New Orleans Schools Are On The Mend

New Orleans Schools are, for the first time, reporting improvement since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. In fact, many of its numbers are actually better than those before the hurricane. New Orleans Schools have improved in many of the key benchmarks that students, parents, and community members look at when assessing the strength of a school system. Below is a list of some of the important areas in which New Orleans Schools are making important strides.

Teachers- New Orleans Public Schools are going to retain 98% of its teachers into the 2007-2008 school year. This is well above the national average and a considerable achievement considering that many teachers were driven away after the storm by poor living conditions. More than 99% of those teachers are certified and a large number of those are considered “highly-qualified,” an important marker for No Child Left Behind directives.

School Size- New Orleans Schools have been able to keep school size appropriate. This is an achievement post-Katrina because larger schools would have been easier to build or repair instead of several smaller schools. Studies have shown that smaller schools or learning communities within schools are more conducive to student learning.

Low Teacher to Student Ratio- Perhaps most importantly, due to strong teacher recruitment and teacher retention, New Orleans Schools is managing a low student to teacher ratio in all of its schools. Several studies have shown that teacher to student ratio is one of the most important factors in student success and learning.

Recovery- The New Orleans Schools district has signed a number of important contracts to repair and rebuild schools lost during the storm and subsequent breaching of the levies. A master plan of school infrastructure should be on the table in early 2008.

Graduation Rates- New Orleans Schools have been able to improve its graduation rate post-Katrina. In the Parish-led schools the graduation rate is as high as 95%. It is somewhat lower in charter schools and recovery district schools, but is on the rise.

Attendance Rates- New Orleans Schools has set up a unique program to improve attendance. In conjunction with a board of advisors (comprised of local business leaders), New Orleans Schools are now offering incentives for perfect and near perfect attendance. The “President’s Club” awards students for going to school on time every day.

New Orleans Schools- A Long Way to Go

New Orleans Schools are in a position unique to American history. Never was a city and its infrastructure as devastated in peace time. New Orleans Schools have a tough battle cut out for them, but with improvements like the ones listed above, they are on track to a success brighter than that before the storm hit.

New Orleans Schools Are On The Mend 7.7 of 10 on the basis of 1322 Review.