KIPP on South Carrollton headed to Gentilly, Banneker to Hollygrove, RSD says

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. Those two changes are the most significant for Uptown campuses among the recommendations that the RSD will be hosting public hearings on this week. Many other RSD schools around Uptown will essentially be unaffected, and some of the higher-profile schools run through the Orleans Parish School Board are not included in the list. KIPP’s highest-performing middle school, KIPP Believe College Prep, is slated for the old Stuart Bradley site on Humanity Street just off Interstate 610, where one of the city’s new $22.5 million school buildings will be constructed from FEMA money. The move will leave its current site, the McNair High School campus on the corner of South Carrollton and Birch, as an “opportunity” campus — suitable as a temporary site while another campus is being renovated, but not slated for any renovations or long-term assignments itself.

Lusher, ISL, Franklin Elementary and possibly Johnson receive new attention in latest construction plan

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. Lusher supporters in particular dominated the town hall forums held in Uptown New Orleans over the summer, describing their buildings’ critical structural issues that needed repair. The argument they made, joined in by representatives over other Uptown campuses, is that the rush to build “21st Century” buildings around the city should not take undue priority over the needs of existing programs.

Those concerns were apparently heard by district officials, because the plan released Friday creates an additional category of schools to be refurbished, including many Uptown campuses. Patty Glazer, assistant head of Head of School at Lusher, praised district leaders for their “creative problem solving” with the reallocations. “We’re thrilled,” Glazer said.

Audubon, Lusher to get long-sought structural repairs

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. District officials could not be reached Saturday, but a meeting agenda available online shows that the other campuses slated for repairs were Lusher’s elementary and high school campuses, Bethune, McDonogh No. 35, Warren Easton and Edna Karr. Audubon’s understanding is that $4.5 million has been designated for the projects, and that consultants will determine the most critical needs at each school before deciding exactly where that money will be spent, said Alisa Dupre’, business operations manager at Audubon Charter.

Lusher continues quest for renovations, while Sophie B. Wright seeks a gym

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. “We’re not trying to say that work at other schools is not needed,” said Lusher High School principal Wiley Ates. “We’re just saying that Lusher has been taken out of the formula, but the building we’re in is in dire need of stabilization.”

Uptown charter schools plead their buildings’ cases

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.

Reports show disparities in quality, openness of Uptown schools

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. Schools run by the Recovery School District in Baton Rouge – originally designed to take over the state’s worst-performing schools, and the governing body of many New Orleans schools since Hurricane Katrina – still show far worse results than those run locally in Orleans Parish, according to results released by the state Department of Education and compiled for the New Orleans area by the Times-Picayune. Uptown schools run directly by the Recovery School District, such as Walter Cohen High School, and even some of its charters, such as the Sojourner Truth Academy, were rated “academically unacceptable.” Uptown New Orleans is also home to some of the best schools in the city, the results show. Lusher charter schools’ five-star rating marks it as among the absolute highest-scoring in the state.