Jess Clark

Education Desk Reporter

Jess Clark is WWNO's Education Desk reporter. Jess comes to the station after two years as Fletcher Fellow for Education Policy Reporting for North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC (Chapel Hill). Her reporting has aired on national programs, including NPR's All Things ConsideredHere & Now from WBURand NPR's Weekend Edition

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Jess graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 with a master's in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Ways to Connect

Supporters of the leadership at Bethune and Baby Ben cheer a student who urged the OPSB to grant Bethune's current leadership a charter.
Jess Clark / WWNO

It's the general understanding that Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary and Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Middle will become charter schools. The only question is when that will happen, and who will run them. The schools' current principals think it should be them, so they applied to the Orleans Parish School Board to convert them into charters beginning next year. But an independent report recommended the board deny their applications.

Government reform advocate David Osborne's new book includes a look at New Orleans' post-Katrina school reform.
Courtesy of David Osborne

New Orleans’ post-Katrina experiment with public education has drawn the attention of pro-charter-school education reformers across the U.S. Today, 9 in 10 New Orleans public school students attend charter schools. One reformer who has had his eye on New Orleans is David Osborne. Osborne’s 1992 book ‘Reinventing Government’ had a major impact on government reform efforts during that decade. Now Osborne leads the Progressive Policy Institute and is advocating for education reform through charter schools. WWNO’s Jess Clark sat down with Osborne to talk about his new book ‘Reinventing America’s Schools,’ which includes a look at the New Orleans school system.

Leaders of several teacher training programs announced they're getting $13 million from the federal government to train new teachers for New Orleans.
Jess Clark / WWNO

Like many cities, New Orleans has a teacher shortage. A $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education is meant to address that shortage by beefing up the city’s pipeline of qualified educators.

Monica Nguyen (left) works the register at Toasty's, while Carlana Dyson works as a barista.
Jess Clark / WWNO

Monica Nguyen takes coffee orders and chats with customers at Toasty’s. It’s a coffee shop in the concessions stand next to the gym at Abramson Sci Academy in New Orleans. Nguyen’s job at Toasty’s isn’t just part-time work she has to make extra money. This is actually part of her education.

Nguyen is a 20-year-old student at Opportunities Academy, a program run by the charter-school network Collegiate Academies. The program serves students up to age 22 who have moderate or significant developmental disabilities, with a focus on getting them ready for life after they leave the K-12 system.

frwl / Wikimedia

Public schools in Orleans parish have been steadily improving in the years since Hurricane Katrina, but lost ground this year — according to school performance scores released by the state Tuesday.

An investigation reveals the Sewerage and Water Board pushed school system officials to allow for more lead in school water.
Courtesy of Pixbay.com

The Orleans Parish School Board has approved spending $800,000 on installing water filters in public schools to protect students from possible lead contamination.

Einstein Charter Schools says it doesn't believe they should have to provide transportation for students. Instead it directs parents to private van services.
Jess Clark / WWNO

Mrs. Jackson's mornings are a race against the clock. Since Einstein Charter Schools don't provide transportation, Jackson drives her child to Einstein Charter School at Village De L'Est herself.

An investigation reveals the Sewerage and Water Board pushed school system officials to allow for more lead in school water.
Courtesy of Pixbay.com

The Lens published an investigation in August revealing the Orleans Parish School Board abandoned plans to test school water for lead. Last week, Lens reporter Marta Jewson uncovered more about why the school board abandoned the testing plan, and it involves disagreements with the Sewerage and Water Board.

Justgrimes / Flickr

On Saturday at the polls, voters will decide whether to renew three millages, or local taxes, that support the public school system.

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Nate is heading to the Gulf Coast after killing 22 people in Central America. Forecasters say the storm will likely strike the Mississippi Delta around 7 p.m. as a Category 2 hurricane. Residents in several coastal parishes have been ordered to evacuate, and polling stations for early voting sites in some areas are closing ahead of schedule. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is urging residents to find a safe place behind the flood wall as soon as possible and stay put until Sunday morning.

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