Young Audiences Charter School

Editor's note: With Voices from the Classroom: The Arts in Education Reform, NolaVie and cultural partner WWNO — New Orleans Public Radio are teaming up to take a look at how the arts are being used creatively in schools around the city.

Why are the arts an important component for school curricula? And how are we integrating arts into local classrooms? Today, Renee Peck interviews Folwell Dunbar, head of a new kind of school in Jefferson Parish.

Eve Abrams

What does it take to learn how to write well? Time and support. But the school day is more squeezed more than ever — with test preparation and a laundry list of standards to be taught.

There are few extra minutes to foster expression or help kids convey complex, creative ideas. But one young organization in New Orleans, Big Class, is supporting kids and schools in better writing.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

As New Orleans continues to reshape public education, WWNO seeks to highlight teachers who bring unique talents and perspectives to their work. We feature one such educator each month.

Clever Cupcakes / Flickr

The education system in Louisiana has undergone a major transformation. But until recently, most of the changes were aimed at grades K-12. Now the focus is turning to early childhood. Thanks to Act 3, or the Early Childhood Education Act, Pre-K and early child care programs across the state are getting revamped this fall.

WWNO's Mallory Falk spoke about the revamp with Melanie Bronfin, Executive Director of the Policy Institute for Children. Bronfin says the changes were partly prompted by new research on child brain development.

A New Orleans Family's Lives Changed In An Instant

Oct 26, 2014

NPR Ed is reporting this year on the extraordinary changes in the New Orleans schools.

I was in New Orleans to report on how the city's nearly all-charter school system is handling children with disabilities and special needs.

An old friend, a veteran New Orleans reporter, told me about a family — a mother and her two youngest sons — who'd been badly wounded in a drive-by shooting just days into the new school year.

I met up with Alanna Romain at a recreation league football game at City Park. She has five children. Her oldest boy plays football.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced Wednesday that it will close three schools because of low enrollment. Times Picayune reports the schools that will shut at the end of the current school year are the Holy Ghost in New Orleans, St. Agnes in Jefferson and Our Lady of Grace in Reserve. 

The schools will continue with full staff for the rest of the academic year. 

Roman Catholic school enrollment dropped 25 percent in the greater New Orleans area from 2003 to 2013.

The archdiocese closed more than 20 of its 100-plus schools during that decade.

The Louisiana Department of Education released school report cards on Tuesday. School letter grades across the state mostly held steady.

State Superintendent John White said this year's scores show steady, modest gains in student achievement. More schools earned an A this year, and most schools in the B through D range held steady.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Nine years after Katrina, schools are still being renovated and rebuilt. John Dibert Community School moved into a brand new building this fall. The school held an open house over the weekend, to show off the new facility and recruit families.

The open house started with a second line and closed out with a special performance: first graders singing "What a Wonderful World."

More than half of New Orleans public schools require registration forms that could discourage undocumented students from enrolling. That's according to a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center and VAYLA New Orleans.

Last spring, after more than 100 years and a lot of controversy, John McDonogh High School closed its doors. The building is undergoing a $34 million renovation, but it's still not clear what kind of school will move into the building. Community members weighed in on the building's future at two public meetings last week.

The meetings were led by representatives from the Orleans Parish School Board, Recovery School District, and John McDonogh Steering Committee. The goal: get community input on the future of the school. And the community sent a clear message.