Tulane institute to study effect of pandemic on nation’s schools

From Tulane University

The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences has awarded the National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice, or REACH, at Tulane University a $100,000 contract to collect data from approximately 150,000 school websites across the country to see how the nation’s education system is responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The project, which will track traditional public schools, charter schools and private schools, aims to quickly answer questions that are critical for understanding how students are learning when school buildings are closed. Key questions include: how many schools are providing any kind of instructional support; which are delivering online instruction; what resources are they offering to students and how do students stay in contact with teachers? “This data will also help answer important questions about equity in the school system, showing how responses differ according to characteristics like spending levels, student demographics, internet access, and if there are differences based on whether it is a private, charter or traditional public school,” said REACH National Director Douglas N. Harris, Schlieder Foundation Chair in Public Education and chair of economics at Tulane University School of Liberal Arts. REACH will work in cooperation with Nicholas Mattei, assistant professor of computer science at Tulane University School of Science and Engineering, to create a computer program that will collect data from every school and district website in the country.

City offers program for youth to learn civic leadership

via the City of New Orleans

The Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families, would like to invite you to participate in Junior Civic Leadership Academy (JCLA). This initiative from Mayor LaToya Cantrell is an engaging 8-week program that will provide youth with an in-depth look at city government. JCLA will meet virtually every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. starting June 6 through August 1 (excluding July 4). Enrollment opens today (April 27), and applications are available online. The program includes hands-on demonstrations and presentations that give participants an insider’s view of how the City of New Orleans operates.

School Board seeks candidates to finish Ben Kleban’s term

Orleans Parish School Board member Ben Kleban will step down from his District 5 post on June 15, and the board is looking for someone to finish out his term. Kleban announced his resignation in March, saying in an email that he and his wife and three children plan to move to Washington State to be closer to their extended family. Before joining the board in 2017, Kleban founded and led the charter school network New Orleans College Prep, which operates Hoffman Early Learning Center, Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep elementary school and Walter L. Cohen College Prep high school. The Orleans Parish School Board will appoint someone to finish his unexpired term, which ends Dec. 31.

Lusher engineering teacher creating medical masks with Tulane medical students

From Lusher Charter School

In true collaborative spirit, Lusher Charter School engineering teacher Matthew Owen and his wife, Laura, are working with Tulane Medical School and local hospitals to create much-needed personal protective equipment, or PPE, for New Orleans hospital employees to protect them from COVID-19. The Owens are working with medical students and other engineers and students on designs for PPE. Laura Owen, a support services teacher at Lusher, spearheaded the effort with medical students who contacted hospitals about their needs. When they discovered that the teachers had access to Lusher’s 3D printers, the med students planned a Zoom call with the couple and developed a design to print. With permission from the school, the Owens brought three 3D printers and supplies home to begin the project.

Tulane researchers explore teacher retention in city’s all-charter system

From the National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice

A new study from an education research center based at Tulane University finds that New Orleans’ all-charter school system succeeds in removing low-performing teachers, but it struggles to replace them with high-performing ones. The study by National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice, or REACH, cuts to the heart of the debate over whether market-based school reforms help improve teacher quality. In New Orleans, all schools are charters with great freedom to hire and fire teachers. Schools also compete with one another for talent and are under intense pressure to raise student test scores. Advocates of market-based reforms argue that this combination of flexibility and accountability should encourage schools to remove ineffective teachers.

Active shooter threat at McMain High School unfounded, NOPD says

The NOPD responded to a phone threat Monday (March 9) morning reporting an active shooter at Eleanor McMain High School on South Claiborne Avenue. After further investigation, the threat was determined to be unfounded. A juvenile suspect believed responsible for the call has been detained. Charges are pending at this time. Out of an abundance of caution, the school was briefly placed on lockdown.

Four Lusher seniors receive full leadership scholarships as Posse Scholars

Four Lusher Charter School seniors have been named Posse Scholars, an honor that provides them with full-tuition college scholarships. Two of the students, Esperanza Milla and Allan Buezo, plan to stay in New Orleans and attend Tulane University. India Miller is heading to Villanova University in Pennsylvania, and Kayla Red will attend Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. The four Posse Scholars were chosen for their leadership potential. The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits and trains individuals to become tomorrow’s leaders.

Audubon Schools CEO is stepping down at end of the school year

Audubon Schools CEO Latoye A. Brown will be stepping down from her post at the end of the current school year, Audubon announced on Friday. Audubon is a highly rated public charter school offering French and Montessori programs for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade at two established Uptown campuses and a new Gentilly campus. 

The school has been struggling with financial difficulties recently. According to an email sent to Audubon parents in January, Audubon experienced a budget shortfall of $1.8 million dollars in the past year. The shortfall was attributed to a loss in revenue from the state coupled with rising expenses, including the need for expanded special education services. The following press release was issued just after 5 p.m. on Friday (Feb.

Baby Ben on Jefferson reopens after renovation

From NOLA Public Schools

Officials with NOLA Public Schools, the Orleans Parish School Board and Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics and Science School staff celebrated its newly renovated school building Friday (Feb. 7) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on campus. Approximately 150 people gathered at the intimate ceremony, which also marked the return of students to the building. The event was moderated by OPSB Board Vice President Woody Koppel. “Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics and Science School has stood out as one of our exceptional schools for many years,” said Henderson Lewis Jr., superintendent of NOLA Public Schools.

Newman School receives major donation for a new arts building

Isidore Newman School has announced a capital donation from Boysie and Joy Bollinger in support of its arts program. This gift, the second $3 million gift in Newman’s history, is the lead donation to fund construction of a state-of-the-art performing arts building on Jefferson Avenue. The 5,500-square-foot building will hold acoustically optimized rehearsal rooms for Newman’s band and choir programs as well as an art gallery for student work, according to the school. The arts project also includes the construction of a flexible black-box-inspired theater space for smaller student productions. The Bollingers make this gift as philanthropic leaders in the New Orleans community and as the grandparents of two current Newman students.