To our community,

All across the city, our students and teachers are getting ready to wrap up a great school year. At NSNO, we’ve spent time this past year learning from them. We wanted to understand their needs, their goals, and their vision for their classrooms.

As our team looks to the future, we wanted to share some of what we’ve heard and are thinking about. Based on what we learned, NSNO is deepening our focus on three important areas as we move forward: 1) making sure students can engage in rigorous learning in school, 2) have great programs in and outside of the classroom that meet their needs and 3) advocating for schools so they have the resources they need to best serve our students and keep our great educators in lasting, fulfilling careers.

There’s so much we’re inspired by in these areas already. We’re pleased to share a handful of the many examples we’ve seen and are excited about in and around our schools.

Ensuring students can engage in rigorous learning: Last year, NSNO launched the New Orleans Social Studies Consortium, through which we supported New Orleans’ expert educators as they created rigorous and culturally responsive curriculum for grades 3-8 that align with the new Louisiana social studies standards. This year, schools citywide are using these materials. You can see this curriculum in action in Ms. Patton’s classroom at KIPP Morial in the video below.

Meeting students’ needs through innovative programs: Educators across New Orleans saw that students needed support charting their path after high school graduation. They created innovative programs to meet their needs–and today, these programs are thriving. Next Level NOLA, a college and career bridge program for NOLA-PS graduates, are helping young people find and take the next steps that are right for them. You can get a closer look at Next Level NOLA with us in the video below. And you can learn about YouthForce NOLA, the New Orleans Career Center, and other collaborators helping students prepare for careers while still in high school, here.

Helping our fantastic educators build long-term careers in a strong school system: For our schools and system to be at their best, we need to support our great educators and make sure they can build lasting careers here. Part of that support comes through events like the annual NOLA Teacher Fest, coming up on May 3rd in Champions Square. We believe educators deserve celebrations like this, alongside quality professional development, supportive school culture, and strong compensation. Check out last year’s great NOLA Teacher Fest recap here, or the glamorous NOETA Gala, another one of our flagship events, here. (These events really matter – check out the reflections of NOETA winner Ms. Molin of Audubon Charter Uptown, as well as her student’s incredible poem here.)

Some of our students are actually looking to become our city’s next teachers in a few short years. More and more high schools are offering pre-educator pathways through “Grow Your Own” programs. You can see great photos of these future teachers in action at Booker T. Washington High School here.

We’ll stay in touch about all of this work and more in the year to come. Together with our partners in and around schools, we’re committed to ensuring all students get to learn in schools with the resources, teams, and facilities they need to be excellent, year after year. We want to ensure that our students’ needs are met, not just academically, but also in terms of their physical and mental health. We want to make sure teachers’ needs are met, too. I believe all this is possible. I believe we can do it together. And I can’t wait to reach back out a year from now with all the progress we’ve seen.



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