ICYMI: More N.O. families trying to get children into public schools

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

More New Orleans families are trying to get their child into public school. Almost 4,000 new students applied through OneApp during its main round, a 22% increase from last year. Two thirds of families’ choices were outside their neighborhood zone. The second round of OneApp has already begun for families who do not have a spot for their child in the fall or who are unhappy with the results of the main round.

At a recent BGR breakfast, new Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. promised to restore trust in the Orleans Parish School Board by cutting staff in the school system’s central office, improving employee ethics, and cleaning up contracts. He also stated the district needs to adopt a portfolio management structure. Visit the BGR website to listen to his remarks

Legislative Session

One group of Common Core supporters distributed pink and white stuffed unicorns to state lawmakers to make the point that many of the criticisms they’ve heard about Common Core are no more real than unicorns. Visit their website www.unicornsarenotreal.com for more on the myths about Common Core.

The Senate Education Committee has approved a bill that would ban out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for students in kindergarten through third grade unless they pose a threat to the safety or well-being of others.

Gov. Bobby Jindal says he has “concerns” about a bill that would require a broader sex education program in Orleans Parish schools, one that goes beyond Louisiana’s current abstinence only curriculum to include information on preventing sexually transmitted diseases and contraception.

Supporters of early childhood education in Louisiana are fighting to get funding to implement the state’s plan, approved in 2012, to expand and improve early care and education. TheTimes-Picayune says Louisiana must invest in its youngest residents.

New Orleans in the News

NPR takes an in-depth look at “opportunity youth,” the young people ages 16 to 24 not regularly in school or regularly working who Crescent Leadership Academy, The NET, and ReNEW Accelerated were founded to serve. NPR also spotlights Crescent Leadership Academy.

Slate.com looks at charters schools’ focus on teacher retention through the lens of Success Prep, where school leader and founder Niloy Gangopadhyay is offering new perks designed to improve stability and consistency in teaching.

This Politico article argues New Orleans is still a work in progress, not a proven success.

The national debate over backfilling – admitting new students whenever current ones leave –is heating up and framing the question – what is the role of charter schools? Should charters take on the same obligations as traditional public schools (like in New Orleans), or should they be “a poor man’s private school” and not subject to the same “instability” challenges traditional schools face with backfilling and mid-year enrollees.

People in the News

Kira Orange Jones was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential figures. Jones is the executive director of Teach for America New Orleans and was elected to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

Former Sen. Mary Landrieu has taken a position with the Walton Family Foundation as a strategic adviser.

Educate Now! founder, Leslie Jacobs is mentioned in this piece about women in education reform, which highlights how women have not gotten the opportunities, attention and credit they deserve for major accomplishments in the field.

Former Orleans Parish School Board member James “Jimmy” Fahrenholtz was arrested after investigators said they traced an iPad stolen from a prominent state lobbyist in Baton Rouge to Fahrenholtz’s home.

Facilities

A number of New Orleans charter schools have outgrown their temporary space and havejoined the hunt for a long-term campus. Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. says the school building master plan needs a new look to reassess how many public schools New Orleans needs and where they should be.

Bricolage Academy, a new charter elementary school focusing on engineering and exploration, will take over the vacant John McDonogh High campus.