American School Board Journal Examines Efforts to Reshape New Orleans Schools
Alexandria, Va. – September 11 – One year after Hurricane Katrina, community leaders in New Orleans are working together to radically reshape the city’s school system. If the experiment is successful, according to the cover story of the September issue of American School Board Journal, New Orleans public schools could be a model for the entire country.
In addition, the Journal examines the progress in reopening schools throughout the entire Gulf Coast in a series of three articles. The first, "Rebuild. Rebirth. Renew," by Journal managing editor Kathleen Vail and senior editor Naomi Dillon focuses on New Orleans' efforts to radically reshape its school system.
"Out of the wreckage of Katrina–classrooms reeking from the muck and mold, desks crushed to kindling, floorboards warped like ocean waves–rises an unparalleled opportunity: the rebirth of one of the most troubled urban school districts in the United States," writes Dillon.
The second article, written by ASBJ senior editor Lawrence Hardy and titled "Recover," looks at how Gulf Coast schools are struggling through red tape, devastation, and declining enrollment in an effort to return to normal.
The third piece, by school board member Noel Hammatt, examines how East Baton Rouge’s management of post-Katrina challenges is an example of how to do it right.
The Journal profiles the work of six individuals who are critical to the success of rebuilding New Orleans schools. The profiles include school board president Phyllis Landrieu, principal Mary Haynes-Smith, Tulane president Scott Cowen and student Rose Gilliam.
"The success of the rebuilding of the New Orleans schools–a success the entire nation has a stake in–rests on their shoulders and the shoulders of other individuals," Dillon writes.
Although much of the focus has been on New Orleans, administrators along the Gulf Coast say they want a more normal school year–even a boring one, in the words of one Alabama principal. But Katrina continues to have a huge impact on their day-to-day jobs, according to the Journal.
"Districts along the Gulf Coast continue to face logistical and financial problems: depleted local tax bases, skyrocketing insurance costs, and the continuing effort to redefine their mission amid massive changes in student body and staff," Hardy writes.
The articles can be found on the American School Board Journal Web site at http://www.asbj.com/.
Founded in 1891, the American School Board Journal is an award-winning, editorially independent education magazine published monthly by the National School Boards Association.