Academics

An open letter from State Supt. John White

In response to a recent New York Times op-ed that was filled with inaccuracies, State Superintendent John White has written An Open Letter to Supporters of New Orleans Schools and Children.

It’s worth the read!

 

By the Numbers: Student and School Performance

This fall, Louisiana’s Department of Education will release new baseline scores for schools and for student performance. As we move to the new academic standards, Educate Now! will no longer use 2005 as a comparison point. Instead, our new baseline will be the 2014-15 school year.

It’s time to focus on what’s next for New Orleans public schools, but before we move on, Educate Now! wants to thank the educators, administrators and volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the past decade to help our students succeed.

Ten years after Katrina, here’s how New Orleans public schools have changed.

SCHOOL AND STUDENT PERFORMANCE

The percentage of students enrolled in failing schools fell from 62% to 6%. The percentage enrolled in A or B schools increased from 13% to 37%.1
en-enrollment-by-performance-072715
The percentage of students proficient on state tests increased from 25% to 62%.
aen-performance-all-students-072715 no header
The percentage of Black students proficient on state tests increased from 21% to 59%, and we now outperform the state by 5 percentage points.
aperformance-black-students

 

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ICYMI: Let’s Fact Check

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

Fact Checking the New Orleans Reforms

Last week, Tulane University’s Education Research Alliance (ERA) published its findings on New Orleans’ student and school academic performance since Katrina. Their research showed that a typical school student’s scores rose by 8 to 15 percentage points.

“Even the lower end of that range suggests large positive effects,” ERA Director Doug Harris wrote. “We are not aware of any other districts that have made such large improvements in such a short time.”

Their analysis ruled out other factors that might have led to the improved scores.

  • The gains were NOT due to changes in student population.
  • The gains were NOT due to schools focusing their efforts on the “bubble students,” those right at the cusp of passing.
  • The gains were NOT due to pushing students out of school. The number of expulsions, suspensions, and days suspended are either unchanged or lower than in the pre-storm period.

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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.
 jkjk
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.
 

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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?

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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.