Middle school filmmakers at Audubon Charter enjoy their long-awaited premiere

 

Audubon Charter School’s very first film festival was scheduled for March 14, 2020. That was five days after the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Louisiana, and it would be over a year before the middle school students — who wrote, acted in and helped to shoot the movies —  would be able to show off the products of their hard work. Out of the glare of the May morning sun, in the cool Prytania Theatre, Stephanie Knapp, an Audubon parent and teacher who led Audubon Charter students through the process of making movies together, took the stage. The students and their supporters — parents, family and friends — were masked and spread out in the theater, with alternating rows taped off to allow for sufficient social distancing. “It’s interesting to see how everything is changed, how everything is different … and everything is still kinda the same,” Knapp said.

Lycée Français plans to open high school in former Priestley building in 2022

It’s been three decades since students and teachers occupied the classrooms of Alfred C. Priestley Junior High School on Leonidas Street. That is expected to change in the 2022-23 school year, when Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans opens the renovated historic building as its new high school. The public French immersion school has been slowly expanding its presence in the Pigeon Town section of Carrollton. It is currently leasing the former James Weldon Johnson school building a few blocks away at 1800 Monroe St. and the former Ronald G. McNair Elementary School at 1607 S. Carrollton Ave.

Viewpoint: Did James Singleton Charter School and Dryades YMCA officials put children at risk?

The Dryades YMCA and its affiliate programs, including the School of Commerce and the James M. Singleton Charter School, have played an important role in providing recreational and educational services to New Orleanians for almost a century. The Dryades Y is well known for its child care services, aquatics programs, mobile youth pantry, young filmmakers’ workshop and, formerly, Midnight Basketball. 

The Dryades School of Commerce goes back to 1928, when it began offering classes in clerical skills such as bookkeeping, speedwriting and typing. With the leadership of District B Councilman Jay Banks, the School of Commerce currently operates a state-certified program to train licensed practical nurses. Under the direction of Principal Erika Mann, the James M. Singleton Charter School has successfully raised the test scores of their students, many of whom are considered disadvantaged. The Dryades Y board of directors includes respected members of the community such as cultural leader Barbara Lacen Keller, the Rev. Tom Watson, investment consultant Ed Shanklin, attorney Carlos Hornbrook and contractor Cedric Patin. 

Now a story in The Lens has revealed that the charter school reportedly falsified some of the criminal background checks required for school employees.

Goat yoga, plant sales and brunch start up again at Paradigm Gardens

Goat yoga and plant sales are starting up again Paradigm Gardens in Central City.  The events raise money for the Paradigm Gardens School, a tuition-free private school for kindergarten through 12th grade. Weekly plant sales start Sunday (Feb. 28) and promise seasonal heirloom veggies, fruits, flowers and herbs, plus something you generally don’t find at the big-box stories or garden centers: brunch. Breakfast from top local chefs, fresh squeezed juices and cold-brew coffee are offered, along with music, arts and crafts vendors and chair massages. 

Plant sales are Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon. If you’re in the market for plants, the Paradigm folks advise you to come early, as the plants sell out.

Two Lusher football coaches seriously injured in hit-and-run

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.”

Viewpoint: Lusher School leaders turn their backs on the need to remove a racist legacy

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.

Hoffman Early Learning Center awarded $400,000 grant from The Kellogg Foundation

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.

Ecole Bilingue plans expansion on St. Henry’s Church complex

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.

Viewpoint: New School Board members bring promise of systemic change

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.  
Katie Baudouin

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.

FNOPS-scoredcard-November2020

Sponsored: FNOPS congratulates new school board members, looks to runoff

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.