April 2008 Archives

Prior to Katrina, community involvement at Douglass High School was building and took a variety of forms. One of the most important was the weekly adult math literacy class hosted by the Douglass Community Coalition in collaboration with the New Orleans Algebra Project. Almost every Wednesday night during the 2003-04 school year, Bob Moses would make the six-hour round trip drive from Jackson, Mississippi, where he was teaching at Lanier High School, to co-direct this workshop at Douglass. Students, parents, teachers, and community members worked together to build an understanding of the importance of Algebra and of some of the ...

This week has been busy with responses to the April 7 announcement of the impending closing of Douglass High School. Earlier this week, on Monday, April 14, Recovery School District (RSD) Superintendent Paul Vallas gave a report to state superintendent Paul Pastorek and the public at large about the RSD’s progress. A number of Douglass supporters attended the meeting to give comment, ask questions, and seek answers about the plans for Douglass. Many of them have approached us upset that Mr. Vallas, in response to their concerns, claimed that the community had not cared about Douglass for the last ...

Yesterday we learned officially that Frederick Douglass High School will close within the next two years and maybe even next year. This decision came without input from students, their parents, teachers, or community members. In light of this news, we want to share an important essay by Vinnessia Shelbia, a 2007 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School. In “Who’s Holding the Gun?” she explains the difficulties of having to constantly search for a place to call home. Douglass High School has experienced similar never-ending change. A month before school started this year, we learned that the principal who had ...

Our SAC team shared this essay last night in one of the sessions of the College Composition and Communication Conference, at which our school-based writing community presented at five different conference events for college English professors from across the country. These professors listened closely and respectfully to the ideas and experiences of students, teachers, graduates, and parents of what used to be a local public school system. Unfortunately in post-Katrina New Orleans, the education leaders of our state-run Recovery School District have not listened well. The kind of community capacity building that Ashley Jones, one of our senior SAC staff ...

New Orleans has some new winter and spring rituals for public education. Starting in January, our streets are lined with signs advertising different charter schools. A month ago, a couple of local organizations sponsored a major school fair on a Saturday. Yard signs, email announcements, and flyers at schools abounded. But on the day of the fair, more school representatives than parents were in attendance. In fact attendance was so poor that the deadline for applying to schools was pushed back a few weeks. In the next few blogs, we will feature student writing on issues of school choice, neighborhood ...


Recent Comments

  • Catherine: Today's entry is frightening. The contrast you present here is read more
  • Catherine: Dear Kirsten, This essay made me laugh. It's not often read more
  • catherine: Vinnessia, My students at Boston College read your essay and read more
  • Pat Langa: Uma analíse muito interessante, mesmo para quem olha a história read more
  • Lou Bernieri: Ashley Jones's essay and Jim Randels introduction detail the reprehensible read more



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