Academics

TEDxNew Orleans Conference: Watch It!

Videos from the recent TEDxNewOrleans Conference are now available online.

This TEDx conference showcased a wide range of perspectives on Katrina and the changes we’ve seen in the New Orleans region since the storm. It was a powerful day, and Educate Now! encourages you check out the videos below.

Speakers Mentioning Education

Jay Altman – The Charter School Movement in New Orleans
Andy Kopplin – Government Post-Katrina: A Disruptive Force for Good
Troy Simon – Education as a Vehicle for Liberation

Other Speakers

Aron Chang – Make Your Mark
Michael Hecht – Radical Resilience
Lavonzell Nicholson – Green Space Completes a Canvas
Brandan Odums – Art to Inspire
Peter Ricchiuti – The New Orleans Economy; What’s Up Down Here
Kimberly Rivers-Roberts – Triumph Over Tragedy – What Do You Win?
Virginia Saussy – If We Don’t Laugh, We Cry
Jessica Shahien – The Talent Phenomenon
John Spain – New Orleans and Baton Rouge – a Super Region
Doug Thornton – How Unity of Purpose Brought the Superdome Back to Life
Rod West – Powering Life – Literally!

 

2015 ACT Scores: New Orleans Improves More than State

ACT Scores Continue to Rise

Highlights

New Orleans improved more than the state.

  • New Orleans’ composite ACT score improved from 18.4 to 18.8, a gain of 0.4 points, while the state improved from 19.2 to 19.4, a gain of 0.2 points.

More New Orleans students have TOPS-qualifying ACT scores.

  • 63% of the senior class scored a 17 or higher on the ACT (the qualifying score for 2-year TOPS Tech).
  • 38% of seniors scored a 20 or higher (the qualifying score for 4-year TOPS Opportunity).
New Orleans continues to move up in the state rankings.
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Year ACT
Composite
Rank
2004-05 17 61 out of 68 parishes
2013-14 18.4 40 out of 69 parishes
2014-15 18.8 35 out of 69 parishes

New Orleans is closing the gap with the state’s ACT average.

ACT - Closing the Gap

Both OPSB and RSD improved.

  • OPSB gained 0.4 points, moving from 20.5 to 20.9.
  • RSD gained 0.2 points, moving from 16.4 to 16.6.

Read More »

ICYMI: 10th Anniversary Data Available on DOE Website

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clipping

The Louisiana Department of Education has created a special webpage with information on RSD and OPSB schools from 2004 to the present. 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina: The New Orleans Education Landscape Today includes analyses and data on enrollment and demographics, academic outcomes, high school performance, African-American student performance, students with disabilities, school facilities and ensuring equitable access for all students.

Congratulations to the class of 2015! Watch highlights from the second annual Senior Shout Out, a celebration of the 2,500 New Orleans seniors who received $75 million in scholarships and are going to over 300 colleges and universities.

The Times-Picayune takes a comprehensive look at changes in special education since Katrina, beginning with An introduction, and continuing with What happened after the storm?, One child learns to love school, Graduation rates rise and other successes, Problems that remain, and Is there life after high school?

Read More »

Common Core Compromise Reached

Legislators and Superintendent John White have reached a compromise on a plan to move forward with Louisiana student standards and tests.

Both sides of the Common Core debate will declare a victory with this compromise.

For Common Core opponents:
  • BESE will begin a review process of the standards and come up with proposed new/revised standards by February 21, 2016.
  • The public, the Legislature, and Louisiana’s next governor will be able to weigh in on any new proposed standards.
  • Louisiana will no longer be part of the PARCC consortium for its tests. Next year’s tests will have no more than 49% of questions from PARCC.
For Common Core supporters:
  • Louisiana will keep its commitment to more rigorous standards and will have tests that allow Louisiana to compare its performance to other states.
  • The existing Common Core standards will remain in place until new standards are developed and approved.
  • Although new standards must be approved by the Legislature and the governor, any decision must be on the standards as a whole; they can’t edit specific parts. A No vote means BESE goes back to the drawing board, and the existing standards remain in place.

For more on the compromise and the proposed legislation that will make it possible, click on the links below.

View the proposed plan: Terms of an Agreement to Implement Challenging Louisiana Student Standards and Tests.

Read a Statement from the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) on the proposed compromise.

Read more about the proposed compromise on Nola.com.

New Orleans Celebrates Our Graduates

Friday was Senior Shout Out Day for all New Orleans public high schools to celebrate our 2,500 Seniors, 300 Colleges and $75 million in scholarships.

senior shout out 2015It was a truly inspiring day with graduates from every public high school in attendance.

Educate Now! congratulates and thanks the educators who impacted and helped shape these young people. Thank you for what you do every day.

I urge you to read Danielle Dreilinger’s story on the event: They’re off to College, and New Orleans Celebrates as well as this story from NBC News.

Educate Now! also thanks the City Council for recognizing our graduates.

Read More »

By the Numbers: Teacher Diversity

There has been a lot of talk about changes in teacher ethnicity since Katrina. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

In 2012-13, the most recent year for which we have district data, the makeup of New Orleans teachers (OPSB + RSD) was 51% African-American, 45% white and 4% other.

District
African-American
White
Other
RSD-NO 53% 43% 4%
OPSB 44% 51% 5%
New Orleans 51% 45% 4%

How does New Orleans compare to other cities?
Note: Educate Now! used data it could find online. Not all years compared are the same.1

  • In Louisiana in 20% of teachers were African-American. Nationally, 7% were African-American.
  • In Atlanta, 74% of teachers were African-American. Washington, DC was similar to New Orleans, while Chicago and New York City had a smaller percentage of African-American teachers.
City/District
African-American
White
Atlanta
74%
22%
Washington, D.C.
52%
36%
New Orleans
51%
45%
Chicago
24%
50%
New York City
20%
49%
Louisiana
20%
74%
National
7%
82%

How do we compare to pre-Katrina?

In 2003-04 (the state did not publish data for 2004-05 school year), 74% of New Orleans teachers were African-American, 24% white and 2% other.
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1 Teacher data for Chicago are from 2013-14. Data for the national average and for other cities used for comparison are from 2011-12.

 

Personalized Learning is Gaining Traction in New Orleans

Sharing a commitment to ensuring all New Orleans students have a competitive edge in an innovation-based economy, New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) and Educate Now! recently announced grants totaling $1.5 million to implement new, school-wide personalized learning programs in New Orleans public schools. Funding for these grants comes from both national and local sources, showing a broad base of support for personalized learning in New Orleans.

Personalized learning initiatives tailor instruction to the individual needs, skills, and interests of students using technology, robust data, and rigorous planning. This education model gives teachers and schools the opportunity to accelerate student learning and skill mastery, particularly for struggling students. Akili Academy, KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School, and New Orleans Charter Science & Mathematics High School (Sci High) will each receive $300,000 to create a more student-centric instruction approach beginning in the fall of 2015. An additional set of schools received grants to support exploration and piloting of personalized strategies.

The grants are being funded by the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC), the Booth-Bricker Fund, Baptist Community Ministries, and Educate Now! They are part of a broader plan by NSNO and Educate Now! to increase the use of personalized learning in schools across the city.

For more information on these grants and other personalized learning initiatives from NSNO and Educate Now!, click here.

NSNO and Educate Now! anticipate releasing another round of grants for personalized learning in the 2015-16 school year.

By the Numbers: The Graduating Class of 2014

The state just released new data on cohort graduation rates and college enrollment rates. Continuing our By the Numbers series, Educate Now! takes a look at the class of 2014.

THE GOOD NEWS

100% more students enrolled in college

In 2005, only 675 Orleans Parish Public School graduates enrolled in a two or four year college the following fall, compared to 1,360 graduates from New Orleans’ class of 2014.

Even though the 2014 senior class was much smaller than the 2005 senior class (2,654 students versus 3,753), our schools sent a much higher proportion of students to college. This tremendous increase is a testament to the hard work of educators in New Orleans.

College_Enrollment_2005_vs_2014

 2005 vs. 2014

2005 2014
Number of seniors
3573 2654
Number of graduates
2878 2305
Number enrolled in college
675 1360
Percent of senior class in college
19% 51%

65% of Black males graduated on time: New Orleans outperforms nation

With a 65% Black male graduation rate1, New Orleans is now outperforming the state and the nation. The Schott Foundation recently published Black Lives Matter: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males. In 2013:
  • The national graduation rate for Black males was 59%.
  • Louisiana’s graduation rate for Black males was 59%.
  • New Orleans graduation rate for Black males was 65%.

Read More »

By the Numbers: High School Performance 2005 vs. 2014

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The state just released the 2014 ACT scores for public schools. Continuing our By the Numbers series, Educate Now! takes a look at high school performance.

ACT Performance

New Orleans has seen strong gains since 2005.

The growth in ACT scores comes even as the percentage of seniors taking the test has increased significantly. (The state now requires students to take the ACT as part of high school accountability; in 2005, students were not required to take the ACT.)

Since 2005, as the percentage of seniors taking the ACT increased, New Orleans improved its composite score1 from 17 to 18.4, while the state declined from 19.8 to 19.2.

Both RSD and OPSB have seen gains in their ACT scores2.

  • During this time (2005 to 2014), the RSD improved its ACT average by 2 points, more than any other district in the state. It is one of only 5 districts that improved more than 1 point during this time.
  • OPSB improved by 0.8 points.
ACT Scores Over Time
Class of 2005 Class of
2014
Change
OPSB
19.7 20.5 0.8
Schools transferred to RSD
14.4 16.4 2
New Orleans (OPSB + RSD)
17 18.4 1.4
Louisiana
19.8 19.2 – 0.6
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If comparing performance, RSD schools serve a very different population than OPSB, with more African American students, more poor students, and more students with special needs. Some OPSB high schools have selective admissions, and only three of seven OPSB high schools participate in EnrollNOLA (OneApp). RSD data includes the alternative high schools in the city, and every RSD high school is open-admissions and participates in EnrollNOLA.

Read More »

Charter Schools Help Improve Special Education in New Orleans

This guest editorial appeared in the Times-Picayune, and I wanted to share it with you.

Charter Schools Help Improve Special Education in New Orleans: Leslie Jacobs

In fourth grade, James, a special needs student at John Dibert Charter School, was struggling academically and behaviorally. He was making daily trips to the dean’s office for disruptive behavior and emotional outbursts. James is now on honor roll in eighth grade, scored mastery and advanced on state tests and is applying to Ben Franklin High School.

Zaria transferred to Arthur Ashe Charter School at the beginning of second grade as a special education student, reading at kindergarten level. By the end of fourth grade she scored mastery in English.

Zaria and James are two of the many students who have benefited from the city’s improvement in serving students with special needs.

Read More »