Orleans Parish School Board Completes Final Unification Milestone

Passage lauded by School Board, Urban League and School Leaders

This week, the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) voted to pass revised policies for Charter School Evaluation and Accountability to align with the launch of the Charter School Accountability Framework. That was the final milestone in the District’s Unification Plan whereby July 1st all remaining Recovery School District (RSD) Charter Schools join OPSB and local governance.

The Framework outlines the expectations the district has for charter schools and operators in New Orleans as well as the processes the district will use to track and evaluate school performance, both annually and at the point of renewal. The Framework allows the OPSB to hold charter schools to rigorous and transparent standards that promote excellence and provide incentives for continued progress towards outcomes that best serve students.

“This Framework is the culmination of a multi-year, public process that will result in more transparency and accountability across the board,” said OPSB Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. “This is a big moment. We’re heading in the right direction, but there is so much work to do as we seek to provide an outstanding education for every child, at every school, every day.”

Developed with input from citywide community members, residents and educators as well as the Louisiana Department of Education, the Framework lays out four ways in which it will hold charter schools accountable. They include holding schools to rigorous standards, implementing effective oversight systems, encouraging transparency with schools and sharing information with the public. The Framework also clearly spells out guidelines for charter renewals and extensions.

“The Framework represents both ingenuity and compromise, where we hold our schools accountable for meeting the needs of all students while also streamlining critical district functions, such as facility planning, enrollment, student services, community engagement and new school development. The CSAF lays a strong foundation for the future,” said Orleans Parish School Board President, John A. Brown, Sr. “This sort of important reform work hardly ever captures the headlines, but it is really important as we seek to continuously improve our dynamic system of schools.”

In revising standards and systems, the Charter School Accountability Framework ensures the OPSB is prepared to oversee school quality under a unified system.

“This Framework reflects the wisdom offered by the people of New Orleans through hours of hearings, town halls and focus groups with families, students, school leaders, teachers and community advocates,” said Orleans Parish School Board Vice-President, Leslie Ellison. “Dr. Lewis and his whole team have done a great job throughout this important process.”

“The process to ensure that our children attend high quality schools starts with a fair, yet rigorous accountability system,” said Erika McConduit, CEO of the Urban League. “The steps taken by the OPSB to include advocacy groups, school leaders, and parent organizations in the formation of the framework evidences the collaborative spirit needed to move our district forward.”

“I appreciate the time and the diligence that the Orleans Parish School Board Administration took in building its Charter Schools Performance Framework,” said Mickey Landry, Executive Director of Choice Foundation. “Most importantly, the administration actively included practitioners in the formulation of the Framework, and they actually listened to those who live in Louisiana’s strict accountability system every day. I commend the OPSB Administration for its work on this important piece of policy.”

“The Charter School Accountability Framework is clear and fair,” said Josh Densen, Founder and Executive Director of Bricolage Academy. “Thanks to the CSAF schools know how they will be reviewed and evaluated, families will have easy access to important information about their child’s school and the public will have the transparency needed to understand how OPSB supports and intervenes in school performance. The CSAF is a welcomed addition to the unifying New Orleans School System.”

“I deeply value having the opportunity to work in partnership with the OPSB and CMO Leaders on the CSAF,” said Michelle Blouin-Williams, CEO of New Beginnings Schools Foundation. “This transparent process strengthened my confidence in this important work that we are all doing to assure every child has access to a high-quality education throughout our beloved City.”

For more information about the Orleans Parish School Boards Charter School Accountability Framework, visit https://goo.gl/PneQL7 .

The OPSB currently oversees 41 schools, including 37 charter schools, and one educational program for students in secure care facilities. In July 2018 all public schools in New Orleans will again be under the jurisdiction of the OPSB.

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