EdNavigator, a nonprofit whose mission is to help New Orleans families provide their children with the best possible education, recently released its own grades for K-8 public schools in New Orleans.
EdNavigator published its own grades for schools in Orleans Parish on February 2, 2017. Although the state of Louisiana already provides annual grades for schools, EdNavigator’s grades attach greater importance to student growth than those currently provided by the state.
Under EdNavigator’s evaluation, Harriet Tubman Charter School earned a “B” grade for the second year in a row. This grade reflects Tubman’s track record of student achievement, and better demonstrates the progress of students who begin the school year academically behind, make significant strides, but who may still fall short of the proficiency cutoff.
“Measuring growth is so important and we are thrilled that Ed Navigator is using its platform to educate the community about it . Just a few short years ago, Tubman was an ‘F’ school. We have made huge gains along the way, most notably creating an intervention program that supports struggling students,” shared Tubman Principal and Crescent City Schools co-founder Julie Lause.
“The ‘B’ from EdNavigator reflects that most of our students, even very low performing students, are making significant progress each year towards their goal of mastery. We are especially thankful to our teachers who work so hard to help every single scholar make these big gains. We are also grateful that EdNavigator recognizes the important role student growth should play when evaluating schools.”
It has become a holiday tradition for Academy Sports + Outdoors to distribute bikes to schools in Orleans or Jefferson Parish. This year, Harriet Tubman Charter School was selected as the lucky school to receive new bikes for 50 of its students just before winter break.
“Academy really wants to show that we are more than just a sports store,” said Aaron*, the Team Sports Manager at the Academy Sports in Gretna.
Aaron , who used to work with the YMCA, identifies himself as a “someone who cares a lot about kids…we really wanted to show local students that their hard work pays off. We think that a bike is a great gift, as it can be used for exercise and fun. It also provides kids with freedom.”
“When you get home after school you can hop on the bike, ride to another neighborhood, and make new friends,” added Aaron .
Angelo Cross, the Director of Family and Community at Harriet Tubman Charter School, described how Tubman thinks about achievement and how the school selected which scholars would receive the bikes.
“I think we do a great job of pumping up growth and achievement at Tubman in a variety of ways throughout the year. I think what made the bike giveaway a hit was that it was such a surprise, students were not working based on the idea that they were going to win a bike, but really focused on trying to improve their scores.”
“Fifty students in kindergarten through fourth grade were selected to receive the bikes. We chose students who had the highest absolute scores on a recent test, as well as those students who had demonstrated the most improvement. Initially, I think scholars were just excited to hear that they had scored high or greatly improved. It was such an unexpected bonus to receive something like a bike as a result of their hard work.”
Cross finds that students are already benefiting from the bikes.
“I’ve already heard from several parents that students were using their new bikes over the winter break. Bike winners who have older siblings with bikes were especially excited…now they can keep up with their big brother or sister,” said Cross.
*To protect the privacy of their employees, it is the policy of Academy Sports to withhold the last names of their employees.
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In a windowless classroom in Algiers, Gary Briggs Jr.’s sixth-grade students were reading a Greek myth out loud. Phaethon, trembling, stepped up to Apollo, the father he had never known, to ask if he could drive the sun.
“Louder,” Briggs said, pacing. “When you speak I want to hear your ‘Throw me somethin’, mister’ voice.”
The student got into it. “He began to think that his dreams might be very real,” she read.
“I loved this when I learned this in sixth grade,” Briggs said. The Greeks wanted their stories to last. “They’re doing pretty well because we’re reading them today in 2015.” The students expressed their enthusiasm with vigorous finger-snaps. Reading myths, you “see how another culture thinks,” he told them. “We are looking for attempts to explain the way things are in the world.”
Continue reading the full story here.
Each year, the staff and scholars of Tubman eagerly await International Binder Week, an exciting celebration of all things related to getting (and staying) organized. One of the keys to success, in school and in life, is staying organized, and the entire Tubman community uses the week as a time to get their desks, backpacks, binders, and other systems in order. “For our students, organizing their academic lives with binders, agendas, cubbies, and desks is critical to their success at Tubman and beyond,” said Principal Julie Lause.
Highlights from the week included binder and desk “fashion shows,” where student finalists presented their binders or desks to celebrity judges. Students also were excited by the return of past judges, such as Pierre the Binder Inspector, a renowned French judge known for his deep commitment to organization. Crescent City Schools was able to get an exclusive interview with Pierre the Binder Inspector to discuss with him the importance of being organized. Click here to watch the interview.
Finally, Tubman staff and students were visited once again by the elusive and magical Desk Fairy. Click here to view the delight of some of Tubman’s younger students upon seeing the Desk Fairy.
Karen Johnston is a K-1-2 teacher and team leader at Harriet Tubman Charter School. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Johnston is a founding team member of Tubman who began as a 4th grade teacher in 2011.
With more than 8 years of teaching experience, Johnston first decided she wanted to teach because of her love for children. She soon realized how rewarding it was to be in a classroom. “It is truly fulfilling to motivate and influence my students’ growth on an emotional and academic level,” she said. “Being able to watch them develop their own abilities, skills, and talents has given me the opportunity to really make a difference.”
When asked about her favorite part of teaching, Johnston said she most values the relationships she is able to make. “It is important to me that I have strong communication with my students and their families. I am providing a service to both, and I want their family members to know I am available when needed.” Johnston also appreciates being able to witness the academic gains of her students. “I love when my former students return for a visit; to see the accomplishments they have made reminds me of the love I have for being a teacher.”
Johnston attributes a lot of her own growth in the classroom to her colleagues at Tubman. “Though my team I have learned the importance of teacher actions and how it has a great influence on student actions. I set high expectations for myself and know that my students will use my example for their own success,” she said. “I truly believe that academic habits and personal values are influential to student progress.”
As one of the first teachers her students will have, Johnston knows that she is responsible for building a strong academic foundation. “I want to encourage my students to take risks and engage their minds in everything they do; I want them to understand that lifelong learning will be what cultivates their dreams.”