last year, two language-immersion schools surged forward to narrow the gap, according to the latest School Performance Scores released by the state this week.

Three other Central City elementary schools also showed improvement, growing from their previous grade of a ‘D’ in 2013 to a ‘C’ this year, the reports show.

But three other schools — each of which had been singled out for growth in previous years — tumbled precipitously in 2014, losing a letter grade from previous year’s performance. Continue reading »

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Oct 212014
 

jewel bush

Last week, an eighth grader at a ReNew Schools charter in New Orleans East suffered second-degree burns from having scalding water thrown on him by another student. He required skin grafts for the wounds to his legs. This wasn’t the first time this student had been attacked on campus. A few months earlier, a different student slammed his head into the concrete.  He reported that incident too.

I applaud this student for being brave enough to come forward. It takes guts to speak out against bullying.

Anyone who caught the RTA, or the “Rita” as we called it, to school in New Orleans in the 1990s or 2000s has a wild story or two to tell about extreme bullying. Continue reading »

Oct 142014
 

Keith Bartlett (via lfno.org)

Keith Bartlett (via lfno.org)

When Keith Bartlett was chosen to lead Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans late in the summer of 2013, the very future of French-immersion charter school was in question.

Its governing board had just been replaced through a process in essence mandated by the state government, and several of the new members had already resigned. Its two founding school leaders had publicly parted ways with the school, the temporary school leader was under increasing public scrutiny — as were the school’s finances. Disagreements over the causes of the problems sharply divided parents, and monthly board meetings were balancing acts between simmering tensions and open acrimony.

Reflecting the atmosphere of uncertainty, Bartlett was appointed school CEO last year with “interim” very publicly affixed to his title, and board members promised another search for a permanent successor. Against that background, then, the same board’s decision Monday night to make Bartlett the permanent CEO with a more-than-20 percent salary increase — and applause from parents who had been some of the school’s sharpest critics — was all the more striking. Continue reading »

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Oct 082014
 

The former Duke Morgan spa on Magazine Street, photographed in September 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The former Duke Morgan spa on Magazine Street, photographed in September 2013. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The owners of the French Quarter’s Sylvain easily continued their path toward a new restaurant on Magazine Street last week, when the City Council voted to approve alcohol sales in the building. Continue reading »

Sep 212014
 
From left, Cameron Messinides, Madeleine LeCesne, Ashley Gong, First Lady Michelle Obama, Julia Falkner and Weston Clark in the Blue Room of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 18. (submitted photo)

From left, Cameron Messinides, Madeleine LeCesne, Ashley Gong, First Lady Michelle Obama, Julia Falkner and Weston Clark in the Blue Room of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 18. (submitted photo)

A Lusher High School senior has been chosen out of 13,000 students across the country as a 2014 National Student Poet by First Lady Michelle Obama, and joined her at the White House this week for a poetry reading. Continue reading »

Sep 192014
 
(via Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc)

(via Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc)

Loyola Medieval Studies and the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc are co-sponsoring the 5th Annual Salon de Jeanne d’Arc, a full day conference of free lectures and theater performances about Joan of Arc and the medieval times she lived in. The conference will feature Nancy Goldstone, author of “The Maid and The Queen,” and performances by Porkchop Productions and Loyola Theater. Continue reading »

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Sep 172014
 

lyceeThe Orleans Parish School Board approved the recommendation of the its property committee to allow the Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans French-curriculum charter school buy the former Alfred C. Priestley school campus in west Carrollton on Tuesday night, despite protests from an activist group and legal claims by a private developer. Continue reading »

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Sep 162014
 
Dr. Andre Perry delivers the keynote address at the Rising Tide conference Saturday, Sept. 13. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Dr. Andre Perry delivers the keynote address at the Rising Tide conference Saturday, Sept. 13. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Standardized test scores may be rising in the city’s public schools, but those gains on paper do not translate into any meaningful improvements in the lives of the city’s poorest students, said former New Orleans education official and activist Dr. Andre Perry. Challenging school reformers’ beliefs that a wholesale restructuring of the education system will create a better society, Perry added that all social conditions that plague New Orleans’ poor and African-American neighborhoods still persist even after 10 years of school reforms.

The best first step the city can take to real improvements for the African-American community, Perry said, is to begin searching for a way to reconcile with the thousands of teachers who were wrongfully fired after Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading »

Sep 122014
 

mast

Andre Perry (via drandreperry.com)

Andre Perry (via drandreperry.com)

The annual Rising Tide “Conference on the Future of New Orleans” will host educator Dr. Andre Perry as its keynote speaker, with panel discussions on the lost histories of New Orleans’ Palmer Park, community organizing, government waste and finding religion in the city, as well as “tech school” sessions on using social media in publishing. Continue reading »