Field Report 1st Quarter: Homer A. Plessy Community School
Homer A. Plessy Community School was created a few years ago under the initial name of the Citizens’ Committee for Education. In 2010 a few parents got together because they were not satisfied with the education options available for their children. They formed the Citizens’ Committee for Education and dreamed of Homer A. Plessy Community School becoming a reality one day. Many of them now serve on the board and are enrolling their children at the school. Parents and teachers alike ,wanted a school that would reflect their community in the Marigny and Bywater and draw upon the rich artist capital specific to the area.
Homer A. Plessy Community School is an arts-integrated school. In addition we are also a pilot Louisiana A+ school that trains all teachers and staff in two-way integration of the arts in our curriculum every day. We are also a Reggio Emilio School, which means that we nurture the whole child and believe that they are intellectual citizens. This is in our curriculum up until the 1st grade, when we really allow our students to guide their own education based on their interests. We encourage our students to explore and play.
After much deliberation the Homer A. Plessy Community School realized its goal and opened its doors for their first school year in the old Frederick Douglas building on St. Claude Ave on August 8, 2013. This date marks the beginning of a bright future where we have the distinct opportunity to develop students who think critically and act responsibly as citizens. As the school continues to grow from Pre-kindergarden to second grade the school hopes to add a grade every year until we are a pre-kindergarden through 8th grade school.
After going through the initial transition of opening a school that serves the Bywater, Marigny, St. Claude and St. Roch communities, Homer A. Plessy Community School has continued to develop its school culture and create deeper roots within the community.
Connecting with the University of New Orleans Chemistry Club, we at Homer A. Plessy were able to create ‘UNO Science Days.’ Science Days were an opportunity for the UNO students in the Chemistry Club to work with our Plessy students on a multitude of age appropriate activities. The groups were separated by grade level and by class to learn about what it means to live in an area that was former swamp land and what animals and weather patterns characterize New Orleans to make it such a special place. The experiments themselves were created by the UNO Chemistry club and presented to the school.
The first experiment for the Pre-Kindergarden and Kindergarden students involved acting out the different animals that are visible in the swamps here, like the nutria, pelicans, otters, and catfish. The second experiment conducted on our first UNO Science day allowed the students to see a demonstration of weather patterns. Finally, the students were able to make a replica of the elements of a marsh, particularly the soil composition using cornstarch and lukewarm water.