A personal message from Leslie

Dear Friends and Readers,

It is with the utmost gratitude for your ongoing support, engagement, and partnership that I inform you this will be my last post with Educate Now!.

In August of 2008, when Educate Now! was born, the education landscape in this city was complicated, to say the least. We were still putting the post-Katrina pieces back together. Charter schools were new but showing success, and our schools were governed by two different entities – the RSD and OPSB – that were largely failing to communicate with one another or with the public. For parents, educators, and activists alike, there was no central place to turn for data, information, or a singular, comprehensive view of what was going on citywide. Educate Now! has worked to fill that void.

It is astounding to think of how far this city’s education system has come over these past nine years – and the generation of young lives changed as a result. I’m incredibly proud and grateful to have played a part in efforts to improve our students’ academic performance, graduation rates, and post-secondary readiness, and I am touched and inspired by the people working everyday on the frontline to improve the lives of our city’s youth. With each passing year, we are seeing more graduates leave high school better prepared to go forth into the world, and that is an achievement New Orleans can own with pride.

But a new chapter is beginning. As schools return to OPSB, Educate Now!’s calling card as a central repository of information is no longer needed (though our website will remain active for a while for those wishing to access data and articles in our archives). This next decade of education reform in New Orleans will be no easier than our last. Much work remains to be done if we want even more of our students to achieve post-secondary success and have well-paying careers.

Thirty-three years ago, when my own journey in education reform began, I was a young, energized business executive with unorthodox ideas who was passionate about making New Orleans’ public schools better. This next chapter will rely heavily on a new generation of innovative advocates and educators who have the fire in the belly to tackle our remaining challenges. We must welcome their fresh thinking, talent, and ideas if we are to achieve our goal of quality, access, choice, and equity for all families. The continued progress of our city and its children depends on it.

Just as a new chapter begins for New Orleans, so too does a new chapter begin for me personally. Grandmother-hood beckons, and I am welcoming the opportunity to slow down and focus on the next generation of my own family.

It would be impossible to thank individually the many people who have ventured into this journey alongside me. I have overwhelming gratitude for all who have given of their time and talent to improve life outcomes for our students.

With appreciation,


Leslie Jacobs
Educate Now!