Curriculum of a Community: New Orleans as a Good School

Mar 2, 2012

Andre Perry talks about the importance of the community in school improvement. See more, or to respond to this commentary, at


The Institute for Quality and Equity in Education at Loyola University New Orleans, in conjunction with Sophie B. Wright Charter School, will hold a public lecture to examine educational practices and policies required to build safe, inclusive and productive communities and community groups. “Curriculum of a Community: New Orleans as a Good School” will take place on March 6 at 6 p.m. in Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall, located in the Communications/Music complex on the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Calhoun Street. The lecture is free, open to the public and free parking is available in the West Road garage.

According to Andre Perry, Ph.D., associate director of the Loyola Institute for Quality and Equity in Education, while medical models, business approaches and neighborhood involvement have been used to improve schools, the inverse is also true. The model of a good school can be used to help develop communities. Perry contends that neighborhoods and communities should have a “curriculum” that facilitates positive outcomes and expectations.

“We hope to take the positive things we’ve learned from working in schools to a macro, societal level,” Perry said. “While education advocates will certainly appreciate the lecture, this is more of an event for everyone who cares about New Orleans.”

Joining Perry in leading the discussion will be Sophie B. Wright Charter School seniors, Corey Campbell, Ricky Coston and Marcus Stepter. Perry said it’s critical that the next generation of scholars get involved in this issue as soon as possible. The students couldn’t agree more.

“Students can offer suggestions as to how the city can grow. I’m happy I can offer a few of my ideas,” Campbell said. “This is part of my senior project, so I’m excited that it can possibly lead to something bigger than a school project.”

“I want to be a great writer one day. I want to be an even better citizen. Most importantly, I want everyone to become what they dream. This lecture is a big step in that direction,” Coston said.

“This is also a demonstration of a university-school partnership that I believe contributes to the larger discourse on community,” Perry added. “This reinforces the notions of the public square, lyceum and the living-learning environment.”