Falling temperatures didn’t deter strong crowds of parade-goers Saturday night from seeing the krewes of Sparta and Pygmalion bring their animal- and game-themed floats through Uptown New Orleans.
After an afternoon of concern about a persistent rainfall, the skies cleared just in time Friday night for the Krewe of Oshun to down St. Charles Avenue as the first parade of the season along the Uptown route.
KIPP Believe College Prep on South Carrollton is headed to a new school building in Gentilly, and Benjamin Banneker Elementary in the Riverbend is slated for a new campus in Hollygrove, according to school assignment plans being aired publicly by the Recovery School District this week.
Both campuses of Lusher Charter School, “Baby Ben” Franklin Elementary and the International School of Louisiana’s Camp Street campus are all newly slated for renovations under the latest plan to spend the remainder of a $2 billion FEMA payout for school repairs, and Johnson Elementary will have a renewed shot at moving to the Priestly site.
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.
The Sophie B. Wright Charter School cafeteria is run by a local chef, not a food service, and gets rave reviews from the students, the staff and even visitors who make sure to stop by at lunchtime, according to a feature story by Annette Sisco of The Times-Picayune.
After publicly pleading for emergency structural repairs last month following years, Audubon and Lusher charter schools now appear to be among a handful of schools slated for work to prevent further deterioration at their campuses.
The Orleans Parish School Board decided this week to fund “stabilization” at seven school sites, including Audubon’s Carrollton campus, Audubon assistant principal Dawn Collins told the charter school’s governing board at a Saturday morning meeting to applause and cheers from the board and the small audience.
Lusher Charter School intensified its cries for basic building renovations and Sophie B. Wright supporters made a full-court press for a gym Tuesday night at the second town-hall meeting Uptown on the allocation of federal money for New Orleans schools.
As in previous meetings around the city, state and local school officials divided the audience of about 200 people at Dryades YMCA into three groups for free-ranging public-comment session. Each of those three groups Tuesday night was dominated by a vocal contingent of Lusher teachers, parents and administrators who insisted that their school’s buildings need critical repairs to the roofs, windows and air-conditioning systems that are ignored by the current master plan.
Most of the hundreds of attendees who turned out for a meeting on the future of Uptown school buildings wanted one of four things: renovations for Sophie B. Wright Charter School, a permanent commitment for Samuel J. Green Charter School, the reopening of the Mary Church Terrell campus in Gert Town or a new school in the Hoffman Triangle.
The former Allen School building on Loyola Avenue, meanwhile, is being sought by three different charter schools: Lusher, Audubon and the New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School, its current occupant.
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.