Last week, I was watching the NBA All-Stars Saturday Night Jam. In the comfort of my home, I enjoyed the events that included the 3-point shoot out and the Slam Dunk contest. We were in the middle of the NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans. Basketball greats like Kobe Bryant and Charles Barkley are walking our streets, visiting our restaurants and popping up at playgrounds, schools, and the convention center. Watching the lights of the cityscape at night from the aerial view above the Arena and the Superdome could make one forget that much of the city is still devastated ...


We are in our countdown to LEAP testing. Beginning on March 10th, our fourth and eighth grade students will be taking high-stakes, state mandated criterion referenced tests in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Their scores will determine whether or not they can be promoted to the next grade. Students in grades three, five, six, and seven will take norm-referenced tests, but they are not high-stakes. Several of our eighth grade students failed the test last year. About 25% of them failed the test when they were in 4th grade also. These are the students who are 15 ...


I'm not really taking the day off just because school is closed for one more day as everyone recovers from Mardi Gras festivities. I'm taking the day off from blogging because Times-Picayune columnist, Sheila Stroup, did a much better job than I could in writing about a special event held at our school last week. Please paste the link below into your browser for the story that appeared in yesterday's newspaper. Thank you, Sheila! http://www.nola.com/timespic/stories/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1202192505306030.xml&coll=1...


I love the marching bands, the high school dance teams, and the cleverly themed floats. I like to see the people in crazy costumes, the happy families, and the colorful throws flying from the hands of float riders to the eager clutches of spectators. Teenagers, in my day, had to have new jeans and tennis shoes when we went to parades on Mardi Gras. We waited anxiously for a fleeting glimpse of the Mardi Gras Indians in their beautiful feathered and beaded suits. From the Wild Magnolias to the Guardians of the Flame, they are still a unique and beautiful ...


This morning, I was thinking about the progress we’ve made in the past month. The New Year started off well for us at McDonogh 42 Elementary Charter School. We’ve been able to hire a bright, young man for our middle school math position. The students’ reception was positive at their first meeting. We’ve also hired a Special Education para to work with regular education teachers in classrooms that have students with special needs. We almost hired a second person as a para, but she got a better offer from RSD as a Math teacher, her area of ...


In honor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, many of our local high school and college students decided to do service projects today. Our school benefited from the services of 12 young men from a nearby boys’ high school. The students arrived at our school promptly at 9:30 a.m. traveling by public service or parent chauffeurs. They were wearing their uniform pants and some type of school tee shirt or sweatshirt. Our task was to unpack and shelve over eighty boxes of library books. We had less than three hours to complete the work. One of ...


One of the best things about working is schools is that you have a chance to start a new year twice, once when school opens and a second time when the calendar year changes. We’ve started the new year with a bang. We hired a full-time speech therapist that started work this week. She has already visited every class and reviewed the records of our identified students who need speech services. We’ve even developed a plan to give them compensatory services for the therapy that they missed. She was so well received by the classroom teachers, receiving smiles, ...


Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. --Lee Holz This morning, I attended a 2-hour meeting at a neighborhood high school. It was a city-wide School Facilities Master Plan for New Orleans meeting to determine the fate of every public school, opened or shuttered, in New Orleans. The meeting had been organized by the leaders of the Orleans Parish School Board and the Recovery School District. Information from the website at www.sfmpop.org states, “The School Facilities Master Plan is a comprehensive plan for the Orleans Parish ...


The laptop computers we purchased for the teachers were scheduled for delivery today. They have a fellow teacher to thank for planting the idea with the Board. Like so many of our faculty members, she was teaching in another state last year. When she returned to the city, she shared her experiences and gave us some benchmarks from the school district that she left behind. One of her first questions was, “Are we going to get laptops?” I responded, “Of course,” although we had not budgeted for that specific item, just technology in general. Hopefully, we can get the Help ...


Our State Superintendent, Paul Pastorek (Paul #1), convened a meeting of charter school leaders today. Our topics included discussions around “bureaucratic creep,” a term for increasing supervision and interference by the local education agencies in the autonomy provided to charter schools. Mr. Pastorek listened attentively to each person explain his or her most pressing issues during the hour he was present. He did very little talking. My own questions were centered on reimbursements for capital projects that should be covered in our charter school agreements with FEMA and the insurance companies and special education dilemmas. These two topics were also ...


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