InspireNOLA Class of 2023 earns over $33 million in merit-based scholarships (sponsored)

They’ve put in the work, crossed the stage, and can now call themselves high school graduates! Congratulations to the class of 2023 from McDonogh 35 High School, Eleanor McMain Secondary School, and Edna Karr High School! These scholars have accomplished a multitude of things including over 33 million dollars in merit-based scholarships, We can’t wait to see what else our graduates will achieve in the future! Congratulations to our top scholars who were named Valedictorian and Salutatorian! Eleanor McMain Secondary School
Valedictorian: Benjamin Trinh Le
Salutatorian: Keith Anthony Patterson
McDonogh 35 Senior High School
Valedictorian: Kali Rose Marie Gethers
Salutatorian: Breanna Sharell Williams
Edna Karr High School
Valedictorian: Saniya Amari Black
Salutatorian: Makayla Ajene’ Nabor

All of the graduations featured dynamic, alumni speakers including:
Shay O’Connor, Eleanor McMain ‘07, – WDSU – TV Reporter; Rachael Johnson, McDonogh 35 ‘94, – Judge, Division D, Louisiana Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit and Edward Buckles Jr., Edna Karr ’10 – Filmmaker and Director.

Young Audience Charter School at Crocker to hold Black History Month parade

The Young Audience Charter School at Crocker will hold a Black History Month parade on Friday (Feb. 3). Parade will include Mardi Gras Indians, social aid and pleasure clubs, and marching bands. The parade will kick off the month’s celebrations. It will feature performances by second-line organizations, Indian tribes, and the staff and students in Social Clubs.

InspireNOLA Charter Schools’ Peace Walk brings awareness to students’ loss at gun violence (sponsored)

InspireNOLA high school students from Edna Karr, Eleanor McMain, and McDonogh 35 hosted a peace walk on January 11th, bringing awareness to the ongoing gun violence happening across New Orleans with the strive for peace in the city. NOLALove advocates for our youth by providing services focused on academic excellence, mental health awareness, family wellness, and community service to transform the outcomes of today’s youth both inside and outside the classroom. Following the peace walk, students held a “walk-in” at their schools, participating in sessions of reflection where they heard from alumni, students, and mental health professionals. Watch the recap below:

To learn more about NOLALove, InspireNOLA Charter Schools and support efforts against gun violence and crime in New Orleans, visit NOLALove – InspireNOLA Charter Schools. About InspireNOLA Charter Schools
Founded in 2013, InspireNOLA Charter Schools operates a network of eight public charter schools in New Orleans, including Alice M. Harte Charter School, Andrew H. Wilson Charter School, Dwight D. Eisenhower Charter School, McDonogh 42 Charter School, Pierre A. Capdau Charter School, Edna Karr -High School, Eleanor McMain Secondary School, and McDonogh 35 Senior High School.

Benjamin Franklin middle school to celebrate its move into Laurel Street campus

Benjamin Franklin Middle Mathematics & Science School will hold a ceremony Friday (Jan. 20) to celebrate its move to the Agnes L. Bauduit campus in East Riverside. The charter school for grades six through eight took over the building at 3649 Laurel St. in the fall of 2o22, moving from its temporary home on Nashville Avenue. The Laurel Street building recently housed the New Orleans Accelerated High School, part of a local network of public alternative schools.

West Bank charter group to take over Cohen High School

Walter L. Cohen College Prep High School in the Milan neighborhood will be operated by Collegiate Academies beginning in the 2023-24 school year, NOLA Public Schools announced on Thursday (Dec. 15). The New Orleans College Prep board, citing dwindling enrollment, said in October it plans to relinquish its Cohen charter at the end of this school year. NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams said the historic school’s legacy will be retained. The school colors — Kelly green, white and gray — and Green Hornet mascot will stay at Cohen.

InspireNOLA Schools announces Kevin Barnes, Jr. as Chief of Staff (sponsored)

InspireNOLA Charter Schools is proud to announce that Kevin Barnes, Jr. has joined the organization as Chief of Staff. He most recently served as the Managing Director of Engagement and External Relations at KIPP New Orleans Schools, which is part of the national KIPP Foundation, the nation’s largest charter school network. InspireNOLA Chief Executive Officer Jamar McKneely said, “As we approach our 10th anniversary, I couldn’t think of a better person to help continue our commitment to this city. Kevin is a proven leader and is dedicated to bringing diverse stakeholder groups together while bolstering the creation of a positive learning environment for our students.”

Chief of Staff (CofS) Kevin Barnes, Jr. said, “It brings me great joy to continue to advocate for the young people of New Orleans as I join the leadership team of one of the highest-performing school networks in our city. I am excited to work alongside some of the most talented educators in the region.

Audubon Charter School revives its Fall Fête at Live Oak campus

Audubon Charter School will hold its Fall Fête fundraiser and fair at its new Live Oak campus in the Irish Channel on Saturday (Nov. 5). After the festival’s two-year hiatus, Audubon PTO President Katie Pedroza expressed excitement, saying the festival is back bigger and better than ever with live music, activities, food and prizes. “We can’t wait to show off our new Live Oak campus. We will have bands, games, food, and spirits to be enjoyed in the backyard and under the oaks on Ninth Street.” Pedroza said. 

To kick off the event, artists such as Preservation Hall All-Stars, Sam Craft from Sweet Crude, the Miss Sophie Lee Band, Roland Cheramie and Friends, Coach O and His Band, and the NOCCA Jazz Ensemble will perform, a press release from Audubon Charter School said.

InspireNOLA Charter Schools launches citywide youth initiative to combat gun violence Oct. 12 (sponsored)

A student-led initiative that focuses on decreasing gun violence across the city. The city we all know and love is now the “Murder Capital for the U.S.,” and it’s time that we, as leaders across the city, act quickly to change this narrative. Recent reports suggest that youth in New Orleans are at the forefront of the current violent crime wave that has inflicted our city. InspireNOLA, a local charter school network in New Orleans, is refuting the new title with its latest initiative — NOLALove. A youth-driven and community-wide call-to-action, NOLALove is our response to the increased crime and lives lost to senseless gun violence ravaging the city of New Orleans.

Willow (née Lusher) School events to honor name changes

The former Lusher Charter School, now the Willow School, is holding four events to mark the name changes for its program and individual campuses. The Willow School charter board, the Advocates for Arts Education, operates elementary, middle and high schools on three Uptown campuses. The name of Robert Mills Lusher, a Reconstruction-era state school superintendent who promoted and instituted racial segregation in public schools, was removed from  the charter school program after years of protest. The school buildings, including one named for Lusher, also received new names. NOLA Public Schools, the parish’s school board and administration, changed the campus names in 2021.

Viewpoint: We’re still failing our at-risk youth

The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and Educators for Quality Alternatives (EQA) announced their new center in New Orleans East on Wednesday (Aug. 8), saying it will “remove barriers to success.” Also on Wednesday, YouthForce NOLA, the city’s youth talent development intermediary, was touting a new round of funding for 13 New Orleans public high schools. The funds will “help students gain meaningful work experience and develop appropriate technical, academic and soft skills.” Though worthy programs, their leaders won’t be engaging the at-risk youth who need them the most — those who have no vision for the future and have long-since given up on completing a public school education. 

Despite YEP, EQA, YouthForce NOLA and other well-intentioned programs, far too many New Orleans youth still don’t have a pathway to success. Their parents might be poorly educated or underemployed and therefore forced to work two minimum wage jobs just to pay Entergy and the rent. Many kids survive on junk food because healthier foods are more expensive and not readily available in many of New Orleans’ food desert neighborhoods.