OPSB Completes 1st Quarterly Milestones To Unify New Orleans Public Schools

Superintendent of Orleans Parish Schools Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr.

NEW ORLEANS – Superintendent of Orleans Parish Schools Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. announced during the Monday, Nov. 28, Unification Advisory Committee meeting that the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) reached the quarterly milestones set forth in Act 91.

         Adopted by the Louisiana State Legislature in May 2016, Act 91 establishes a responsible transition process leading to the unification of all Orleans Parish public schools under the local oversight of the OPSB and its Superintendent by July 1, 2018. Following the unanimous approval by the Orleans Parish School Board, the Unification Plan mandates regular updates on the advancement of schools unification each quarter through July 2018.

         “Starting this process on a strong footing was important to all of our partners. I am pleased that we met our December milestones set forth in the Unification Plan,” Lewis said. “Much of the work for our March, June and September 2017 milestones is already underway and we will continue to work to ensure all goals are met.”

         Highlights of December milestones achieved by the OPSB included a transparent and collaborative transition process reflected by more than fifteen task force meetings with community stakeholders to address issues such as authorization, accountability, planning, facilities, enrollment, citywide resources and transparency, OPSB reps said. The OSPB also engaged with school leaders regularly to obtain feedback on school performance framework and the diversity of schools in the community.

         As part of the Unification Plan, OPSB is in the process of creating a student-led Citywide Vision and Strategic Goals Task Force that will work throughout the spring of 2017 to ensure that student voices are integral in shaping the future of education in Orleans Parish, OPSB reps said. Overseen by community leaders, the process will enable students to work alongside teachers to solicit input from their peers, lean on their own experiences and listen to community voices to help shape the vision for the future of education in New Orleans.

         Additionally, over the last three months, the OPSB has worked with the Recovery School District (RSD) to develop a comprehensive plan for the transition of EnrollNOLA from RSD to OPSB control. In an effort to demonstrate equity and transparency, the plan includes a clear timeline of functions, contracts, personnel, finances, student data and other key items to provide continuous improvement and educational opportunities for all students.

         “To see unification off to a strong start shows the dedication and commitment by both the OPSB and RSD to building a strong public education system in our city,” said Unification Advisory Committee member and KIPP New Orleans Schools CEO Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise. “We look forward to reaching new milestones next quarter and successfully completing this process for our children.”

         “This benchmark is a significant step in establishing credibility for the unification effort,” said Unification Advisory Committee member and FirstLine Schools CEO Jay Altman. “I commend this collaborative effort between the OPSB and RSD teams.”

         “I look forward to making continued progress in transitioning critical functions and services such as EnrollNOLA to OPSB,” said Recovery School District Superintendent Patrick Dobard. “We will continue to focus on developing a unified system of schools focused on providing great opportunities for all students.”

         The Unification Advisory Committee will be presented updates on the March milestones during the Feb. 16, 2017 advisory committee meeting which begins at 5 p.m. at the OPSB central office.

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