The Board of Zoning Adjustments on Monday approved a long-debated parking plan for a rebuilt Walter L. Cohen College Prep high school campus. The campus will have more parking spots than the School Board originally proposed, but the plan falls short of the amount lobbied for by the school’s neighbors in the Delachaise area. The high school operated by the New Orleans College Prep charter school network is set to redeveloped into a 103,000-square-foot three-story building with 35 classrooms that could accommodate about 600 students and 75 faculty and staff members. The school currently on the site will be demolished. Such a campus, according to the city’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, needs 145 off-street parking spaces.
Two football coaches at Lusher Charter School suffered serious injuries in a hit-and-run accident on Mardi Gras (Feb. 16) night, the school’s CEO and athletic director told the Lusher community in an email on Saturday. One coach lost both legs as a result of the hit-and run. The email from CEO Kathy Riedlinger and Athletic Director Louis Landrum sent Feb. 20 stated the accident caused “serious injury to Coach Pierre Warren and life-threatening injury to Coach Adam Sivia.”
By Corinne A. Williams, guest columnist
On Jan. 1, New Orleans transformed one of its many relics of the Confederacy into a new monument for justice and excellence. When Jefferson Davis Parkway was renamed for Dr. Norman C. Francis, we cast off a president of the Confederacy for a president of a historically black university, a purveyor of educational equity and a living civil rights legend. In this moment, New Orleans took the time to register that white supremacy and sedition have no place on one of our most prominent parkways. For New Orleans — one of the Blackest cities in the United States, held together by the culture of Black people and kept afloat by a tourism industry that relies on the labor of Black people — it was a wrong made right.
The Kellogg Foundation awarded Hoffman Early Learning Center (Hoffman) a two-year grant for $400,000. “These funds will help the center achieve sustainability and to achieve its mission to provide a high-quality, affordable early education to children from a diverse set of socio-economic background,” said Joel Castro, CEO of New Orleans College Prep which operates Hoffman. “We know there is a need for our services, and the support from the Kellogg Foundation will greatly help us further our mission,” said Castro, citing research showing that there are nearly 12,000 low-income families with children ages 0-4 without access to affordable, quality early childcare programs in New Orleans. “Our job is to close the learning gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers,” he said. “We are doing that,” said Hoffman Executive Director Zerlander Ragas.
The Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans received City Planning Commission approval last week to increase its footprint within the St. Henry’s Catholic Church complex with the use of a building for its middle school. The private French immersion school occupies multiple buildings and courtyards within the church grounds for its early childhood, kindergarten, elementary and middle schools. To give the middle school students room to grow in a building of their own, the school wants to lease the Blessed Pauline building at 4219 Constance St. Plans show the interior will be renovated into four classrooms, a science and technology lab, a music room and three offices.
The four new members recently elected to the Orleans Parish School Board will shake up the system and chart a new direction for an organization that has been ruled in large part by outside influences since Hurricane Katrina.
Representing a vast number of New Orleans families, this quartet will function as the School Board’s voting majority with the clear ability to pass or eliminate any policy they deem necessary. They will also have to find better solutions to major issues such as school financing, equity, perpetually low-performing schools and how to bring high-quality schools to every neighborhood.
Incoming District 5 board member Katie Baudouin will represent Central City, the Garden District, the Irish Channel and other neighborhoods above Canal Street. She said her highest priority is helping schools students and families get through the pandemic. “I want to work with schools to develop a plan to measure any learning loss so we can help our students continue to learn and grow,” said Baudouin. The policy director for Councilman Joe Giarrusso’s District A office and mother of a charter school student, she would like to serve on the policy, property, budget and finance committees. The Bureau of Governmental Research recently issued a detailed report on how to better fund NOLA Schools.
Coalition Reminds Voters to Consider Scorecard in Runoff Election
Early voting is Nov. 20-28 (excluding Sundays and holidays)
Forward New Orleans for Public Schools (FNOPS) congratulates the two candidates who were elected to the Orleans Parish School Board in the Nov. 3 primary election as well as those vying for the remaining five district seats in the Dec. 5. runoff election.
Deepen your child’s connection with the arts—in the comfort of your home! Young Audiences of Louisiana is launching a virtual studio art program, Simply Arts Studio. Families across the Greater New Orleans Area have the opportunity to enroll their child in dance, yoga, visual arts or beginner piano for as low as $15 per class. All Simply Arts Studio workshops are
Instructed by experienced teaching artists
Based on grade level
Limited to eight students to ensure quality interaction
Either three weeks or five weeks long
Available after school or Saturdays
Courses begin this week For a full list of course offerings, visit www.ya4la.org! Register today.
The Paradigm Gardens Plant Sale, held Sunday mornings in the shadow of the Pontchartrain Expressway in Central City, offers not just pots of herbs and tomatoes but a chance to enjoy an outdoor, socially distanced brunch and concert. The brunch on Sunday (Oct. 11) included food from Coquette restaurant and the vocal stylings of Robin Barnes. Plus, goats — all in a gorgeous garden. The sale of the plants and brunch items helps finance the Paradigm Gardens School — the only K-12 garden school in Louisiana.
Voter Tool Shows Which Candidates Pledge to Support Platform for Excellence and Equity
Forward New Orleans for Public Schools (FNOPS) has released a scorecard showing which of the candidates for Orleans Parish School Board pledged to support the group’s platform ahead of the Nov. 3 election. FNOPS—a diverse coalition of more than 20 civic, business, and neighborhood organizations committed to increasing the number of quality public school options and ensuring equal access to quality education citywide—worked together to develop the platform, which is intended to guide School Board members in accomplishing these goals. In connection with the platform’s release in July, FNOPS interviewed candidates and sought a pledge from each to implement the platform’s action items. Both the platform and scorecard can be viewed at fnops.org. The platform establishes issues the coalition defines as most important to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for New Orleans public school students:
Racial equity evaluation, planning and training;
COVID-19 and emergency planning;
System-wide strategic planning and stakeholder engagement;
Expansion and replication of successful schools;
Ensuring all students have equitable access to resources;
School standards and accountability;
Resource management; and
Collaboration on best practices.
Forward New Orleans for Public Schools seeks candidate pledges on issues to improve educational opportunities and outcomes. FNOPS is a coalition of civic, business, and neighborhood organizations committed to increasing the number of quality public school options and ensuring equal access to quality education citywide. The coalition released an issue-based platform ahead of the Orleans Parish School Board elections scheduled for Nov. 3. The platform establishes issues FNOPS defines as most important to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for New Orleans public school students.