Sojourner Truth Academy, a service-based charter high school, will close at the end of this school year based on a vote by its governing board Tuesday evening that reflects the reality of the program’s insufficient performance gains, reports Andrew Vanacore of The Times-Picayune.
Walter L. Cohen High School is slated to be gradually taken over by NOLA College Prep over the next two years, one of nine struggling Recovery School District campuses around the city to be placed under control of a new charter operator, officials said this week. No other Uptown school was included in the list, but the announcement casts the challenges that Sojourner Truth Academy faces this year into sharp relief.
A majority of Uptown public schools continued the improvement that has characterized New Orleans schools in recent years, with Lusher and Audubon charter schools both earning “A” grades and New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School improving its score by more than 30 percent.
Uptown New Orleans has a relatively strong selection of campuses deemed “honor roll” schools by the state, those earning an A or B based on 2011 school performance scores released Wednesday. The lower-performing schools fall roughly into two categories: one group striving upward at varying rates, and similar-sized group continuing to struggle.
With optimism that Sojourner Truth Academy will be able to remain at their current Freret Street campus for another year, students returned to class last week and school officials turned their attention on their most serious challenge for the year: reversing an increasingly perilous erosion in test scores.
Many Audubon Charter School parents and teachers see the St. James Major campus in Gentilly as an attractive option for a temporary campus after Hynes Charter School moves out of it during the winter break, they told school officials after hearing about four new options at a Thursday afternoon meeting.
Before the school can begin a two-year renovation of its Broadway campus, it must find an interim location for the students who are already there, and the urgency of the search has increased since a site in the Lower Garden District was deemed unacceptable earlier this summer. The Orleans Parish School Board has asked Audubon to have an answer by Aug. 1, little more than a week away.
The Sojourner Truth Academy community was stunned this week to learn that the school may not be returning to its current building on Freret Street next year, and on Thursday discovered its fate is entangled with a post-Katrina realignment of federal education money between the state and Orleans Parish.
Eleanor McMain High School, the International School of Louisiana (at both campuses), James Weldon Johnson Elementary, KIPP Believe College Prep and Central City, Lafayette Academy and Sojourner Truth are all among 32 area schools to receive salad bars donated by the United Fresh Produce Association, according to Andrew Vanacore of The Times-Picayune.
Uptown schools vary widely in both the quality of their instruction and their openness to the public, according to a pair of reports released this week.